Published Monday 23rd August 2021

New business trends emerge every year as organisations embrace and prioritise change in the battle for growth and success. 2020 was a particularly interesting year for business transformation as it pushed some changes that otherwise would have taken decades to establish, brought about other new practices, and highlighted areas where alternative methods were essential.

But what are the trends for leading businesses as we propel through 2021 and beyond? We take a look at some of the things top business leaders are implementing as they react to current problems and prepare for the future.

Continuing to Facilitate Remote Working

Perhaps one of the most widespread COVID-19 related changes in the corporate world was the shift from operating out of office spaces to working from home.

While remote working is no longer a necessity, it is something that numerous businesses have continued to uphold; it is a major trend we can expect to see for the future of business.

Not only can remote working reduce company costs if full-time physical office spaces don’t need to be rented, but many employees have reported their preference for working from home for at least some portion of the working week.

This trend can also be linked to the emergent emphasis placed on employee well-being and job satisfaction, as managers and decision-makers are more attune to listening to what their workforce wants (i.e. flexible working) and genuinely considering their needs.

Depending on the organisation, the benefits of remote working can also include increased productivity. McKinsey note that as employees continued to adapt to remote working over the course of the pandemic, more employers started seeing somewhat better productivity than if they were working from the office.

An Increase in Hybrid Working

As organisations continue to adapt to the realities of remote work, hybrid working is becoming an increasingly appealing prospect.

Hybrid working essentially allows employees more flexibility – there are some days where they can work from the office and collaborate closely with team members and other days where they can enjoy the increased freedom and convenience of working remotely.

We’ll likely begin to see the facilitation of hybrid working as an important function in attracting and retaining talent.

Prioritising Gender Equality

The conversation around gender equality in the workplace is nothing new. With numerous studies around how women have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, many businesses are considering how they can genuinely transform company culture and create positive, more productive environments.

Prioritising gender equality is not simply a social matter – dedicating the necessary resources to redressing workplace inequalities is good for economic growth. Making the relevant changes opens the door to more opportunities and new perspectives, benefiting everyone.

Women working for gender equality leading businesses have also been found to have increased productivity and better mental well-being both before the pandemic and now, along with having more trusting relationships with managers and feeling more supported.

Ensuring employees and leaders are educated about implicit and unconscious gender bias is paramount. Training programmes and access to resources ensures everyone throughout the organisation is more aware of problems relating to diversity and how they might be unknowingly contributing to a non-inclusive workplace.

Analysing the extent of a company’s gender pay gap by completing a full salary review is also something employers should be thinking about. A full analysis helps ensure that men and women in equivalent positions are being paid equally and highlights areas that need work.

At this stage, businesses should also review whether men and women are given the same opportunities to negotiate for higher salaries to prevent the gender pay gap from continuing to widen further.

Investing in Diverse Leadership

One of the most important changes organisations should be considering as part of this transformation is investing in relevant talent that proves a dedication to cultivating equity and diversity.

Promoting more women to leadership roles shows that leaders can put into practice what they understand about incorporating gender parity and diversity into the very fabric of the organisation.

Embracing the Acceleration of Digital Transformation

Digital innovation has been on the rise over the past years, but the business world has seen a significant acceleration of digital practices during the course of the pandemic.

Under the umbrella of digital transformation, there are numerous things to consider with companies relying more heavily on technology to fundamentally change operations throughout the businesses.

Processes are being digitised across customer and supply chain channels. Many companies recognise that technology now has a central role in good business practice and is not simply important for cost efficiencies.

Among the essential digital-based changes are cloud-based functions, data-driven decisions, automation, effective online and social media presences, and one of the trends with the most exponential growth; e-commerce.

Embracing E-Commerce

With more customers online, businesses have had to follow, especially when physical trade became more difficult.

This shift to e-commerce channels will likely only become more crucial as customers continue to enjoy the convenience of online shopping and social media becomes a more integral part of the purchase experience.

Ultimately, leading businesses are continuing to learn from past challenges and are reacting to them in a productive, growth-driven way while considering the bigger picture and understanding what the future will likely hold.

Putting an effective cost reduction plan in place is essential for businesses that want to prioritise facilitating fundamental changes and reallocate the necessary resources that allow for meaningful growth.

To find out more about how Expense Reduction Analysts could help you identify and optimise opportunities for growth, get in touch with the expert ERA team today.