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Line managers playing a crucial role in the battle for talent? A focus on sustainable behaviour? The emerging necessity for hybrid working for all organisations? These are just a few of the things highlighted as the potential workplace drivers in 2022. Following the mass uncertainty around the workplace in 2021, organisations now need to look to new ways of thinking in order to thrive in the new work landscape.
If 2020 was the year of workplace disruption, 2021 was the year of continuous change. I think 2022 will be the pivotal year in which organisations will either make their version of the ‘new normal’ work, or crumble under the challenges of the changes of the past two years.
In this 2-part post series, I will outline my predictions for what 2022 holds for the world of work. I hope it helps you to re-evaluate the changes of the past 18 months and make lasting changes for the better.
The Challenges of Hybrid Working Will Be at the Forefront of Business Leaders’ Minds
The business case for hybrid and flexible work structures has been made clear over the past 18 months. In September the BBC reported that flexible working boosts career progression for women. Last month the Flexonomics report found that Flexible working currently contributes £37bn to the UK economy and a 50% increase in flexible working could unlock £55bn in benefits to the economy. Many businesses have tried to return to the pre-pandemic model but Omicron and the arrival of Plan B underlines the need for more operational flexibility.
But that doesn’t mean that hybrid working isn’t without its challenges. The October results of the Worldcom Confidence Index, highlighted that flexible working had the biggest fall in business leader confidence since September, out of all topics. In 2022, the challenges will become more apparent as employees enter the third year as a dispersed workforce.
Business leaders will face a range of challenges. These include: misalignment between office based and remote employees; decreased collaboration between teams; an employee engagement divide between office based and remote employees; feelings of inequality associated with different working conditions for different teams; burnout and poor mental health.
Sustainable Behaviour Will Be More Important Than Ever
The same Worldcom report also found that ESG, sustainability and reducing plastics was the fifth most talked about topic by business leaders across the globe. In 2022, it will no longer be enough for organisations to make vague or vanilla sustainability commitments. Organisations will need to outline their short, medium and long term sustainability strategy and the tangible steps they will be taking to achieve them.
One of the key messages from COP26 is that individual action can make a big difference. But many employees may be feeling helpless and overwhelmed by the realities of the climate crisis and uncertain about how they can contribute. Smart companies will help their employees to feel that small changes in the way they behave at work can have a big collective contribution. I believe this will see real benefits in terms of the mental wellbeing that comes with people feeling more in control, and feeling like they are making a positive contribution to the quality of life experienced by future generations. Organisations that do not support employees in making these changes will become much more at risk from the ‘Great Resignation’.
Read the full blog post here.
Be sure to check out Inspiring Workplaces other content on Productivity and Performance.
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