6 Business Predictions for 2021

The coronavirus pandemic dominated 2020 and affected everyone’s lives – and pocketbooks – in some way. 2020 posed unparalleled obstacles for many company owners as the COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses to adjust to a “new normal.” Some are asking whether the new year will bring back “business as usual” or whether we will move in a different direction as corporations begin to look forward to 2021. Here are 6 predictions from business experts about what could happen in 2021.

More remote work

Remote work will persist through 2021 and beyond one of the most significant changes for many workers in 2020 was the rapid adoption of remote work. While some companies expected new remote workers to return to the office, this is no longer a reality. Many companies will not expect workers to come to the office five days a week, if at all, and companies will reduce or reconfigure office spaces accordingly.

Companies will reduce virtual activities and meetings

While companies fervently embraced virtual meetings in 2020 as a way to help keep teams connected, they may not be so tied to them in 2021. As remote work becomes the norm, employers may cut back on these instances to give employees more time back to work. Back in 2021, employers will give staff time, such as canceling recurring meetings or blocking a day for ‘no meetings’ and promoting their team to recover.

Convenience is no longer optional

It used to be a differentiation that helped distance companies from their competition. Now, it’s expected. For example, before the pandemic, home delivery was a nice option offered by some companies. Now it is an expectation that companies have struggled to incorporate into their daily experience.

Virtual and remote labor has become commonplace

Many companies that would never have thought it possible are now embracing the remote workforce to the point of saying, “Let’s close our offices.” Not all companies will go 100% remote, but the option is there if they want to get to that level.

Chatbots can do more than just interact with clients

As a way to handle customer service, most businesses use chatbots. Chatbots will continue to do so, but they will also help decide what happens next, and do it better and better. The initial contact is the starting point for a human being to automate processes or escalate the problem.

Changes in the real estate market

The commercial real estate crisis averted Early on, most predictions said that commercial real estate was headed for a bloodbath. It wasn’t just that tenants would stop paying rent for a few months, but that the effects were going to be much greater. Suddenly, everyone realized that, with the rise of telecommuting, demand for office space could drop by as much as a third. The explosion of Internet shopping and the demise of several department stores seemed like the death knell for the suburban mall.

Apartment and condo development ground to a halt as residents fled to single-family homes in the suburbs or weekend retreats in the countryside. And in the Zoom era, how many hotels aimed at business travelers could survive? In short, the post-pandemic future looked very grim for anyone who purchased, created, invested in, or financed commercial real estate. AD But, as has been the case in the past, commercial real estate is proving remarkably resilient. Delinquencies, defaults, and bankruptcies have increased, but not catastrophically.

Instead, contracts are renegotiated, loans are extended and unpaid debt is converted into shares of ownership. And while real estate values are down, they are not in free fall, thanks in part to the large number of well-financed investors looking to snap up prime real estate at bargain prices. Some think it’s only a matter of time before the “extend and pretend” gives way to the inevitable wave of forced sales that will cause the real estate market to crash. But others see in the tectonic shifts caused by the pandemic a golden opportunity to repurpose old buildings, reconfigure economic geography, and bring new residents and new businesses to urban markets that had become too expensive.

Digital education will continue long after students return to the classroom, to the benefit of workers I believe a variant of “Amara’s Law” will apply as we emerge from the pandemic: short-term changes will be overestimated, and long-term impacts will be underestimated. By moving most or all classroom participation to the Internet, we have learned what works well. Previous resistance to technology has diminished for both faculty and students.

Perhaps the greatest impact is in the increasingly different ways we use to engage full-time students versus part-time students and executives who are working professionals. Since time is especially scarce for the latter, we will increasingly leverage technology to encourage and sustain engagement and create even greater flexibility for them. We will also embrace technology in new ways to catalyze student engagement and lifelong learning for our global student communities.

Companies will address diversity, equity, and inclusion with rigorous plans and measurable targets By 2021, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) will maintain the momentum they gained in 2020 and become a top-level management issue. We will witness the acceleration of a movement-on a scale we have not seen before-in which companies will go beyond statements and move to a higher level of action and accountability as they seek to make their organizations more equitable.

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Corporate leaders will begin to combine DEI commitments with a comprehensive approach that takes responsibility for progress as they do in all other aspects of their business, and we will begin to redefine what is “good” for racial equity in the workplace. I anticipate that we will see more organizations begin to lay the groundwork to become anti-racist workplaces and begin to implement racially just business practices. By adopting this approach, employers will be closer to giving all Americans an equal opportunity to reach their full potential.

There are many other predictions to be made by many other experts. All of them can serve to start conversations about what’s ahead, what needs to change, etc. When making decisions based on these and other predictions, always look to the future and anticipate the impact on your customers and employees, and do not forget that you can check loans with same day deposit from if you find yourself in a difficult financial situation due to the pandemic.

Ricardo is a freelance writer specialized in politics. He is with from the beginning and helps it grow. Email: richardorland4[at]