Understanding where we are heading is a good insight into our plans as individuals and as companies.
At the beginning of each year, several prestigious entities publish reports on trends. I confess I am sort of addicted to them. I want to know what’s going to happen, don’t you?
Of course, I realize that no one has a crystal ball, but there are certain think tanks that generate very valid insights, and they support their reports with tons of verified data. Around this time of the year, I like to revisit these predictions and see how they did.
When most of these reports were generated, vaccination programs were in the early stages, the Delta variant was not known and most of the world was locked down. One report that I love, is the one generated by the Economist Conference Unit (ECU).
(Here, I will review with you the trends on work and economics. In subsequent articles, I’ll cover lifestyle and culture.)
Here Are the Six Business Trend Predictions:
Obviously, the number one trend was and still is working remotely. I have been working remotely for the past 10 years, but it was not always a good thing in the eyes of my employers. For 2021 and beyond, the ECU said that remote work was expected to stay the same, people would continue to work online from our homes which would be increasingly adapted technologically and many companies would dedicate resources to solving the needs of employees working from home.
What was not anticipated is that many employees would decide to quit if they were required to go back to the office or that companies would decide to keep most of the workforce at home, even in sectors like insurance or logistics.
Trend #2 identified by ECU was that people would change location. Today you can live outside of a big city, work the same and generate the same, or even more, value.
Trend #3 stated, “Productivity no longer depends and still does not rely on a boss who reviews. It is through platforms that help measure results, KPIs and efficient times. The way to hire staff is being rethought.” The trend mentioned by them was that “hiring the best today is easier, cheaper and more efficient.” However, a holistic compensation package is needed to hire and retain good talent.
The report also stated (Trend #4) that “the workforce is shrinking dramatically. Many simple operations are given to the A.I. By 2024, the A.I. will handle complicated operations in millions of locations. But general adoption begins in 2021. A season of global layoffs is approaching. Unemployment is due to multi-factorial reasons and not only due to the economic crisis.” According to the Wall Street journal, the good things happening to the US economy will impact the world’s economy in a positive way, but of course “the spill” will be limited.
According to the ECU report, “companies that do not invest in new technologies will disappear. The traditional venture came to an end in 2020.” One of COVID’s silver lining is that this adoption of technology was fast-tracked in 2021. This is Trend #5.
Finally, Trend #6: “The handling of personal data becomes more delicate, and the big platforms will change. The big brands today are worth their credibility. Everything can be copied or replicated except prestige. The value of the company today depends on many factors and nothing more than its annual sale.” Yes, yes, and yes! The most prestigious firms have a person at the helm who gives them credibility. More than ever, it is Elon, Jeff, and Jack who carry the reputation of their firms on their shoulders.
General trends do not apply to everyone or every business but understanding where we are heading is a good insight into our plans as individuals and as companies, so that we are better prepared for the times ahead.