Future of Work: Productivity Trends 2022

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The future of work is all about change, and it’s time to recognize that “normal” is no longer a thing. While new companies and startup organizations usually embrace the notion of constant change, major enterprises around the world are discovering that they must do the same. For instance, companies like Shopify, Twitter and Facebook confirmed that they are establishing permanent policies that let people work from home, which is a big shift from how they used to operate. Here are four workplace trends for 2022. 

1. Hybrid Workplace Opportunities 

In 2022, it’s going to be more common to see hybrid work opportunities that allow employees to choose from three main work environment models. These will be traditional workplaces, remote options and a combination of both. The big thing that will change for employees is that they’ll be able to choose whether they work from home, at the office or go hybrid and do both. 

Companies are starting to shift away from a traditional office setting that involves a centralized workplace. When the pandemic was at its most extreme in 2020, an estimated 69% of large companies predicted that they would be decreasing how much office space they needed. 

Hybrid models will vary from companies keeping some permanent central offices that feature hot-desking to allow for employees who will be working remotely more often to eliminating office space completely and using co-working offices and rentable meeting rooms that they can use to support their remote staff members. 

According to a report published by PWC, technology developments will change the way that people work during the next five to 10 years. Demographic shifts will also transform how people work as will climate change. 

In 2022, companies will start to reveal their stances on political and societal issues. They’ll be doing this because workers are starting to want to work for companies that share their values. This sentiment has been growing for a while, but during 2020, it grew even more. According to an article published by the Harvard Business Review, around 74% of workers believe that their employers will involve themselves in current cultural debates. 

2. AI Assistance 

The World Economic Forum issued a report stating that by 2025, AI and automation will bring about the development of 97 million new jobs. Along with this, many people will see change in their current roles. AI and automation will enhance the abilities of workers. 

At first, companies will use AI to automate a job’s repetitive elements. This will let your staff focus on tasks that require human thinking such as creativity, high-level strategies and emotional intelligence. For instance, a lawyer may use advanced technology to review case histories and search precedents. A doctor will use it in a similar way to review medical records while in the retail industry, managers may use technology for inventory planning. Technology will increase productivity and improve worker experience. 

People will begin moving away from the idea that a person learns one profession and works at one company where he or she remains until retirement. Workplace trends for 2022 include trying several different occupations throughout one’s life. In fact, there are even scholarships available for adults who are returning to college.  

3. A Bigger Focus on Skills 

Instead of focusing on people’s roles, company’s will look to increase productivity by focusing on the skills of their workers. You’ll want to hire people who have the skills that you need to manage core business challenges as well as the competencies that you need to conquer them. 

Many businesses have already started this trend by shifting away from hierarchical teams to organizational structures that are basically flat. They are implementing a direct reporting approach to solving problems and communicating. When you focus on skills instead of roles, you’ll be supporting innovation and driving your company toward success. 

On the employee side, working toward skill development instead of a company’s role puts them in a better place to take advantage of new career opportunities. The switchover from prioritizing skills over roles is looking to be a trend for both companies and employees in 2022.  

4. Additional Monitoring and Assessing 

While it may be controversial, work trends show that companies are starting to use technology that will help them monitor and assess the effectiveness of their employees. They’re using this information to increase efficiency. Aware is a program that lets companies monitor employee behavior over email while Slack allows them to track productivity. These types of platforms make it easier for managers to oversee remote workers. 

Some programs let companies track how often people are going to the bathroom and who spends the most time chatting with their coworkers instead of being at their workstation. If used to intrude on worker behavior, this type of platform could be harmful, but if you use it just to get a broad view of how people are spending their time, then it could be helpful.

A workplace trend in 2022 will be to offer mental health support. The pandemic has revealed that people need mental health assistance, which is encouraging companies to provide it since they are now seeing that good mental health is good for the workplace.  

The Future of Work 

The way that people work is everchanging. With new developments, people can do their jobs more efficiently and effectively. If you need help guiding your staff through changes like a hybrid workplace or advanced technology, contact me at the Productivity Intelligence Institute.