Do you remember what work was like five years ago? It’s more difficult to recall than one would think. The way we work has changed by leaps and bounds – largely triggered by working from home during Covid – and isn’t going to stop changing anytime soon. As we prepare to enter 2022, we at Ten Spot have done a lot of thinking, reading, polling, and discussing how work will continue to evolve. Here are seven trends and predictions that we believe will impact companies, employees, and the way we work in 2022.
The Gen Z Voice Will Get Louder and Shape the Future of Work
Looking across the workforce today there is a stark generational difference between the generation that will soon leave the workforce (Boomers) and the new generation on its way in (Gen Z). Gen Z is not only laser-focused on using technology to solve problems – 63% think that using an employee engagement and productivity platform could help their company improve the company’s culture, employee communications, inclusivity, and training and development efforts – but 86% have already experienced discriminatory issues or abusive behavior in the workplace. As a result, Gen Z will likely have a significant impact on today’s workplace as we know it – from how we use technology, think about company culture, the ways issues regarding workplace discrimination and diversity, equity and inclusion are addressed, and how companies deal with the most pressing social and political issues
Relationships at Work Will Get More Personal
No, we’re not talking about romance, we’re talking about making meaningful connections with your co-workers and building bonds that make teamwork more successful and work in general more bearable. The dehumanization of the workforce has crept into many organizations in recent years, increasing the need for a basic level of empathy and compassion amongst co-workers. Taking the time to connect with employees about their lives outside of work is really important – grabbing the occasional coffee or having a team lunch may be a thing of the past, schedule video 1-on-1’s, or set up a fun virtual event for your team. Making these a regular habit will help your team form better relationships with you and each other, and will also benefit everyone’s mental well-being.
Workers Will Be Bringing Their Whole Selves to Work
Gone are the days of compartmentalization, where workers are one person on the job, and another after hours. The blurred line of work and life has encouraged employees to expect that companies consider and acknowledge their whole selves and the roles we play outside of work – whether that’s parenthood or caring for an aging parent, or pursuing a passion such as playing in a band, taking yoga teacher training classes, getting an advanced degree, etc. Additionally, this includes 360-degree wellness – mental, physical, and social – along with embracing flexibility with work hours.
Meetings will Start to Change (Again) in Almost Every Way
If there’s one thing that working from home has taught us is that we don’t need to have as many meetings, they don’t need to be as long as we think they do, and they don’t all need to happen over Zoom. We believe that 2022 will see the rise of the 15-minute meeting, especially for those companies already using tools like Slack, or those who have fallen into the practice of using Google docs to share updates and address questions in a single document.
The Physical Workspace will Continue to Evolve
Companies are asking ‘how can we make the most of the days that we are together?’ leading to a reimagination of what physical offices will look like and what their purpose will be. We’ve already established that desk work can be done at home. With offices no longer necessary for everyone to come in, sit in, and work in all day long, offices will become spaces for collaboration, brainstorming, and strategy sessions. Depending on the company, the vibe may be more geared toward comfort (bean bag chairs, chairs with ottomans so people could put their feet up), creativity (wall-sized whiteboards, and booths to record videos in, that are open to all for in the moment ideas or concepts to share), and collaboration (a range of board games, indoor balls/sports equipment, and art supplies) that can be used for their primary purposes in team-building exercises or to use to problem solve and more.
Companies Will Double Down on Training – Especially for Managers
Even before the pandemic, a report from 2018 indicated that 59% of managers hadn’t ever had any training on how to manage people. Because of the work transition everyone has been through, this number might actually be even higher now. Managers desperately need training on how to be managers, and they need training on how to be managers remotely. Training managers to effectively manage remote teams is a huge issue because managers are struggling right now, and when managers struggle, their teams and direct reports struggle as well.
Companies Will Initiate a Reset on Core Values & Bigger Issues
The new era of working from home combined with the wave of resignations the workforce is experiencing has companies questioning if their core values represent their existing employees, and will ramp up for a big reset. A Ten Spot survey indicated that many companies supported or took action in sociopolitical issues this year, with Black Lives Matter (40%), Women’s Rights (40%), and Mental Health Awareness/Programs/Initiatives (40%) leading, followed by local food banks (31%), Voting Rights (30%) and LGBTQ Rights. It turns out that how a company responds to social, political, and humanitarian issues has a significant impact on company culture, and working for a purpose-driven company plays a central role in determining an employee’s engagement and productivity levels. Overall, 56% of respondents say they would be more engaged and productive at work if their company was actively involved in addressing today’s critical social issues.Business & Finance Articles on Business 2 Community