The COVID-19 pandemic changed millions of lives and impacted the way we work forever. The pandemic has made companies and employees realize that work need not be done 9-5 from an office desk - rather, work can be accomplished and completed from the comfort of your home as well without having to be at a desk for eight hours straight. Many companies have started to embrace the idea of full-time remote and hybrid workspaces in addition to automation and AI. Keep reading to find seven workplace trends that you are likely to witness in 2022:
- Remote and hybrid work becoming the norm While many companies have already adapted to this emerging workplace trend, many companies are still taking time realizing this as a workspace reality. In 2022, many companies are likely to adapt to a remote-first workspace where employees are welcome to work from home and only visit physical workspaces if needed. Rather than being the exception, flexible work arrangements are likely to become the norm in most industries and organizations. Multiple employee health surveys also report willingness from employees to be accommodated for work-from-home and remote positions.
- Prioritizing employee well-being Organizations are increasingly focusing on employee well-being and on promoting a work-life balance for their employees. Mental health, physical health, entertainment, and recreation are some of the aspects that companies are prioritizing in their workspaces. Free counseling sessions, in-house psychologists, gym allowances, in-house trainers, a standing desk, co-working spaces, and so many more are some of the aspects that are likely to become a part of every workspace. Companies are introducing wellness programs and giving more time paid off to their employees to ensure that they lead a happy life expecting that would ultimately result in greater productivity.
- HR Transformation using technology Human resource departments across organizations are transforming themselves using data and technology. HR is leveraging the power of data analytics in talent acquisition and in sourcing new employees. Data analytics is also being used to understand retention and turnover trends in companies, which allows HR to create strategies to curb turnover and promote retention. HR also utilized people data to study employee information and to gain an organization-wide perspective regarding their employees’ needs, demands, experiences, and overall work environments. HR departments have digitized most of their operations and use technology to collaborate with other relevant departments such as People Development and Employee Experience.
- Increasing emphasis on employee growth Organizations are likely to witness a growing trend of emphasis on continuous employee growth across all industries. As managers and leaders put forward the importance of upskilling and education in the workplace, and incorporate it in their employee’s job descriptions, a culture of learning is developed and observed in most organizations. Employees realize this as an investment in their learning which reverberates a culture of organization-wide learning and progress. Companies such as Microsoft invest heavily in employee learning, and as a result, has one of the highest retention rates across any tech organization. By investing in employee growth, organizations can also close existing skill gaps within their talent pool.
- Increasing emphasis on soft skills In addition to the emphasis on employee growth, organizations are also invested in focusing on soft skills instead of simply technical skills. This is because while technical skills can be taught and learned, soft skills are harder to catch on to and individuals need a natural flair for most soft skills. Skills such as relationship building, critical thinking, creativity, innovativeness, teamwork, and ethics are some of the soft skills that are important and necessary in most work environments. Especially for leadership roles, hiring managers often count soft skills much more severely than accounting for technical skills and experience.
- A diverse and inclusive workforce While most companies make an effort to maintain a diverse and inclusive workforce, diversity in workplaces is still, sadly, an exception rather than being the norm. In 2022, owing to the increase in remote and hybrid work, it is said that diverse and inclusive workforces are likely to be seen trending in their numbers. Most companies are making equity in workplaces their priority, and hiring managers are increasingly opening up to the understanding that a diverse workplace equals a diverse pool of experiences and talent.
- Growing use of automation and software While most companies already use automated software and applications, in 2022, the use of automation and AI-based software is likely to become the norm in almost all organizations. In fact, all aspects of an individual’s job are likely to be governed by one or another aspect of artificial intelligence, and almost all work-related endeavors and decisions are likely to be based on strategic decision-making as a result of collected data. Not only would automation make the jobs easier for almost all employees, but it would also in fact enable them to make better decisions in a timely manner. Automation would also save employees a lot of time as it would simplify basic business processes.