A great deal of attention has been centered around the huge changes which have come about in the working lives of employees over the past two years, most of which have been driven by safety concerns. In 2022, the pandemic will still be very present and a very significant fact of life for many people in business. However, by now most business personnel had to adapt to whatever behavioral patterns change and whatever expectations needed to be modified as well.
It is still possible for most employees to enjoy a little bit of freedom regarding where and when they choose to work so that a balance can be achieved between working life and home life. It should be remembered, however, that not all industries are conducive to remote work setups, because there are still quite a few professions where that simply isn’t possible.
For example, frontline workers involved with education, transportation, security, retail, and healthcare simply don’t work well in any kind of hybrid workplace. However, even those industries are likely to change thanks to some of the trends included on our list, as technology provides new opportunities for workers and workplaces.
According to our staffing agency experts, here are the workplace trends that will dominate this upcoming year:
There are three primary models associated with where people can work: centralized workplaces, remote organizations, and a hybrid of both the other types. In 2022, it’s very likely that workers will have more of an option about choosing which model they prefer to work in, instead of having to adapt to a certain model out of necessity.
There is no doubt that most organizations are going through significant changes relative to their relationship with the idea of a centralized workplace.
As the pandemic reached its zenith in 2020, almost 70% of large companies anticipated using significantly less office space than in other years. The hybrid model will include all those companies that maintain permanent centralized offices, as well as a number of individuals working remotely.
Also included in this paradigm will be doing away with offices entirely, and arranging for co-working spaces, as well as meeting rooms that can support the requirements of a workforce which is predominantly remote.
There are plenty of reports and articles showing that employees are much happier with the level of freedom they now have to work from home. This indicates that the workplace trends toward remote work and remote staffing are likely to remain in effect, even when the pandemic relaxes its grip and no longer forces this particular model.
It is expected by many that there will be nearly 100 million new jobs available by the year 2025, and this has actually been forecast by the World Economic Forum. This forecast is based on the assumption that artificial intelligence and automation will cause an explosion in the number of jobs available. It also means that people currently working are likely to find many changes coming to their roles as employees, especially in the area of having to upgrade their skill sets with regard to AI technology.
In the beginning, AI influences helped to automate some of the more tedious and repetitive elements of day-to-day roles. That will allow workers to focus on more value-added processes, e.g. imagination, creativity, emotional intelligence, high-level strategy. Some examples of this may include lawyers who will use technology to reduce time spent analyzing case histories, and doctors who use AI to help analyze medical records and diagnose illnesses.
In the retail sector, augmented analytics will assist store managers in planning inventory and logistics, and will also help sales assistants predict what shoppers might be searching for when they come into the store.
Marketers will have an ever-expanding number of devices and tools available to them to help segment audiences and target-specific campaigns.
In the engineering and manufacturing arena, workers will have access to technology that contributes to the understanding of how machinery works, and to predict the most likely places for breakdowns to occur.
Staffing for resilience
In the pre-pandemic world, it was more important to hire staff members that could help to create efficient organizations. In the post-pandemic world, the emphasis will shift in the direction of resilience.
Built-in redundancy and skills overlap are seemingly now a very sensible precaution and in many cases a must-have strategy. Employers are now beginning to understand the tremendous importance of establishing employee healthcare and well-being strategies as part of their overall game plan.
This means employers will take on greater responsibility for helping the workforce maintain well-being in the areas of mental, physical, and financial fitness. One of the challenges which will become apparent in 2022 is discovering ways that these objectives can be achieved without invading the privacy of employees’ personal lives, or becoming an overly intrusive force.
Maintaining a healthy workforce will be critical to keeping business operations running smoothly, and it will be a major component of resilience.
More Focus on Skills, Less Focus on Roles
We expect that in 2022 and beyond, there will be much less focus on specific roles and a much greater emphasis on skills necessary to drive an organization’s competitive advantage. Skills are important because they are necessary to deal with the challenges of your core business, and with the competencies needed by the workforce to deal with those challenges.
By focusing on skills rather than roles, businesses can acknowledge the fact that problem-solving is more important to driving innovation and success with any modern business. This will be advantageous for the employee as well, because it will allow them to develop their personal skills, and that will leave them in a better position to capitalize on other career opportunities.
Since this trend will benefit both management and employees, it is very likely to see strong emphasis in the coming years.