We live through unprecedented times. Business as usual seems out of reach as we continue to navigate our way through a pandemic and the new norm it’s ushered us into.
As we wrap up 2020 it’s worth reflecting on the challenges businesses have had to solve and, most importantly, the new trends and opportunities that are on the horizon. While conditions remain volatile and a lot of uncertainty looms across multiple industries, it helps to stay ahead of the pack; here are the top 10 trends to keep an eye out for 2021.
Above the importance of washing our hands; if there is anything the pandemic has taught us, it’s that desk-based workers can also work remotely, and ultimately anywhere in the world. Entrepreneurs are increasingly adopting a nomadic approach to doing business, allowing them the freedom to work and travel, which also helps take their businesses to new horizons. Part of the success of digital nomadism (especially for entrepreneurs) is hiring a virtual assistant to take care of the full-time administrative tasks while they focus solely on using their working hours to build their brand and tap into new markets.
Remote working will become the new norm
As the world continues to navigate towards a new norm, traditional office spaces are becoming a thing of the past. Not to be confused with digital nomadic structures, remote working often requires employees to be online at set hours, and is not as ideal as a digital nomadic setting, especially for young entrepreneurs who want to work and travel. Remote working maintains the traditional office structure with set hours and may not be open to traveling. Most businesses, big and small, are looking to leveraging on remote work and making it more efficient and productive as a means of reducing operational costs.
Offices are about to get smarter
The changes in traditional constructs of workspaces have also called for a smarter approach to setting up office spaces. The future of work is not just about the “work from anywhere” movement, it’s also about future-proofing workspaces iso they are well-equipped for employees working on and off-site or distributed in satellites around the world. The success of smart offices is based on the ability to successfully collaborate AI technologies with IoT. Right up there with digital nomadism and remote working, the rapid rise of smart offices is one of the biggest business trends to watch over the next decades. Some firms use smart meeting rooms to make meetings more productive.
eCommerce will continue to level up
The era of safe shopping and social distancing has put greater pressure on more stores to evolve from relying on the traditional brick and mortar structure to use online platforms to extend products and services. As eCommerce continues to level up, offline to online will be on the rise as a means of reaching a wider audience. Online shopping isn’t just a temporary spike, it’s here for the long haul, harnessing the power of technology to create more personalised and automated experiences.
More businesses will go green
Consumers are just as conscious of sustainable eco-friendly businesses. As conversations around environmental health and sustainable creation, eco-minded entrepreneurs see business opportunities in sustainable materials that preserve the environment, making as little use of water and raw materials as possible. The aim is to make money without harming the planet.
Virtual events are here to stay
The rise of virtual events is a classic example of the appearance of innovation and creativity in the face of adversity. The entertainment and events industries were one of the first industries to feel the impact of the pandemic. According to IMPACT, by 2021, video (including online conferences) is set to account for over 80% of all internet traffic. From hosting birthdays and weddings to conferences online, virtual events are about to become a new tradition. Beyond the response to health issues around Covid-19, many even goers have started to wonder if the jetlag, over-scheduling, and tight traveling plans are worth it if you can enjoy an event in the comfort of your home.
The gig economy
As ways of work continue to rapidly change, more employers and potential employees are looking for more flexible working relationships. As such, the gig economy will gain its place alongside remote working as an alternative to full-time work, allowing employers and employees to create temporary or part-time working structures that work with the employer/client’s budget. As more people consider temporary or part-time work, this allows them to break away from the rigid 9-5 structure, and employers are not restricted to finding candidates in just one region. This means employers have not limited in sourcing the right talent as they can hire virtual employees across multiple regions and timezones.
The rise of AI
As disruptive technologies continue to drive innovation in businesses, the rise of AI will empower more businesses to further personalise and enhance how customers receive and enjoy their services. Machine learning and artificial intelligence are rapidly being incorporated into more business models to completely transform the business process and ultimately how we interact with certain brands.
Increases in subscription-based services
Netflix and chill really came to the life this year, but its stint will not be coming to an end any time soon. From online movies to music streaming to healthcare and retail, subscription-based businesses will continue to grow as they ensure a steady income and larger numbers of consumers are looking for more ways to access entertaining content and easier ways to stay healthy and simplify their lives.
Convenience has become a key decision driver for customers when looking to purchase a product or a service. As consumers spend more time on their mobile phones, the ability for potential customers to be able to access a product or service from the comfort of their home continues to be a big selling point. Building a mobile business for a mobile-first generation also includes making it easier for consumers to access and purchase your products across different mobile platforms (apps, websites, and social media).
As innovation continues to be at the heart of what we create, these trends show that businesses of the future are businesses are those that are customer-centric and put convenience, wellbeing, and accessibility and the heart of production.