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2021 was the second chapter in the fight against COVID-19, and the world has learned a lot from the challenges we faced in 2020. This year we progressed even closer to the post-pandemic era.
We learned to adapt to changing circumstances and modify our work habits to fit. We’ve gotten used to working from our homes trying to divert attention away from kids and pets while we work remote. Many employees are eager to leave the house to return to the office and verbally engage and collaborate with their colleagues once again.
With the world opening up again, there are so many takeaways from this year that have given us new workplace perspectives. Here is a look back at some of the workplace trends and highlights from 2021 and how we can apply them in a post-pandemic world.
COVID-19 and the job market
COVID-19 pandemic continued to dominate 2021. However, with new variants of the disease and the production and distribution of multiple vaccines to combat the spread of the virus, it can be said that we are gaining a better perspective of how to reshape our lives and the way we work in society.
At the beginning of the pandemic, entering the job market seemed almost impossible. However, with millions of employees being let go or left in limbo in March of 2020, 2021 has held up its promise of some relief. According to a recent report from The Washington Post , the U.S. added one million more jobs than were initially reported.
For those who recently graduated or those looking for a new job, now is a great time to start your search again. In a blog post from May of 2021, we gave some advice to new career hopefuls looking to land their first job.
Remote workplace culture
One of the most debatable topics of the year was the popularity of the remote workplace and if it will be here to stay in a post-pandemic world. You either love it or hate it, and there is no doubt that it will be disappearing anytime soon.
About a month ago, ICONMA created a poll on LinkedIn asking our followers what their workplace preference was. Out of 127 participants, most do not want to go back to the office every day. Thirty-six percent said that they love the work-from-home atmosphere. They most likely enjoy the flexibility and believe that working from home allows them to be more productive. On the other hand, only 8% of our participants want to return to a pre-pandemic workplace:https://infogram.com/pictoral-bar-chart-1ho16v8rzlqv2nq?live [RS1]
With the remote workplace becoming a new option for many companies, applicants also want to know if that option will be available to them post-pandemic. However, as companies continue to open up, career hopefuls should not assume that it will be an option for every job they apply for. In an ICONMA blog post from July 2021, we discussed ways applicants should approach the work from home questions during a job interview. Some important takeaways from this post are to narrow your search if working from home is a priority, for companies to specify if certain positions will have a remote option on their job listings, and for candidates to focus on professionally phrasing their questions.
What employees look for in an employer
Employees are always re-examining their workplace priorities depending on the current circumstances facing the world. In December of 2020 and October 2021, ICONMA shared a LinkedIn poll on what our followers believe is the most important quality in an employer: https://infogram.com/what-employees-look-for-in-an-employer-1h7j4dv1yexnv4n?live [RS2]
Between 2020 and 2021, our poll results did significantly change, and 60% of our voters believe that the most quality in an employer is sustainability.
In our blog post recapping this year’s poll, we discuss what sustainability in the workplace means to an employee, and all falls under the subject of stability. Throughout the pandemic, the world and society were filled with a lot of uncertainty as questions about COVID-19 were unknown, and the way we went about our lives had to change on the fly. Therefore, employees wanted to feel a sense of stability and security from their employer to continue to build their careers and provide for themselves and family, especially under challenging circumstances.
Over 20% of our voters said that work-life balance was an important quality they wanted to get from their employer. Work-life balance is about flexibility and promoting a healthy work lifestyle and environment. Having the flexibility and positive, encouraging work environment is beneficial to any company and shows employees that they’re being thought of.
Diversity is another important aspect of the workplace and is something all of us at ICONMA take pride in. It is about understanding and accepting your colleagues’ background, culture, and traditions.
We’ve discussed embracing diversity in the workplace in various blog posts including what it means to be an LGBTQ+ ally in the workplace, the story behind Juneteenth and its importance and significance in the Black community, and many other important subtopics about how employees can support others and get involved in supporting diversity initiative in their companies and fighting against discrimination in the workplace.
Entering the post-pandemic era and looking toward the future
As we close on another eventful year, we can’t help but look forward to the opportunities to come in 2022. The world has a better understanding of COVID-19 since the pandemic started in March of 2020, which has allowed companies to open their doors once again and has allowed us to begin our post-pandemic lives.
Life will not be exactly how it was two years ago, but we can take the lessons we’ve learned during these challenging times and apply them to the new challenges ahead.
December 10, 2021