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  • Adam Walter

Crystal Ball: 2021 Predictions with Bob Mohr

Listen: Humanize IT Podcast Blog Ep 130

In the season one finale of Humanize IT, Skip and Adam bring back Bob Mohr, certified digital advisor at Digital Maturity Group, to give us a glimpse through his crystal ball and discuss the future of business and technology in 2021.

It’s no secret that this year, especially the last few months, has left all of us wondering how we will continue to carry out our day-to-day operations in the future. Is working from home the new, permanent norm? Or will people flood back into the office as soon as there’s a vaccine? The reality, according to Bob, is that it will be a gradual combination of both, in a setup called a “hybrid workspace.”

Office Alterations

In this hybrid workspace, the goal is to maximize at-home setups for those still working remotely while also equipping the office to slowly, and safely, host more workers. Many business leaders don’t want to lose their office space. They still have a need for it, but it must be redesigned and re-engineered. Many people are dying to work face-to-face once again, and that comes with extra adjustments and safety precautions.

For Bob’s company, that means keeping track of in-office and at-home schedules so you know where your teammates are at all times. It also means nonstop sanitation and replacing cubicles with workstations and standing desks. Their wifi has been extended throughout the building so people can work in the office while still spreading out safely. Many of their conference rooms have been converted into video training spaces.

Well-Equipped for Work from Home

Others want to turn working from home into a long-term solution. But it’s not March anymore — we’re past the point of waking up in our PJs and working on the couch. If you want to conduct business professionally from home for the foreseeable future, you’ve got to amp up your workspace so it appears legitimate to customers and clients.

Businesspeople won’t hesitate to spend $1,000 on a suit, but will only fork over $30 for a webcam. Instead, look at your home office as a worthwhile investment. Spend a little extra on headphones, microphones, lighting and clean video backgrounds, because that’s what will make all the difference between you and your competitors and ensure you’re not causing a distraction due to tech issues.

To accelerate your at-home success, reach out to an IT professional. Although you may eventually upgrade, they’ll be able to point you to what you need right now. It’s worth it to get that competitive edge and look like you’re put-together in front of clients, coworkers and colleagues.

2021 Forecast

The unanimous prediction from Adam, Skip and Bob for 2021 is a continued shift to a collaborative work environment. It all depends on how the virus is handled, and business owners will have to decide if and when they’re going back. If you don’t go back, how do you set your employees up for success, keep them connected and reward people who you’ve potentially never worked in the same room with?

Some companies may never go back to the office. They can now spend the money that was used for the office lease on other things, and their productivity is high as is. Others will gradually make the return to the workplace as restrictions lift. But one thing is for sure — economists will look back on the “COVID-era” as something similar to an industrial revolution, with COVID acting as a catalyst for change.

We already had the technology, but needed a push that forced us to actually implement it. Hopefully new budgets in 2021 will embrace and accelerate hybrid schools and businesses. Those who adapt well will be sought out, and the forward-thinkers will become the new staples in their respective industries.

It will take effort on every level — from individuals updating their at-home workspace, to organization leaders effectively pushing remote processes on a large scale. Millennials, who now take up a majority of the workforce, will gravitate toward the businesses who have embraced change the most. Getting over the virus doesn’t mean we’ll go back to our old norms. This year will have a lasting impact on our economy and our culture, and those who adapt to it will thrive.

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