The 2020s have shaped up to be a period of high change in the workplace. With shifts in the economy, technology, and globalization, new trends are emerging that will reshape how people work. But why is it important to understand workplace trends? Simple 😎 Trends can help to inform your decisions about where your career is headed and, what adaptations you’ll need to make to keep up. The insights these trends bring into the future of work are what help us stay ahead of the curve. In this article, we’ll take a glimpse into the top hybrid workplace trends that you should keep on your radar. But first, before we can dive into the trends, we need to define what is a hybrid workplace?
A hybrid workplace is a term used to describe an office environment where employees can work from anywhere, at any time. This type of work has become increasingly popular in recent years, especially at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Before we dive into the predictions for 2022, what are some current digital workplace trends that are already in practice as people return to the office? The first one is, of course, giving employees the option to work remotely a few days a week. The second is the move towards sustainable offices.
With millennials making up such a large percentage of the workforce, it’s no surprise that employers are starting to invest in green initiatives like energy-saving measures and using recycled materials wherever possible. This is why a hybrid setup is an efficient and sustainable way of working, as you not only can lower the overhead costs of having a large physical office, but also lessen your carbon footprint.
If you're skeptical about investing in a hybrid workplace, you might be asking: Is hybrid work the future of work? The short answer is yes. Employees seek more flexible arrangements, and if employers want to attract and retain top talent, they need to have a hybrid workplace policy in place.
According to the Remote Work and Compensation Pulse survey:
Because it was necessary to adopt a remote-first or a hybrid work model due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most decisions were made for safety and health reasons. However, the main reason employees want to continue to adopt flexible working arrangements in 2022 is not only because of safety concerns. According to Rishita Jones, Transformation, Communication and Change Consultant:
"The Great Resignation is not about people wanting more flexibility or higher pay. The Great Resignation is about people seeking meaning and purpose in their lives, of which work is a big part of."
That's why we will continue to see hybrid workplace trends that have the people and purpose-first approach. These initiatives include:
These initiatives will continue to grow as people seek more meaning and purpose in their jobs.
Companies will continue to create more creative spaces and systems for collaboration. While online collaboration is easy and innovative, it doesn't replace the experience of an in-person brainstorming session. This is especially critical for highly creative roles and companies, such as design and architecture firms. According to a Gartner 2021 Hybrid Work Employee survey:
"Slightly more than 70 percent of HR professionals said they were more concerned about employee collaboration this year than they were before the pandemic began."
Additionally, Microsoft's 2021 Work Trend Index found that 73% of employees want greater freedom with how they spend their time at work while 67 percent feel like having face-to-face conversations can help solve problems more effectively than emails or text messages alone would do!
These trends of focusing on people, purpose, and collaboration are mostly dependent on company culture and leadership styles. What about trends that are more clinical and tactical?
In 2022, the office administration should invest in improving remote work spaces. Many employees are now working remotely, but they don't have the most efficient setup.
In Microsoft's 2021 Work Trend Index:
"42 percent of employees say they lack essential equipment, such as a good headset and stable internet connection. Yet, over 46 percent say their employer does not help them with remote work expenses."
The number of countries with legislation on flexible work has increased and will continue to rise in 2022. According to Flexjobs.com:
“Despite these assumptions around flexible work, it is evident that countries all around the world, as well as the United States, are making real efforts to lessen the burden on individuals and families and are adopting more progressive flexible work benefits.”
The UK had flexible working legislation since 1996 for parents, but have since updated it in 2014 to include all employees. Other countries, such as Malaysia are putting together their own clear and specific guidelines to help and encourage more companies to adopt a hybrid workforce.
💡 Learn more about other countries with the best flexible working policies.
The metaverse is not a digital workplace trend that will be implemented in 2022, but we will hear more practical applications from early adopters.
Augmented reality is already making waves with companies like Oculus, Magic Leap, and Microsoft HoloLens bringing their take on how we can use these augmented realities for productivity tools while also maintaining a realistic view of what’s around us. According to ComputerWeekly.com:
"Creating an immersive experience for remote and office-based workers could improve the employee experience and level the playing field across those physically working in the office and those working from home."
As new technologies continue to make artificial intelligence more advanced, some believe the future of work will be in virtual worlds not too far down the line.
It's exciting to think about the future of work trends and which hybrid workplace trends will become the norm. At the end of the day, companies that understand why employees are seeking more flexibility will continue to innovate. Having a purpose-driven strategy that also incorporates smart in-person collaboration is a must for anyone adopting a hybrid working arrangement. Lastly, the future of work rests in countries that continue to create and change new legislation on flexible work. Are you ready to adopt the future trends that are about to take 2022 by storm?