Our Fearless Predictions About the Future of Work After COVID

(April 22, 2021) Coming out of the COVID crisis, everyone knows the world of work will change and we have been talking with business leaders across the country about what that might be like. Based on these conversations, GHP takes look at the changes we see coming that will Impact your business.

The Coming Year Will Continue to be a Tale of Two Economies. Businesses with strong on-line capabilities or who serve the home or home offices will continue to do well. So are businesses that offer “safe” outdoor activities like golf, boating and gardening. Home repair, home renovation and residential real estate will do well. Businesses which depend on large in-person gatherings such as bars, restaurants, retail, concerts, movies, sports and travel will struggle.

However, There is Likely to be Significant Rebound Growth in Some “Safe” Sectors. Consumers are craving travel and entertainment and there is likely to be some big growth numbers as vaccinations kick in and COVID retreats. However, this may be favor “safe” travel and entertainment. US destinations are likely to be favored over international. UK and Western Europe is likely be favored over more adventurous international destinations. Outdoor sports and entertainment will be preferred over crowded indoor activities.

Work Has Become a State of Mind; Not a Location. Companies will have to adjust to the new reality that many people like working from home, and many job functions allow for a high degree of autonomous remote work. In the future, those who can work from home, probably will work from home, changing the nature of work, office design and recruiting.

The Trend Toward Remote Work Expands the Geographic Footprint for Recruiting. Employees can live further from the office, and this expands the pool of people an employer can consider. This also means employees will be able to shop a larger list of potential employers. Companies are being built from the ground up to allow 100% remote work to take advantage of this trend. This was a trend prior to COVID which has accelerated dramatically. This will be a long-term challenge for big cities and a benefit to livable secondary cities.

The Millennial Generation is on the Move. The generation which is roughly ages 18-34 has been statistically slow to get married, buy houses and have children, but during COVID they have started making these permanent choices in large numbers. This population demographic, which is as big as the baby boom generation, will drive trends in housing, lifestyle and consumer demand for the next decade and it is likely to involve more traditional choices.

Brand Image Needs to Include Customer Service and Reliability of Delivery. COVID shortages, lack of selection, failed deliveries have effected brand image and CMOs are recognizing that the entire customer journey is critical to the brand. Strong CMOs will demand a larger say in operations effecting customer experience along the entire customer journey.

COVID has Created an All New Direct-to-Consumer 2.0. Technology adoption has jumped up across all demographics, whether children pursuing remote learning or elderly using online systems to order home delivery of groceries. Contact-less shopping and wide spread adoption of curbside pick-up or try-it-at home services are popular and likely to be part of the shoping fabric going forward, accelerating 1:1 marketing, eCommerce, and technology investments. CMOs are hiring direct-to-consumer expertise, tech stack leaders, data management and analytics; hiring freezes are being lifted.

The National Re-Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Will Continue. There will be stepped-up diversity recruiting at all levels, fresh thinking around training, mentor-ship, promotions and retention, and renewed investment in community relations. Companies are recognizing the diversity of the board and the c-suite should reflect their customer base.

The Recruiting Wars are Going to Heat Up. Remote work capabilities accelerate the priority to conduct national searches to find senior executives for critical leadership positions, especially for digital connectivity positions that drive revenue growth. Successful candidates will be creative, agile and “tech-savvy”. Candidates may be more willing than ever to move to locations based on quality of life and cost-of-living.

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