Gen Z looks for human connectivity in collaboration tech. Discover our workplace predictions for 2021


2020 brought us the biggest and fastest shift ever in working culture and technology. With vaccine plans being rolled out, many businesses are hoping for a return to the office. They start to prepare their office spaces and consider new collaboration technologies. Employees are keen too, to have more face-to-face contact and spend more time on the workfloor. Even if this is only for just a few days a week.

Remote working will be combined with office-based work for quite some time to come.

2021 will mark the era of hybrid working. And enterprises can take a head start, if they keep up with the latest workplace trends. What is the tech they can’t miss out on? And how can they connect with the new generation that has just entered the digital and virtual workspace?

Here are our next two hybrid work predictions for 2021.

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People will catch up with technology

Being thrust into the world of remote working with virtually no warning came with its fair share of challenges. Many workers struggled to get to grips with often completely foreign technology and do so alone at home without the face-to-face support of IT teams.

Dutch futurist Gerd Leonhard outlined in his book ‘Technology vs Humanity’ that while trillions of dollars are spent on making the world technologically 'smarter', relatively little is spent on getting humans ready for that future. This sentiment was evidenced by the challenges many faced navigating remote working technology. In fact, 2020 may have seen one of the steepest technology learning curves we’ve ever experienced in the history of working life. In our study, 65% of respondents reported having difficulties setting up impromptu remote meetings, and nearly half said they felt that video conferencing didn’t come naturally to them.

Last year workforces around the world scrambled to understand remote working technology and as a result overlooked some of its more complex attributes. Features such as polling, breakout rooms and other brainstorming techniques which could have led to higher quality meetings were not fully utilized. This year, after nearly 10 months of remote working for some, we expect employees to finally start making the most of the technology available to them.

2021 will be the year people embrace and understand virtual collaboration technologies and will find it all second nature. Better quality collaboration will take place as a result.

Generation Next

In 2020 Gen Z burst into the workplace and changed its culture forever. Unlike any before them, this group largely experienced a remote start to employment, perhaps appropriate for the most digitally native generation to date. Surprisingly however, Gen Z employees place great importance on face-to-face connection: a recent survey found that 83% of Gen Z employees prefer to communicate with their managers in person. This affinity for in-person collaboration coupled with Gen Z’s strong desire for freedom and individuality in the workplace must trigger greater investment into hybrid working models to satisfy these needs.

As the workplace Gen Z population grows, the challenge for businesses in 2021 will be in offering the freedom of remote working without sacrificing the human connection this generation values. We predict an increase in flexible working policies underpinned by advancing collaboration technology for a generation that wants the best of both.

Check out the ClickShare blog to discover our last prediction for 2021.

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