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Have you had enough of 2020? Let’s look to what you can expect in your 2021 workplace. The 2020 pandemic has been a historic year. We’ve experienced unexpected change. And, interestingly, some of that change may be here to stay.

Recently, Glassdoor’s Chief Economist, Dr. Andrew Chamberlain, shared his five predictions on what the future holds at work. First, office life will return, but will never be the same. Second, employees expect progress, not pledges, on corporate diversity, equality, and inclusion. Salary expectations will get a permanent work from home overhaul. Company cultures must adapt to post-COVID-19 realities. And, although the COVID-19 recession is likely over, those jobs may never return.

I’m sure you would agree; there’s a lot to unpack here. Let’s start with a few of the highlights.

More than 40% of US workers have been working from home full-time since June 2020. This dramatic shift has caused significant changes in the way we work. Chamberlain believes that although companies have been forced to rethink work from home policies, employees will ultimately return to work once it’s safe. Although remote work allows companies to hire from anywhere, it has downsides. Chamberlain cites poor employee communication, lack of motivation and performance, lower creativity, and lack of spontaneity as the drawbacks to remote work. Casual bonds created through in person interactions are critical for building a culture of innovation and creativity. According to an internal survey of Glassdoor’s own workforce, most workers prefer a hybrid work arrangement, splitting time between home and office.

The Black Lives Matter movement also cast a needed light on racial inequality that will impact our workplace going forward. Companies are being pushed to make real progress on diversity and inclusion efforts. The public also expects more transparency on these efforts going forward. Conversations around economic inequality and police violence sparked a national conversation. In the workplace, this conversation has the potential to be a win-win. In other words, diversity attracts talent. Glassdoor found in a recent survey that more than three in four employees and job seekers say they would no longer apply at a company without workplace diversity.

Chamberlain also predicts a shift in salary expectations. He believes tech workers moving from expensive metros such as San Francisco or New York should expect pay reductions from five to thirty percent, depending on where they move. This is one point where my perspective veers away from Chamberlain. If a worker has a unique skillset, a company will be forced to pay the fair market rate for that skillset, regardless of where they live. On the flip side, if location is no issue, job seekers will likely face more competition as they apply for jobs. I believe the increase in competition will change salaries more than a cost of living adjustment.

Ultimately, the unexpected nature of 2020 has forever changed our workplace, for good and for bad. Here’s to a better 2021!

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland


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