We are entering an unprecedented and unpredictable world as we head towards a post-COVID-19 future. While we still don’t know when we might live in a post-pandemic world, we can at least begin to predict how trends will continue to accelerate in the workplace.

If you’re currently managing a team, you’ve probably already seen these trends start to happen around you. You may have even begun planning your own company’s response. To help, we’ve put together a list of the top three trends we’re predicting, plus three ways to respond.

Our Top Three Workforce Trends, Post-Covid-19

  • Companies will shift more of their hiring towards contract roles instead of replacing all vacant full-time roles. 
  • Companies will likely retain remote work for a portion of their staff or create mixed office/remote work hybrid roles. 
  • Companies will seek out temporary hires to fill key skill gaps that are lacking in-house. 

Surveys support these predictions. Research firm Gartner recently reported that 32% of surveyed organizations were replacing full-time roles with contract positions, and 48% of workers expected to work some portion of their time remotely post-pandemic. 

Our Top Three Management Recommendations 

How can you stay ahead of these rapidly-changing trends? Here are three tips for managers to adapt and thrive in a post-Covid-19 workplace.

Prepare for remote work to last longer than expected. When the COVID-19 pandemic first began, companies switched to remote work out of necessity. Now, many firms are realizing that there are benefits to a remote workforce, both organizational and financial. As we enter into a “new normal” that may include a larger number of employees working remotely, think about how to structure your workflow to best accommodate your remote workers. Many companies have been operating in an ad-hoc environment since the pandemic began. Now is the time to formalize those remote work arrangements.

Identify key skill gaps and develop a plan to fill them. It’s critical that managers identify existing gaps in-house and begin to fill them. As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, there may be a scramble for talent to address pent-up market needs, or they may be other unforeseen disruptions that impact the workforce. If you can’t bring on full-time hires right now, consider establishing long-term relationships with contract talent that can work on your projects on an as-needed basis. 

Plan your workforce needs for this year and next. Encourage your leadership to make a comprehensive plan to address your workforce needs for this year and next, at least, as soon as they can. Being proactive in planning for predicted vacancies, projects on the horizon, and the economic forecast is good policy in normal years but essential at the moment. We simply can’t predict what will happen in the next year, so getting a jumpstart on strategic workforce planning right now can help you stay ahead as events unfold. 

While we can’t see with certainty what the workplace will look like post-pandemic, we expect it won’t resemble pre-pandemic times just yet. Investing time and effort into workforce planning now can help your company prepare for changing times and choppy waters.