The early months of 2021 continue to prove the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19. While we continue to face questions around its sustained impact, we at Oversight identified a few lessons learned from 2020 that can guide us through this year’s uncertainty.
From the widespread shelter in place notices to the rapid shift to WFH, the pandemic reminded us that the world is a predictably unpredictable place. Although we may not be able to predict the future, we need to build on the past to understand better what is coming.
How are we using what we know to make decisions in the future? Recently, Oversight’s VP of Product Management, Jon Lawrence, spoke with PaymentsJournal and shared his Four Predictions for Corporate Spend in 2021.
- Travel Will Return Slowly in the Wake of the Vaccine
Although the vaccine points toward an end of the virus, many companies will remain cautious with employee travel. They may roll out travel in waves and begin to analyze the person’s destination, their reason for traveling and the office safety protocols, among other considerations.
- Flexible Working Arrangements are Here to Stay
Pre-pandemic, roughly less than 10% of all employees were remote workers. Today, estimates are as high as 50% of all employees are working remotely. While the return to the office could be on the horizon, many organizations have indicated that they will offer remote options post-pandemic as they have realized efficiencies with a hybrid workforce. This potentially means that fixed expenses like workspace are up for negotiation.
- Spend is Shifting but Risk isn’t Going Away
Spend is down due to employees working remotely. However, risk is higher than ever. Items that would have immediately been flagged as “unusual” in 2020, such as gift cards, are now more accepted. Gift card policies and purchasing methods could change yet again.
- 2021 Will be a Time for New Policy
With the nature of business shifting last year, many policies are up for debate in 2021. Some of the questions that companies may begin to ask are: “do we really need to allow home office spending as an expense, or should we offer an annual stipend for flexible employees? How much office space is needed given the new nature of our workforce? Are gift cards only acceptable for client entertainment, and if so, how do we refine policy to mitigate risk?”, shared Lawrence.
As business decisions continue to be ever-changing due to uncertainties, it is imperative that those organizations build policies that align.
Interested in learning more about predictions for 2021 corporate spend? Check out Jon Lawrence’s full article in PaymentsJournal.