Managing disruption, maintaining productivity, and encouraging empathy were top themes last year as the world's office towers emptied and employees moved to a work-from-home model. Leaders watched the pandemic for signals that we could return to the office as they recognized fatigue in their employees and decline in productivity. The news of the vaccine gives us a glimmer of hope, and means we can now start creating the workplace of the future. So what does that look like, when will it happen, and what will it take to get there? We predict these top 5 trends for 2021 with innovation, distributed working, and workplace leadership major themes for the year. 1. The return to the office will begin Our clients have shared a consistent and strong message: offices will reopen. The reasons? Productivity, culture and retention. Work from home was attractive prior to the pandemic in a flex-work model, but now that many have experienced it full-time, the realization that an all-and-nothing strategy isn’t favourable. Zoom calls dominate the day with actual work happening around them. Colleague relationships suffer with lack of natural exchanges. And with nearly everyone having a similar experience, company’s struggle to differentiate beyond salary in meaningful ways. The office is more than a destination, it plays a significant role in the company experience, culture, values, and services. The desire to return is near-universal.