What working trends is the world facing in 2022? 2021 has seen what is being dubbed as The Great Re-evaluation, or Resignation, which has seen companies responding in a variety of ways. Companies have also had to re-evaluate their working arrangements and you’ve also probably heard murmurs of the possibility and feasibility of the four-day week. 2021 was more volatile than many expected, and it’s fair to assume that 2022 will not be less so – as many will err on the side of caution. Hybrid work has become a reality and new policies will continue to be introduced.
What does all this mean to the global work-scape? Research is showing that the following working trends will emerge in 2022.
Fairness and Equality
As vaccine, race and gender debates come to the forefront, it is fair to say that fairness and equality have become hot topics of the year. Harvard Business Review’s analysis of S&P 500 earning calls, the frequency with which CEOs talk about fairness and inclusion has increased by 658% since 2018. Hybrid and / or remote work cannot be enabled for all at the click of debates. It is only natural that this leads to the question of access. Who has access to flexible working hours? What jobs allow for a work-from-anywhere mode of work? As companies enable working parents with supportive measures, it begs the question – what about those who do not require such benefits? Are they getting the brunt of this? “Why are parent workers getting something and I am not?”
Company decision-makers will need to address these questions and manage fairness across the board as the employee experience and needs continue to change with the times.
More-fluid hierarchical structures
As companies face a talent shortage, organisations turn to internal mobility. This is not only a positive incentive for employees, but it is also cost and time saving. It also a proactive approach to the talent shortage. This means they understand the need for reskilling and upskilling existing employees to fill niche roles and to decrease employee turnover. Companies may also turn to more project-based workers as they recognise the need for the freelancer in a volatile and unpredictable work-scape.
Hybrid models of working
If the past two years have shown us anything, it is that companies need to have a strong policy on remote working and other models of working. A modern company cannot constrain itself to the traditional set hours. Flexible work is no longer a perk a company can add in a job ad. It has become expected. Employers that don’t offer flexibility will see increased turnover as employees quickly move to companies that value and are prepared for different work models. One must keep in mind that with hybrid and remote work as the norm, the geographical radius of organisations that an employee can apply to work for also expands. This may also see employers turn to the 4-day work week in place of increased pay as a perk to decrease employee attrition.
The manager-employee relationship is more important than ever before
With increase hybrid workers and the nuances that come with managing a hybrid workforce, managers need to be in touch with their workforce more than ever before. Managers will need to understand their employees needs and situations and assess more closely, as with remote work, it is far more challenging to gauge sentiments and performance.
A push on wellness
It is likely that to offset the negative repercussions in the wake of the pandemic, many companies recognise the need for wellness support for their employees. Mental health is also being given the weight it requires. Large organisations have also introduced wellness programs as they recognise that employee wellbeing decreases absenteeism, has a positive impact on retention, productivity and overall satisfaction (both employee and company-side).
Since the past two years have seen employees being forced to work from home, often out of necessity, even by companies which were not duly prepared with a work from home policy, trust has been in short supply. In a post-pandemic era, accountability is not about monitoring, especially with flexible working being a thing it is about building a culture that supports it. It is also two-way. Employees are being given opportunities to make their own decisions, but we are also seeing a new side to this. People expect corporate accountability. In the face of cancel culture, companies must be willing to understand where they are wrong and own up to their mistakes – often publicly. It’s not just about getting things done, it is also a matter of how you do it, who you hire and what message you are sending out to the world.
With these predicted trends, we are most certainly living in what is possibly one of the greatest workplace disruptions in generations and it does not seem likely that it will slow down. It is an exciting time and an opportunity for companies to pave the way to a new, positive reality with innovative approaches and a people-driven culture.
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