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Are you ready for these 8 new business needs in 2021?

2020 was a chaotic year for businesses. 2021 will be a year of transformation. New business needs are emerging as organisations adapt to grow and survive.

Read on to discover the eight trends you’ll need to be aware of this year.

1. Virtual Products and Services for the long term

At the start of the pandemic, there was a rapid migration to digital technologies, virtual products, and services which were often seen as a temporary stopgap. COVID-19 has driven companies to digitalize parts of their business to support customers whilst protecting employees. It’s now become clear that consumer behaviour has changed for good, data during the pandemic has shown that customer adoption has vaulted five years forward. People will remain more likely to shop online, and seek entertainment, and learn digitally than they were before – and business models will need to change to reflect that.

2. Accommodating Remote Workers

Businesses that were reluctant to make the switch to remote work before 2020 have been forced to realise that it, well, can work. The adoption of remote or hybrid working had already increased in the last few years, with many companies offering the ability to work from home as a perk, the COVID restrictions have accelerated its adoption more widely. Remote work became the "new normal" that industries have to accept. Many employees have enjoyed the change, and they’re unlikely to return to 9-5 Monday to Friday in the office. This means businesses need to invest in permanent policies, processes and practices that make sure workers are properly equipped with the technology and skills they need to do a good job from home.

According to a survey from U.S.-based Enterprise Technology Research (ETR), said information technology decision-makers expect permanent remote work to double to 34.4% of their companies’ workforces in 2021, compared with 16.4% before the coronavirus outbreak. The CIOs also expected an increase in tech budgets by 2.1%, compared with a 4.1% decline during 2020.

3. Upskilling

The new landscape will demand upskilling. One of the most dramatic impacts of COVID-19 has been the large numbers of furloughed or laid-off employees and increasing unemployment rates. However, it’s often even more crucial to invest in employees’ adaptability as the market changes.

With accelerated digitization and AI development many more job functions will be automated, so employees need to be able to add value to stay relevant. For example, in large HR departments, CV-scanning and passing software have taken over the human job of reading large volumes of CVs.

Many industries cannot afford to hire a new workforce. Therefore, upskilling or retraining becomes ever more important especially as a way to improve employee engagement. Amazon, for instance, has invested $700 million into reskilling and upskilling programs, and Mastercard has been running its  retraining program since 2016 to gain a competitive advantage over startups.

4. New partnerships

The pandemic required immediate action and innovation. With so many drastic overhauls taking place, many businesses have created new partnerships to both inspire and strengthen the time of response. e.g. Ocado has been reimagining shopping, by solving complex problems to provide solutions for e-commerce grocery using a mix of digital platforms, robotics, automation, and artificial intelligence.

5. Redundancies

“Redundancies” in a workflow context means superfluous extras – hence the term “redundancy” for dismissing a person when their entire role has become a superfluous extra. With businesses needing to reduce overheads, and more processes being automated, we’re likely to see an increasing number of job cuts in 2021.

This may be a traumatic time for many people, but upskilling is the best defence. Employees who are willing to embrace lifelong learning may get laid off, but will never be truly redundant.

6. Virtual Events and Conferences

While in-person conferences and events may resume eventually, virtual ones certainly seem a cheaper and easier option. Organisers of virtual events have been working hard to design virtual spaces to cater to new ways to connect, socialize, network, and mentoring, as well as listening to presentations, whilst visiting the corporate sponsors. Even before the pandemic forced change, many companies had been thinking about ways to reduce their carbon footprints, often by cutting back on air travel.

7. Data-Driven decisions

In 2021, you can’t afford to make a business decision that isn’t supported by data. Big Data collection from various customer touchpoints, including websites, business apps, social media pages, etc. will allow businesses to make consistent and informed powerful data-driven decisions. Evidence-based information will be used to automate processes, optimise current operational activities, gain insight into target audiences, predict future trends and improve performance using readily available feedback to meet customer needs.

Surveys have shown that companies using big data saw a profit increase of 8 percent and a 10 percent reduction in overall cost.

8. Health and Safety first

COVID-19 isn’t over yet and it’s likely to lead to new health and work issues that will need to be managed competently. Businesses will need to decide how to cope with massive employee return-to-work, mental health issues, risk management, and continued infection control protocols. This will place additional pressure on occupational health practitioners as they handle the return to work.

As well as remote working, socially distanced workplaces or mandatory vaccines might become the norm, whilst the use of technology to provide much-needed occupational health advice will become ever more common.

Redline Group has provided exceptional professional talent for the European Technology industries since 1982. Our team includes engineers themselves and recruitment professionals with many years’ experience in technology and engineering recruitment, meaning we can provide the knowledge, contacts, and advice you need.  

For more information regarding how we can help your business grow, contact Redline Group on 01582 450054 or email


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