A lot has been said about the epochal changes in modern workplace trends over the past two years. These changes are likely to continue into 2022 and beyond, as the pandemic shows no signs of abatement just yet. It’s fair to say that we have all had to learn to adapt to the new patterns of behavior and expectations as a result.
Of course, no matter how much you write about the widespread departure from in-office work and centralized jobs, there remain many professions where this isn’t an option. While hybrid work is still a leading change, other workplace trends sparked by technological development and modern circumstances will continue to gain momentum.
In this article, we’re sharing some modern workplace trends in 2022 so you don’t miss out on any great opportunities or tips.
A few workplace definitions
A workplace can be set anywhere – be that in the midst of nature, an office, or even remotely while traveling. The most productive jobs have an efficient and positive environment where workers have the necessary tools to succeed regardless of the situation. That means that the core of a workplace is about creating a productive environment for employees and business leaders.
Current workplace trends vary across industries, encompassing both field and office sites. Jobs can be mobile, and some people may work in different places on different days. In addition, the growth of technology has led to the emergence of a new type of workplace – virtual, which allows people to work remotely.
Hybrid or remote working
Hybrid and remote working remain the biggest workplace trends. Employers have finally realized the benefits of working from anywhere, including access to a global talent pool without the hassle of relocation. The flexibility provided to employees by remote working directly affects productivity and job satisfaction, which feeds into reducing workplace challenges.
Great Place to Work recently conducted a two-year study on remote work. They surveyed 715 companies, representing more than 3 million US employees working from home.
The study showed that:
- People are willing to give more to get the job done.
- People quickly adapt to the changes required for their company’s success.
Source: McKinsey Global Institute analysis
This, however, doesn’t’ work for everyone, which means that hybrid work still has an opportunity to shine. Hybrid work employees have different needs and expectations regarding others compared to entirely remote workers.
According to the 2022 Global Culture Study by O.C. Tanner Institute, there are plenty of benefits for those who have chosen hybrid work:
- 68% of employees said the career development program is important for them.
- 64% of respondents prefer flexible workspace in the office.
- 65% of employees have clear expectations for availability during remote work.
- 58% of respondents prefer opportunities for personal communication with colleagues.
Source: O.C. Tanner Institute
A strong digital mindset for business continuity
Some of the largest and successful companies, such as Alphabet, Apple, and Microsoft, are expanding their data science divisions. This is going hand-in-hand with the accelerated deployment of technologies such as AI and ML into the modern workplace.
AI and Machine Learning
Technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) have become leading workplace trends. These technologies are making it easier for recruiters to optimize the hiring process, including pre-selection and adaptation. In addition, when evaluating candidates, AI and ML can help nowadays employers address various common recruitment shortcomings, such as subconscious bias among recruiters.
These technologies can also be used to increase employee productivity by automating repetitive tasks, which will allow workers to focus on more creative and valuable work. It also gives employees more opportunities to improve their skills. In a recent PwC survey, 72% of business leaders said that AI could allow employees to focus on meaningful work, while 34% said AI could help free up time for more meaningful and valuable work.
Organizations are sitting on a data gold mine. But data without understanding, interpretation, and analysis becomes meaningless. Businesses need the proper structure, model, and experience to ensure that this data can be meaningful – so that when the time comes, they can make fully realized data-driven decisions. HR professionals in particular can use analytics to achieve better business results and improve workforce management.
HR professionals can create more efficient systems, improve the customer experience, and create a quantitative impact on profits using HR analytics.
The growth of SaaS and cost-effective HR tools and technologies have already helped HR professionals assess KPIs and employee performance. For example, with the correct data, HR professionals can learn more about strategic HR metrics such as employee profits, job flow, diversity of hiring, and create a quantitative impact on organizations.
Asynchronous communication as a workplace trend
The number of video conferencing has grown exponentially over the past couple of years. Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom alone support over 500 million calls a day.
Synchronous collaboration (for example, live interaction via Zoom or phone calls) isn’t always as effective as asynchronous collaboration (when there is a delay between receiving information and replying, such as email, voicemail, or chat).
Asynchronous collaboration eliminates distractions, reduces waste of time, helps speed up decision-making, and can support business communication on the spot.
Asynchronous collaboration is a 2022 workplace trend because it can lead to significant productivity increases – with the right technology of course. For example, instead of planning work around video meetings, it would be more efficient (at least in theory) to allow workers to set their own daily schedules. That way, by focusing on a single task at a time, employees gain the flexibility to do more work and make the best-fit business decisions for their current situation.
Of course, this does mean that companies will have to rethink the structure of meetings (for example, by making meetings focused on action and discussion instead of viewing slides), and make knowledge more accessible any time of the day, anywhere.
