Digital Workplace Trends for 2022

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Digital Workplace Trends for 2022- Kiran Kumar
The pandemic has accelerated many positive trends — from the emergence of the hybrid model to a renewed focus on employee voice, technology investments, well-being, and benefits.

In 2022, the pandemic is very much still a fact of life for many of us. COVID-19 will continue to play a significant role in shaping the workplace. The pandemic has accelerated many positive trends — from the emergence of the hybrid model to a renewed focus on employee voice, technology investments, well-being, and benefits. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact global economic growth.

For 2022, Goldman Sachs has downgraded its forecast for annual U.S. GDP growth to 4% from a prior estimate of 4.4%. Meanwhile, regional growth in Europe and Central Asia is forecast to moderate to 3.4% in 2022, and the World Bank notes that the outlook remains highly uncertain.  I foresee the below trends in 2022

Hybrid or Remote-First approach

Many companies had hoped to transition to a hybrid model in 2021, but the emergence of the COVID-19 Delta variant caused most of them to put their office re-opening plans on hold. With COVID – 19 Omicron variant, most of the companies are asking employees to work remotely however the Omicron wave is expected to be short-termed.

When it comes to where we work, there will continue to be three main models – centralized workplaces, decentralized remote organizations, and the hybrid “best of both worlds” approach. What’s likely to change in 2022 is that it’s more likely that we, as employees, will have the choice rather than being forced to align with whatever model your organization has chosen out of necessity.

Organizations are clearly undergoing a change in their relationship with the idea of a centralized workplace. At the height of the pandemic in 2020, 69% of large companies expected an overall decrease in the amount of office space they would be using, according to research by KPMG.  

A report recently commissioned by video messaging platform Loom found that 90% of employees surveyed – including workers and managers – are happier with the increased freedom they now have to work from home, suggesting that this is likely to be a trend that is here to stay as we move into 2022.

AI-Augmented Workforce

AI and automation will lead to the creation of 97 million new jobs by 2025 as per the World Economic Forum. People working in existing jobs will also find their roles changing, as they are increasingly expected to augment their own abilities with AI technology.

Actually, AI is primarily be used to automate repetitive elements of their day-to-day roles and allow employees to focus on areas that require a more human touch like creativity, imagination, high-level strategy, or emotional intelligence, for example.

Some examples include lawyers who will use technology that cuts down the amount of time spent reviewing case histories in order to find precedents and doctors who will have computer vision capabilities to help them analyze medical records and scans to help them diagnose illness in patients.

In retail, augmented analytics helps store managers with inventory planning and logistics and helps sales assistants predict what individual shoppers will be looking for when they walk through the door.

Focus On Skills and Not On Roles

“To build the workforce you’ll need post-pandemic, focus less on roles – which group unrelated skills – than on the skills needed to drive the organization’s competitive advantage and the workflows that fuel this advantage.”- Gartner

Skills are critical and by focusing on skills, businesses address the fact that solving problems and answering their core business questions is the key to driving innovation and success within information-age enterprises.

From the worker’s point of view, focusing on developing their skills, rather than further developing their abilities to carry out their role, leaves them better positioned to capitalize on new career opportunities.

Sharp Focus to Attract and Retain Talent amidst the “Great Resignation”

15 million people have left their jobs since April 2021 and this is called the “great resignation”. The data says that the quit rate will continue to accelerate in 2022, and 56% of workplace professionals say they expect employee turnover to increase next year, therefore the top concern now for organizations is labor availability.

Companies like Amazon, Costco, and Walmart have increased their salaries in a bid to attract workers. Others are building out their benefits packages and offering perks like stock options or financial wellness incentives. And many businesses are focusing on upskilling or retraining their existing workforce.

But for most people, perks, and pay won’t be enough. New research from Oracle finds that 88% of workers feel the meaning of “success” has changed, and they’re now prioritizing work-life balance, mental health, and having a meaningful job over a steady paycheck.

That’s why in 2022, people will no longer tolerate companies that treat them poorly, and they’ll hold employers to a higher standard than ever before. Employers have no choice but to step up to the plate if they want to attract and retain talent amidst an employee-driven market.

Investments in Employee Monitoring, Productivity, and Behavioral Analytics

Employers are increasingly investing in technology designed to monitor and track the behavior of their employees in order to drive productivity efficiency. Platforms such as Aware that allow businesses to monitor behavior across email and tools such as Slack in order to measure productivity.

This can be slightly controversial in my opinion, that would clearly be a recipe for disaster. However, ostensibly at least, the idea is to use them to gain broad oversights into workforce behavior rather than focus on individuals’ activity and use them as tools for enforcing discipline.

No matter what the outcome is but this kind of technology will play an increasingly large role in the workplace during 2022.

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