The Five Most Important Workplace Trends for 2022

Published on 11 Mar 2022

The pandemic is still very much a part of many people's lives in 2022, despite the passage of time. It's fair to say that, via our work, we've learned to adapt to new behavioural patterns and expectations as we go about our business. If we are among the millions of "knowledge workers" who now have more flexibility in terms of when and where we work, we should make the most of the chance to achieve a more harmonious balance between our personal and professional lives.

There are numerous jobs and professions where working from home is just not a possibility, regardless of how much is written about the broad trend away from offices and centralized workplaces. Buzzwords like "hybrid workplace" are likely to have minimal influence on the day-to-day lives of frontline employees in many sectors, including healthcare, retail, education, transportation, and security, to name a few examples. These trends will very certainly overlap with others on this list, as technology continues to offer up prospects for new ways of working and redefines our connection with our places of work in profound ways.

See Also: Guide to Building A Remote Global Team 

Working In A Hybrid Model

The three primary types of work will continue to exist: centralized workplaces, decentralized remote companies, and a hybrid "best of both worlds" approach that combines the best of both worlds of the two models. However, what is most likely to change in 2022 is that we as employees, rather than being obliged to agree with whatever model your firm has selected out of necessity, will more likely have the option to make our own decisions.

Clearly, organizations are changing their attitudes on the concept of a centralized workplace. This is evident in the data. According to a study conducted by KPMG, during the height of the pandemic in 2020, 69 percent of big enterprises predicted an overall decline in the quantity of office space they would be utilizing.

Companies will adopt a variety of hybrid structures, ranging from maintaining permanent centralized offices with hot-desking to accommodate the fact that employees will be working more frequently from home, to eliminating offices entirely and relying on co-working spaces and serviced meeting rooms to meet the needs of a primarily remote workforce.

Artificial Intelligence-Enhanced Workforce

By 2025, the World Economic Forum anticipates that artificial intelligence and automation would result in the creation of 97 million new jobs. People working in many current occupations, on the other hand, will discover that their duties are altering as they are more asked to supplement their own talents using artificial intelligence technology. 

As a starting point, this artificial intelligence will be used primarily to automate repetitive elements of workers' day-to-day roles, freeing up their time to concentrate on areas that require a more human touch – such as creativity and imagination; high-level strategy; and emotional intelligence, among other things. Among the examples are attorneys who will utilize technology to reduce the amount of time they spend examining case histories in order to uncover precedents and physicians who will use computer vision skills to assist them to evaluate medical data and scans in order to detect disease in patients.

Aspects of augmented analytics are used in retail to aid store managers with inventory planning and logistics, as well as to help sales associates forecast what specific consumers will be searching for when they come through the door. Marketers have an ever-expanding array of technologies at their disposal to assist them in targeting campaigns and segmenting audience segments. As technology continues to advance, personnel in engineering and manufacturing positions will have more access to tools that would help them in better understanding how the equipment operates and predicting where problems are most likely to occur.

Resilient Staffing Is Essential

Prior to the pandemic, it was usually thought that the most important thing to do was employ people who would help to make companies more efficient. During and after the epidemic, the focus has firmly moved in the direction of adaptability and resilience. Whereas built-in redundancy or skill overlaps could have been seen as wasteful in the past, they are now regarded as a prudent precaution.

The fact that organizations are beginning to recognize the crucial need of including employee healthcare and well-being (including mental health) tactics into their overall game plan undoubtedly falls under this category. Many companies are increasingly attempting to assume more responsibility for assisting their employees in maintaining their physical, emotional, and financial well-being. In this area, one of the challenges that businesses will face in 2022 is figuring out how to accomplish goals without becoming unduly intrusive or invasive of workers' personal life and privacy.

More Emphasis Is Placed On Talent

Skills are important because they address basic business concerns and provide employees with the capabilities necessary to solve those difficulties. Roles, on the other hand, represent the manner in which individual employees of a workforce connect to the overarching organizational structure or hierarchical structure of the company. 

The shift away from strictly hierarchical teams with direct reporting and a chain-of-command approach to communication and problem-solving has certainly been brewing for some time, as evidenced by the move towards more "flat" organizational structures as opposed to strictly hierarchical teams with a direct reporting and chain-of-command approach to communication and problem-solving. Businesses may address the reality that solving challenges and answering their fundamental business concerns is the key to creating innovation and success in information-age firms by putting a strong emphasis on skills.

From the perspective of the worker, concentrating on expanding their talents rather than further strengthening their ability to do their current job duties puts them in a better position to take advantage of new career chances that arise. This change in emphasis from roles to skills is expected to be a significant trend for both businesses and employees in the year 2022.

See Also: Understanding Enterprise Risk Management (ERM)

Monitoring And Analysis Of Employee Performance

Despite the fact that it is controversial, data indicates that businesses are increasingly investing in technologies meant to monitor and track the behavior of their workers in order to increase productivity. Managers in charge of remote teams are finding platforms such as Aware, which allows them to monitor employee activity across email, and applications such as Slack, which allows them to assess productivity, to be especially valuable. 

Previous products, such as Hitachi's Business Microscope, built on functionality that tracked employees' movements around physical office buildings. It could be used to track, among other things, how frequently bathroom breaks were taken and which employees spend the most time talking to coworkers rather than sitting at their workstations, among other things. To be sure, it seems that it would be rather simple for businesses to use these technologies in a manner that would be seen as overbearing or invasive by their employees; nevertheless, in my view, this would be a formula for catastrophe. 

While they are intended to be used to obtain wide supervision into workforce conduct, the aim is to utilize them to get broad oversight into workforce behavior rather than focusing on individual action and using them as instruments to enforce punishment. Investment in this technology is a delicate balance, and it is unclear if the net result will be a rise in productivity or a "chilling impact" on individual liberties. If the latter is the case, it is doubtful that the corporations involved will come out on top. To be sure, whether for the better or for the worse, it is certain that this kind of technology will play an increasingly significant role in the workplace by the year 2022.

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