After more than a year, there’s finally a light at the end of the seemingly relentless pandemic tunnel. Experts predict offices will begin officially reopening this summer and fall, with vaccine roll-out efforts speeding up exponentially each month. That means, by the year’s end, we could formally enter the post-pandemic period.
It’s been so long since we lived our old version of normal, it’s nearly impossible to imagine what the new one will look like. To help you wrap your mind around a future of post-pandemic work, here are our top five predictions:
Remote Work is Here to Stay — At Least Partially
Some people are dying to get back to the office while others are dreading it. Nearly a third of working professionals say they’d quit their job if their employer didn’t allow them to continue working remotely, according to a survey by LiveCareer.
Good news for those who prefer their home office: we predict remote work isn’t going anywhere. At first, lots of people will be excited to return for the socializing element. But, after a few days of commuting (and wearing regular pants), a significant chunk of the workforce will long for the comforts and ease of their old work-from-home life.
Given companies have invested considerable resources into making remote work possible, we can’t imagine they’d give it up wholesale. Instead, we expect most organizations will offer a hybrid model where employees spend part of their time in the office and the other part working from any location they prefer.
Office Reopenings Will Spark New Security Threats
Cybersecurity threats are always evolving, and new threats emerge every day. Because cybercriminals are opportunists, they can quickly identify vulnerabilities that accompany significant change or upheaval and expertly manipulate the situation in their favor.
We witnessed a spike in threats (particularly phishing attacks) when companies first closed their offices amid the pandemic, primarily due to mass confusion and IT teams spinning up new remote work infrastructure overnight. We fully expect another wave when offices reopen and leadership teams bombard their workforce with new processes and technologies.
To mitigate this risk, prepare a thorough communication plan ahead of time and ask employees for their vigilance through the readjustment period. Ensure everyone knows how to identify potential threats and where to report them.
Hiring Frenzies Will Make Top Tech Talent Harder to Find
Some economists predict a boom in the months following the reopening as organizations across the economy experience upticks in demand. And this could compound an already significant tech skills gap — particularly in the tech security world, which has already seen a massive shortage in recent years.
While there’s no way to fix the talent shortage overnight, we recommend bracing for it to get worse before it gets better. The best thing you can do retain your existing tech talent by supporting them however possible. It’s also a good idea to develop a strong culture of security to attract top talent when you need to make new hires.
Employee Security Training Will Rank Higher on Priority Lists
Over the next two years, 82% of enterprise companies and 70% of SMBs plan to adopt employee security training tools, according to data from Spiceworks, making it the No. 1 most popular emerging security solution.
Why might this be? In our expert opinion, it’s because security teams can only do so much. Over the past two decades, our reliance on technology for nearly every business process means cybersecurity risks have increased beyond what one team can manage. The time has come to democratize security across the workforce, and the best place to start is with education and insights.
In short, the greater your workforce’s grasp of security, and the better they understand which activities put your organization at risk, the better you’ll be protected against existing and emerging threats.
Employees Will Expect Better Protection
In the past year, our work lives and home lives have blurred more than ever, fully exposing how cybersecurity threats that employees encounter outside of work can impact your organization — and vice versa. One of the best ways you can protect your company is by helping cover both.
“Employers are taking notice of presenteeism issues that stem from the identity theft concerns of their employees,” says Emily Rose, SVP at LegalShield’s Business Solutions Division, in an interview with the HR Daily Advisor. “As a result, we are seeing more market activity around offering identity theft protection as a voluntary benefit.”
Without a crystal ball, we can’t say for sure what post-pandemic work will look like, but we expect these five predictions to come true in the coming months (and some are already in motion.) By taking time to prepare accordingly, you’ll be ready for the next chapter.