As 2020 draws to a close, I can’t help but think about how much this year drastically changed the world—both on a personal and professional level. In March, we were getting ready to close the first quarter of the year, with our teams getting into the swing of things. As someone who loved working together in the office, everything changed on March 9th when I sent the company home to work remotely indefinitely. I don’t think anyone could have been prepared for what the next 8 months (and more, most likely) would bring.
I can truly say that there has never been a time where I’ve been more grateful to work at a company like Fuze. We have been talking about the future of flexible work for years—even when adoption by companies around the world was slow. We’ve hosted events like our FLEX Summit, published numerous research reports, and even recently started a podcast. And because of the nature of our platform, which allows you to work anywhere in the world without missing a beat, I do think the transition to working remotely, technically speaking, was this easiest part of this entire experience for me. We were lucky at Fuze to have placed our own communication platform at the center of how we got our work done already.
I recently spoke on the November episode of our FLEX podcast about my predictions for the workforce as we enter 2021. We’ll see many trends emerge, including the entrance of Gen Z into the workforce. As the parent of a member of Gen Z, I know that their experience centers so much more heavily around flexible, cloud-based work. I think that’s a page we’ll all be taking out of their book. I think the biggest shift we’ll see next year is the embracing of hybrid, flexible work as the new normal. As a result of the pandemic, across most industries, that shift is already underway. Seventy percent of our employees, in a recent survey, have told me they plan to return to the office at most 1-2 days a week. The world has changed forever.
As of now, Fuze’s return to work plan is to move our global “return to office” date out to the week of July 5th, 2021. Our hope is that by July, all regions will be ready for a return to office but we will be monitoring every location individually and will only open up to all regional employees where it is safe to do so. I think it is also important to reiterate that our return to offices will not be a return to the past. Going forward, in a flexible, hybrid model, our employees will continue to adjust their work experiences in the ways that best suit them and their families’ needs.
One big shift in work next year will be the reimagining of the physical office space. We will be redesigning our office spaces to make sure we have regional hubs that prioritize space for networking and collaboration, versus using the five day in-office employee as the design point. We have instituted a task force, the Fuze Future @Work group, which is working hard to collaborate with various teams across the company to ensure we design something that works for everyone.
In the spirit of the recent holiday, I couldn’t be more thankful for the colleagues and employees at Fuze and their flexibility and dedication these past 8 months. The end is hopefully in sight, and we will get there as a leadership team and company that practices empathy first and foremost. Stay safe and healthy during this holiday season!
Chief Executive Officer
To hear more 2021 workforce predictions, you can listen to the FLEX podcast episode here.
Note: This post was originally shared on LinkedIn.