Future of work: trends that will shape the workplace in 2022
The future of work has become a force most companies will deal with in 2022. Learn about the trends and technologies shaping the future of work, including virtual workplaces, training & upskilling, health & wellbeing, and more.
What is meant by the future of work?
The future of work refers to changes in how, when, and where we work due to societal, economic, and technological changes. It is a topic of much contention, covering multiple issues, including automation, digital technology, and employment conditions.
The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly affected how work is done and how workplaces function. Pre-existing digitization trends have been accelerated, and new paradigms have been introduced, questioning presenteeism and championing remote work’s potential.
Why is the future of work important?
From an organizational perspective, preparing for a changing workplace is imperative to ensure employee satisfaction, business growth, and communities’ positive impact. From an individual perspective, being ready for the future of work is vital to maintain employability and fit with the organization’s demands and ways of working.
How to prepare for the future of work
The future of work depends on each field or industry. Social work is no different. The remote social work job may soon be the new normal. If you want to stay ahead of the curve, here are a few things you can do to prepare:
1) Keep up to date with technology. Don’t be afraid to try out new technologies and features for onboarding, training sessions, or team meetings to stay competitive in the market. Technologies that can help increase employee productivity are key to meet workplace demands. If your line of business deals with a ton of paperwork, using tools that convert PDF to Word for free online or an expense management tool that prevents the use of paper reports can be a helpful tool for your employees.
2) Learn from employees. It is no secret that employees are at the heart of the future of work. They know how to best adapt and decide how, when, and where they work for optimal productivity and business success. In that context, processes of consultation and collaborative decision-making are essential. Ignoring employees’ needs and wants is harmful to organizations, fueling dissatisfaction and ultimately ending up in “The Great Resignation” as a record number of employees leave their jobs.
3) Upskilling is key. To be prepared for the changing landscape of work, organizations should invest in training and upskilling their workforce, particularly to navigate digital transformations and to leverage software to improve their day-to-day practices continuously.
4) Be flexible and agile: given the uncertain and dynamic nature of work, coupled with the broad societal shifts at play, organizational flexibility is critical. Organizations should thus be open to adapting their structures, activities, projects, and processes to stay relevant in their fields for prospective consumers and employees.
Future of remote working
Remote working has gained overwhelming popularity among employees, thanks to the autonomy, flexibility, and freedom it affords.
For organizations, remote working has meant geographical boundaries no longer limit recruitment. It enables businesses to tap into a broader talent pool and embrace a diverse workforce.
The use of digital tools to adapt certain work practices has proved successful during the pandemic. For instance, meetings were instantly adapted to the virtual format with simple and functional tools such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams.
However, despite their wide take-up, these tools are rapidly becoming insufficient for organizations that strive to Go Beyond and run more innovative and collaborative work environments. Subsequently, we highlight some of the key trends likely to shape the future of remote working, pushing organizations to turn to more integrated solutions for their virtual workplaces.
Health and Wellbeing
Organizations are more actively fostering employees’ health and well-being, running targeted programs to cater to remote workforces. These initiatives include offering virtual health sessions or workout classes hosted through video-conferencing solutions. Otherwise, companies are putting together workshops and internal virtual featuring mental health experts who can advise and guide employees to relevant resources.
Additionally, virtual community calls can open up the conversation on mental health struggles among fellow employees, allowing the exchange of ideas and experiences about managing work-life balance.
In a remote working model, communication is crucial to maintain a sense of employee bonding, company culture, and workforce engagement. In that line, digital-first organizations are hosting more frequent virtual CEO town halls, all-hands meetings, and daily huddles. This constant communication gives important transparency about the business, authenticity, and human connection that prevents remote employees from feelings of isolation.
Alongside hosting regular meetings, organizations are setting up permanent sites that centralize all communication and collaboration and are accessible at all times. These virtual workspaces allow team members to access sessions on-demand, brainstorm ideas with colleagues from other departments, or hang out in networking lounges.
Otherwise, more informal gatherings are hosted where employees can open dialogue about how to get things done, improve work processes, and help in specific projects, as typically happens in an in-person environment.
In addition to the highly structured work meetings, organizations are putting more focus on creating informal connections and interactions between their remote employees. That way, internal events can bring to life a company´s culture and its values.
For instance, virtual coffee breaks or fun happy hours can strengthen team bonding and a sense of belonging to the organization’s culture. Virtual team-building activities such as fun quizzes and trivia, live music, or comedians can cheer up the atmosphere and re-energize team spirit.
Why are internal events important for company culture in a remote workplace?
“Internal events are important for the company to get everyone together even when we are working remotely, during the virtual happy hours, we create bonds with the people here when we share our histories and have fun with the team along with the vouchers we provide them to buy a nice drink or some snacks to perhaps create the atmosphere of a night at a bar. We use the lunch day activities such as games and challenges to make people feel not so overwhelmed during the last week of the month.”
Tayná Maria, People and Culture Assistant at InEvent.
Training and Upskilling
Given the evolving nature of work and industries, training and upskilling are increasingly central for organizations to stay relevant.
In that context, virtual workplaces offer organizations the ability to run engaging and practical training sessions by leveraging live quizzes, push messaging, or dedicated Q&A booths. Furthermore, virtual workplaces commonly enable organizations to offer content on-demand and get more in-depth data on employee attendance.
For new starters, onboarding can become more streamlined and provide a more personalized experience and allow navigation between different pre-recorded content.
What’s the importance of training employees in a remote workplace?
“Training remotely can leave employees feeling isolated if required to complete it on their own. Employees should feel supported and encouraged to learn. Offering training helps boost morale among employees. It shows that they’re valued and contributing to a supportive workplace, something that’s incredibly important considering many no longer work from the same location. I believe this increases the sense of community and draws people to be more creative and efficient.
Adding to the fact that working by yourself, might not be so bad after all, because you are in the comfort of your own home”
What’s InEvent’s approach to onboarding?
“Our approach is based on humanized and interactive lessons that allow the trainee to feel in control of their own learning process.”
Luizamaria Zerpa, Learning & Development Analyst at InEvent
Finally, while many organizations can effectively operate on a 100 % remote working basis, the future of work post-pandemic is likely to feature a hybrid model. In this model, employees have the flexibility to work from home three to five days a week and go to the office for specific tasks that require in-person presence.
This workplace design comes with its own set of challenges, as organizations need to cater to both in-person and virtual employees without making any of them feel like second-class citizens. To do this effectively, hybrid workplace solutions that connect employees no matter their status and encourage community building will progressively become more prevalent.
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