Examples of async tools
Asynchronous tools can still provide visual, audio, and textual collaboration. Below, we’ve compiled a table with the most usable asynchronous services to make your workplace more suitable for you.
The emphasis on work-life balance
Working late into the night or even into the weekend, just to earn more, is never an advantage. Employees are now looking for a better work-life balance and benefits that positively affect their well-being. This is one of the big modern workplace trends. After all, 69% of all employees have reported that they have experienced burnout, according to a CNBC survey.
Keeping employees happy and satisfied leads to work-life balance and boosts overall prosperity. For example, you won’t be surprised to find modern jobs offering fitness centers, cafeterias, childcare, and medical care. According to one study, 70% of employees believe that access to natural light improves their performance, and 78% say that it improves their well-being.
The core of these workplace trends in work-life balance include:
- Long-term job security and an attractive salary with a flexible work schedule.
- Opportunities to contribute to shared values.
- More time for socialization with other employees.
Businesses need to create a workplace environment that improves employee well-being to improve overall business performance.
Examples of async tools
Investing in well-being pays off. For example, NextJump encourages proper breaks as an effective way to restore energy. They also offer healthy snacks. Employees can exercise and are encouraged to participate for at least 20 minutes twice a week in psychological and emotional coaching programs.
This workplace trend saw NextJump annual sales quadruple from 30% to 120% — and the only variable was investing in people.
The development of the health culture. For example, Johnson & Johnson focused on “programs” that inform workers about their physical environment and daily activities. As a result, the theme of well-being is evident throughout the company, from tips on healthy eating in canteens to fitness centers that hold classes at lunchtime.
Take care of your mental health. For example, Buffer provides access to online therapists for their entire remote workforce, as well as a complimentary subscription to the Joyable and MyWellness apps. In addition, employees use Slack to share mental health resources.
Diversity, equality, and inclusion
Diversity, equality, and inclusion are essential workplace trends in the modern world. In this case, DEI refers to a tolerant and productive work environment that encourages everyone to do their best. Hiring diverse workforce and creating an inclusive environment where everyone can use their various skills, experiences, and perspectives to the fullest isn’t just a trend, but a practical necessity for today’s work environment.
Diversity refers to the circle of people in your workforce. For example, a diverse workforce would include people of all ages, religions, ethnicities, disabilities, and genders.
A team with various views and a variety of opinions develops much better than in a homogenous environment.
Imagine services or apps made for only one category of people, when the service should apply to everyone. For example, fitness trainers have created many apps essentially for fitness trainers. However, when this industry began to develop, companies realized that it’s necessary to focus on individuality and provide training for each person according to their needs. And at work, teams that can consider issues from different points of view are more able to innovate and develop non-standard solutions.
Of course, it’s more comfortable working in the same cultural circle because of the instant familiarity with the environment. However, in a diverse team, you have more opportunities for development. While it may take a little getting used to, the results are generally much better.
When hiring people, it’s essential to look not only at their background but also their professional qualities and experience. For example, many Scandinavian companies don’t specify gender, age, or a photo in their CVs. Instead, companies are incentivized to choose specialists purely by their skills.
Why is that?
Well, it’s because some professionals often face bias or stereotypes: for example, women cannot be good developers or run a company. However, according to a study by consulting firm McKinsey, companies with female representation are 50% more likely successful than their peers. As a result, bridging the gender gap can increase GDP by about 35%.
Of course, companies are commercial structures, and the bottom line is always a matter of concern. But socially responsible companies often receive greater support from consumers. Companies that care about the environment, participate in social projects, and adhere to equality are often and increasingly more successful.
Inclusiveness embraces everyone. It’s about making the person who just came to your team feel like they’re a part of it. For example, imagine that a new hire has joined your team, but your team uses a lot of specific jargon or even situational slang to communicate. Will the new hire be able to quickly adapt to your corporate culture? Of course not! Therefore, it’s essential to include these sorts of things in the onboarding process.
Being open to the ideas and suggestions of new hires is also a key part of inclusiveness. Making new employees feel welcome and valued is a great way to foster inclusiveness in your organization.
Summarizing all the above, the fundamental workplace trends in 2022 are:
- The remote or hybrid working format will remain dominant. Over the past two years, these radical new working styles have proven their effectiveness.
- Innovative technologies have finally reached the sphere of office productivity, allowing special software based on AI and ML technologies to optimize work and management, thus cementing their status as workplace trends for the upcoming year
- The development of Internet technologies has led to the emergence of many all-in-one tools which allow teams to work on projects both synchronously and asynchronously.
- To ensure a productive long-term relationship with employees, it’s necessary to care for their well-being while promoting DEI initiatives. Well-thought-out onboarding processes, as well as an acquaintance with the culture and structure of the team will help you build a good working relationship, so don’t be afraid to experiment and collaborate with experts worldwide.