Mavenlink: 2021 trends and insights
Plenty of people have migrated to vacation homes or out-of-city locales to quarantine during the pandemic. This mini-migration has put a strain on infrastructure, including public school systems, that weren't built to handle this volume of demand. The silver lining is that intense demand can make innovation happen faster than usual. We may see large shifts in how people leverage resources moving forward and how those responsible for upholding those resources innovate to keep pace with new demand.
The current economic backdrop and pandemic is and will continue to drive innovation at a pace not yet seen before. I met a client in the warehouse logistics software business that attached GoPro cameras to forklifts to track their movements and activity on the warehouse floor for go-live since their team could not be there in person. Projects that used to have 25 people spread over 3 locations are now spread over 25 locations.
The standard work model is forever different. While some companies will return to an in-person model next year, many will maintain a hybrid approach. In either case, for the past seven months business leaders have been making up the rules as we go along. In the near future, they will have to make difficult decisions about return-to-work processes.
Millennials will make up about for the next decade. Already, this group has had an outsized influence on work culture. Silicon Valley offers the best glimpse of this phenomenon, with more open work environments where everyone's opinion matters and thoughts are debated out in the open. The switch to remote work has further highlighted this trend. Now, businesses must ask themselves how to balance this new cultural approach with boundaries that are necessary for functioning workforces. In 2021, we will see the beginning of decision-making trends related to finding this balance.
Currently, many agencies engage under large retainers for their contract agreements (AOR). However, there is an acknowledgement of a consistent shift toward project-based work. That trend is continuing and isn't showing signs of changing direction. As a corollary to that shift, we will continue to see multiple agencies combine under a larger umbrella to better share resources and talent with one another, creating more adaptable business models.
In the New York City area, the general sentiment is that the commercial real estate market won't recover to its pre-pandemic levels. Companies with presences there are all getting the signal already that offices will distribute to suburbia or stay in a remote or hybrid mode. This market precipice may very well extend to other big urban centers, causing major changes in the way organizations staff and run their businesses. The distributed workforce is clearly here to stay, and we’ve also seen a shift towards “nearshoring” and “rural shoring”, such as a development center in the former Rust Belt or Great Plains states that traditionally haven’t been a hotspot for technology workers.