Over the past two years, our workplaces have changed dramatically. Digitalization, the need for an employee-friendly environment, and the Covid-19 pandemic forced companies to spend great resources to continue working effectively.
Nowadays, we are still witnessing workplace adjustment to the needs of an ever-evolving society. In 2022 human resources specialists should find a balance between business goals and employees’ modern requirements. Knowing modern workplace trends will help you foresee your company opportunities and adjust smoothly to changes.
What are workplace trends?
Let’s first take an aside and understand what ‘workplace trends‘ mean so you can use this article wisely. Workplace trends don’t mean inevitable changes in the work environment. Workplace trends are expected changes that affect business and will continue to increase.
Workplace predictions aim to help professionals figure out potential opportunities and challenges. Although predictions are data-driven, still there’s no need for urgent implementation of all the ideas. The knowledge of modern workplace trends helps survive changes and carve more value into the business. Use critical thinking when choosing new directions in workplace upgrades in your company.
Key drivers of the future workplace
Modern leaders understand that changes are constant and that being flexible and change-prepared are essential components to success. It’s to be said, changes always have their reasons. Let’s see what are those reasons for the workplace in 2022.
Generation Z entering the workforce
When a new generation enters the workforce, it sets new workplace trends. We’ve seen how Baby Boomers and Millennials raised demands on medical benefits and work-life balance at the workplace.
Now, it’s time for Gen Z to say a word. According to Oxford Economics, Gen Z (or Zoomers) will make up almost 30% of the workforce by 2030. Born between 1997 and 2012, these young people are considered the first ‘digital natives’ and this influences their workplace demands. Other common characteristics of Zoomers include:
- financially oriented;
- reasonable consumers;
- racially diverse;
- independent; and
- seek human interaction.
Based on the research, Gen Z will expect the following perks and benefits in the workplace:
- Advanced digital tools for collaboration and management at the workplace are a must.
- Opportunities to influence their salary will motivate them to learn. LinkedIn Learning study reports that 59% of Zoomers would learn more to increase their income.
- Work-life balance and personal well-being stay important for Gen Z.
The liking for flexible work schedules
Although most modern companies still believe in a 9-to-5 work schedule, this working paradigm starts to change. Modern employees have become busier with their personal lives and the workplace globalized. Covid-19 pandemic also added up to the liking of remote work and flexible schedules.
Statistics reinforce the opinion that flexible working hours are long overdue. FlexJobs’ Annual Survey conducted in 2021 reported that 97% of respondents prefer one or another type of remote work (full-time or hybrid). The ability to change the schedule reduces stress at work and improves productivity. Flexible working hours remain a key tool to improve employees’ well-being.
World giants including LG Electronics, Salesforce, and eBay have already implemented flexible work arrangements policies to retain talent. More and more companies started considering a 4-day working week to let their employees pursue their interests.
The rise of the Gig Economy
Gig economy also adds up to workplace trends. The gig workforce (self-employed or freelancers) is growing rapidly. Statistics say that the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in a 33% increase in gig workers. Many talented and independent workers refuse working office hours and offer their services online and remotely.
The gig economy provides the perks modern employees seek. It allows people to choose companies and projects of their liking, work from anywhere and adjust their work schedule considering their personal needs.
The benefits companies may receive from working with gig workforce include:
- acquire a wide range of expertise;
- agility in scaling their workforce;
- save costs on providing healthcare and other benefits;
- easily hire season workers; and
- direct the forces of full-time workers to high-value tasks.
5 modern workplace trends you should know in 2022
So, what changes should HR specialists expect? Here’s a list of the five modern workplace trends that will prevail in 2022 and the years ahead.
Hybrid work models
The hybrid model starts our list of current workplace trends. Although the hybrid model isn’t a novelty, since 2019 it’s become more widespread and will continue to expand on the companies.
Hybrid workplace arrangements usually provide employees with both remote work opportunities and the ability to come to the office. The key point here is that employees autonomously decide where they can do their best work. On the one hand, they can work from the comfort of their homes. On the other hand, they also benefit from networking and social communication in the office. Such flexibility suits both modern employers and job-seekers. The first ones get the same quality of work but the job satisfaction increases, the second ones get more work-life balance.
Hybrid work models took root during the pandemic and will continue to conquer the workplace as companies need to stay in demand on the marketplace. A company’s top managers must balance work models that best suit their company’s goals and the requirements of the modern workforce.
Centralized and asynchronous communication
Distributed teams, as their number and size increase, will require centralized communication more than ever. Spending time searching for the required information is too much a luxury for a modern, always-busy workforce. All work-related documentation and content should be easily accessible. Besides, leadership should implement a full set of digital communication tools connected in one solution to provide seamless communication and reduce communication overload.
Asynchronous communication (emails, messaging, and voicemails) will replace video and phone calls. Allowing employees to respond to certain messages without rushing will help them focus on their current tasks and increase their work rate. HRforecast suggests that building the schedule around video meetings doesn’t benefit productivity. It would be best if employees could manage necessary communication considering their productivity.
The modern workforce seeks opportunities to promote their career and improve their skills. Prior workplace benefits such as free lunches, coffee breaks, or sports activities took a back seat.
Statistics say 94% of employees would work at the company longer if they had professional development opportunities.
Upskilling investments bring companies the following benefits:
- increased workforce retention;
- dedicated high-performance teams;
- raised employee engagement; and
- increased top talent pool.
Nowadays diversity, equality, and inclusion (DEI) programs and policies aren’t just a buzzword. Many modern companies support global initiatives and consider strategies that provide DEI at the workplace. In 2020 in response to racial injustice protests, the number of published DEI-related job roles increased. It’s good that the business world is responding to the needs of society because prioritizing equality benefits both sides. The benefits of supporting DEI include but aren’t limited to:
- increase in financial returns;
- increased creativity; and
- better company image.
Work-life balance and employees well-being
For the last decade, work-life balance moved to the top of the workplace trends list and it’ll continue to hold the position.
Ten years ago employees needed more free time to support work-life balance. The modern workforce, however, seeks a clearer separation between work and home. Working from home is great, but not everyone can organize a quiet and comfortable work environment on their premises. Stress and distraction at home can lead to burnout and decrease productivity and employee satisfaction. It’s estimated that over 80% of employees invest in telemedicine and mental health in 2021. It seems top managers should monitor and offer wellbeing programs to help their workers live a balanced life.
We’ll see more implemented solutions allowing workers to choose their workplace and schedule soon. A hybrid work model, co-workings, flexible hours are great tools to provide work-life balance for the modern workforce.
HR Future Staff Writer