The Future of Work: The 5 Biggest Workplace Trends of 2022 (2023)

Much has been written in recent years about the tremendous changes in our working lives, of course, out of necessity and for security reasons. In 2022, the pandemic is still a reality for many of us. However, it is fair to say that we learn to adapt to new behaviors and expectations as we work. If we are one of the millions of "knowledge workers" who have more freedom when and where they work, we hope to seize the opportunity to better balance family and work.

Of course, as much is written about the widespread shift to centralized offices and workspaces, there are many professions and occupations where this is simply not an option. For frontline workers in healthcare, retail, education, transportation and security, among many other sectors, buzzwords like "hybrid workplace" are likely to have very little impact on their daily life. But they are unlikely to be unaffected by other trends on this list, as technology opens up possibilities for new ways of working and continues to redefine the relationship between us and our workplaces.

hybrid work

When it comes to where we work, there will continue to be three main models: centralized workplaces, decentralized remote organizations, and the best of both worlds hybrid approach. What will likely change in 2022 is that we as workers are more likely to make choices, rather than being forced to conform to the model that your organization has chosen out of necessity.

Organizations are clearly going through a change in their relationship to the idea of ​​a centralized workplace. At the height of the pandemic in 2020, 69% of large companies expected an overall drop in the office space they occupied,according to the search resultsSo KPMG.


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Hybrid structures range from companies maintaining permanent headquarters with hot-desking to accommodate the fact that employees are more likely to work remotely, to completely eliminating offices and using co-working spaces and breakout rooms. meeting services to meet the needs of a remote business workforce.

A reportrecently commissionedof the video messaging platform Loom found that 90% of employees surveyed, including employees and managers, are happier with the greater freedom they now have to work from home, suggesting that this is a trend that is likely to continue to come. as we move into the home office. in 2022.

AI-Enhanced Workforce

world economic forumforecastthat AI and automation will create 97 million new jobs by 2025. However, the roles of people working in many existing professions will also change, as they are increasingly expected to increase their own skills with information technology. AI. First, this AI will primarily be used to automate repetitive elements of their daily tasks and allow employees to focus on areas that require a more human touch, such as creativity, imagination, high-level strategy, or emotional intelligence. Some examples include lawyers using technology that reduces the time it takes to review case histories to find precedents, and doctors who have computer vision skills that help them analyze medical records and scans to identify diseases in patients to diagnose. In retail, augmented analytics helps store managers with inventory and logistics planning, and helps sales assistants predict what individual shoppers will be looking for when they walk through the door. Marketers have at their disposal a growing range of tools to target campaigns and segment audiences. And in engineering and manufacturing roles, workers will increasingly have access to technology that will help them understand how machines work and predict where failures are likely to occur.

resilience team

Before the pandemic, many times the priority was to hire people who create efficient organizations. In the middle of and after the pandemic, the focus has clearly shifted towards resilience. While internal redundancies or skill overlap used to be considered ineffective, they are now considered sensible precautions.

This certainly includes another subtrend, which is that employers are beginning to understand the importance of incorporating strategies for the health and well-being (including mental health) of their employees into their game plan. Many are now trying to take on more responsibility to help their employees maintain their physical, mental, and financial well-being. One challenge companies will face in 2022 is finding ways to do this to meet goals without being too intrusive or invading the privacy and personal lives of employees.

Ensuring that the workforce is healthy enough to keep a business running is clearly a critical element of resiliency, but it also includes implementing more flexible processes with built-in redundancies to provide coverage in case disaster strikes, resulting in a compromised operational efficiency. These processes will undoubtedly play an increasingly important role in the daily lives of workers throughout 2022.

Less focus on roles, more focus on skills

gardenerdice, "To create the workforce you need post-pandemic, focus less on roles, which bring together unrelated skills, and more on the skills needed to drive your company's competitive advantage and the workflows that drive that advantage" . support financially."

Skills are critical because they address key business challenges with the competencies a workforce needs to meet those challenges. Roles, on the other hand, describe how individual members of a workforce relate to an overall organizational structure or hierarchy. We have certainly seen this trend for some time now, with the move towards more "flat" organizational structures instead of strictly hierarchical teams with direct reports, chain of command for communication and problem solving. By focusing on capabilities, companies are recognizing the fact that solving problems and answering their key business questions is the key to driving innovation and success in information age companies.

From the workers' perspective, they will be better positioned to take advantage of new career opportunities if they focus on developing their skills rather than continuing to develop them to fulfill their role. This shift in focus from roles to skills is likely to be a major trend for companies and workers in 2022.

Employee monitoring and analysis

Controversial as it is, the survey shows that employers are increasingly investing in technology designed to monitor and track the behavior of their employees to increase efficiency. platforms likeconsciouslythat allow companies to monitor behavior via email and tools like Slack to measure productivity are particularly useful for managers overseeing remote workforces. It builds on features developed by earlier products, such as Hitachi's Business Microscope, which tracks employee movements in physical office buildings and can be used to monitor, among other things, how often they take bathroom breaks and what Employees spend most of their time talking. to them others, instead of sitting at their desk.

Of course, it seems easy for companies to use these tools in a way that their employees would perceive as arrogant or pushy, and in my opinion, that would clearly be a recipe for disaster. However, at least on the surface, the idea is to use them to gain a high-level view of workforce behavior, rather than focus on individual activities and use them as tools to enforce discipline. Companies that invest in this technology have a very fine line to walk and it remains to be seen whether the net effect will be an increase in productivity or a "chilling effect" on individual liberties. If this is the case, it probably won't end well for the companies involved. However, this type of technology, for better or worse, is likely to play an increasing role in the workplace through 2022.

Read more about these and other future trends in my new book,Business Trends in Action: 25+ Trends Redefining Organizations.

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