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Top 9 Workplace Trends Shaping the Future of Work in 2024

The last two years have disrupted the way organizations work, thanks to the pandemic! With no sign of slowing down anytime soon, organizations have essentially learned to adapt and sail through the challenges. Employers worldwide are taking several initiatives to strengthen their workplace culture. From increased adoption of modern technology, shift to remote and hybrid work models, to improving internal business processes, ensuring employees’ overall well-being, et al, organizations are leaving no stone unturned to survive and thrive in 2022.

If you want to stay up-to-date and drive a positive, flexible, and collaborative culture tailored to the demands of your modern workforce, here are the top 9 workplace trends 2022 that you would not want to miss.

Most companies will adopt a hybrid approach

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic forced millions of employees to work from home (WFH). This overnight shift to WFH gave many employees opportunities to spend time with their families, do away with traveling, and much more. However, it came with setbacks – massive distraction at work, low productivity, no face-to-face interactions, increased working hours, and no work-life balance.

As the infection rate declines, employees and employers alike are feeling the need for office space to collaborate, interact, and work with their peers. And that is how the hybrid work model comes in. The hybrid work model allows employees to work in different spaces – centralized office, coworking space, office headquarters, and even from home. 

A survey conducted by WeWork and Workplace Intelligence on 1,000 C-suite and 1,000 non-C-suite employees revealed that employers acknowledge the benefits of a hybrid work model. However, they would need to reconsider their corporate office space, real estate portfolio, and office space design for switching effectively to the hybrid model.

1 out of 2 Employees would prefer to spend three days a week or fewer in the office, and when they do go in, they want to be there 5 hours a day or less.

The research also clarified that getting work done should be more important for companies than when and how it gets done. It gives employees flexibility and freedom they yearn for, and in return, employers get higher productivity, engagement, and loyalty.

Employees are also willing to come office at least two days a week. They miss all the office perks – from socializing with fellow workers to access to on-site resources, quiet spaces, and no distractions of home. 

If you are planning to reopen your office, consider the needs of your workforce to deliver tailored spaces that meet or exceed their expectations.

Companies that plan to reopen their offices can consider the needs of their workforce and deliver tailored spaces that meet or exceed their employees’ expectations.

“Hybrid work will live on. Employees who enjoy flexible and hybrid work models are less likely to return to full-time employment. Hybrid work would also help HR, IT, facilities management, and the whole organization to better understand employee expectations”. He added that employees have become a customer persona instead of manageable assets: they know what they want, why, when, and how. Ignore them and they will leave!
Edward Mellet
Co-founder, WikiJob

Innate liking for flexible work schedules

Striking a balance between careers and lives outside of work has become a daunting task for most of the employees, especially in the pandemic. They are ditching their 9 to 5 jobs to work for an employer who offers them flexibility at the workplace. 

Workplace flexibility is a concept that helps employees find great work-life balance. Employers who do not worry about their employees’ whereabouts and instead give them freedom in hours worked, where they work, and how they work are likely to see improved employee satisfaction and productivity. Contrarily, organizations who are unwilling to be flexible are likely to lose in the war of talent.

According to a report by the Manpower Group, nearly 40% of global candidates consider schedule flexibility among the top three factors for making their career decisions. The survey was conducted on 14,000 working professionals aged from 18 years to 65 years in 19 influential employment countries across the globe. 

It also states that irrespective of the type of schedule flexibility desired in different countries, candidates seek a wide range of flexible workplace options to ensure better work-life balance. And so you must be aware of your candidates’ preferences for recruiting and retaining the top talent.

While it may sound challenging to offer workplace flexibility and simultaneously maintain workplace culture, here are a few measures that you can take-

  • Focus on output, not hours

Micro-managing employees based on the working hours is not an optimal choice for both managers and employers. Instead, managers should focus on the output their employees provide and find effective ways to measure their contribution to the business’s success.

  • Provide caregiving leave

Offering medical leave to your employees for their family members can reduce their stress and attract highly talented workers. As an employer, you should be aware of your employees’ circumstances and occasional illnesses to support them in every possible way. It would make employees view your company as thoughtful and understanding.

  • Strengthen internal communication

With people working across different locations and time zones, organizations must use social media or channels like Slack or other messaging apps for internal communication. Hassle-free communication will ensure that everyone aligns with the ongoing projects and deliverables deadlines without missing a beat.

  • Offer flexible/condensed workweek

A flexible/condensed work week fits well for nurses and healthcare workers. These frontline workers work all of their hours into three or four days instead of spreading them out across five, and therefore, can work their full-time jobs while also getting more days off. 

Gen Z entering the modern workforce

Have you heard words like Bruh, Lit, and major key before? These are just a few examples of what you will hear from Gen Zers at your workplace! The reworking of the English language is just the beginning of Gen Z’s influence! 

Gen Z is the newest generation entering the workforce. They are technology enthusiasts born and raised in a fast-paced and internet-centric environment. Their unique approach and fresh perspectives around work compel organizations to eliminate traditional tools that consume more time, energy, and effort for completing the work.

Gen Z will make up 30% of the U.S. workforce by 2030.

This urges employers and organizations to change their working practices and adapt to the latest technology advancements. The new tech-savvy generation is full of ideas and passion, provided they get a conducive environment to work in and put their thoughts into action. 

The Gen-Z professionals are not those whom organizations can confine to a 9 to 5 schedule. They are more comfortable with the flexible work culture. If the companies provide Gen Z with the environment they are looking for, Gen Z can align the company with the latest trends in the market.

Here are some trends of Gen Z that best define their behavior and expectations at the workplace-

  • Career aspirations

Gen Z prefers to work in industries they interact with personally or have been their consumers.

  • Career development

Gen Z desires entrepreneurial opportunities and diverse responsibilities besides stable employment.

  • Working Style

Gen Z prefers working individually as opposed to teams. However, they do value independence and physical connections.

  • Core value

Gen Z does not form an opinion of a company based on its products and services only. They also care about its social impact, ethics, and the practices they follow.

  • Education and learning

Gen Z proactively looks out for learning opportunities to enhance their skills. They prefer to learn via online platforms, such as tutorials and courses.

Focus on improving employee experience

Engaging employees has emerged as an inevitable business requirement amidst the global pandemic and the Great Resignation. With more than 4.5 million Americans quitting their jobs in November 2021, employers not only need to focus on retaining their existing employees but attracting the new talent they want. Employee experience (EX) should be at the heart of your organization to set it apart from your competitors.

Research by McKinsey shows that people who report having a positive employee experience are eight times more likely to stay at a company.

As a result, organizations are revisiting their people strategies to keep their employees happy, engaged, and productive. Employers are exploring hybrid and remote work setups to accommodate their employees’ preferences. As employers do this, they will also need to take a personalized approach to ensure better employee visibility. Employers can leverage technology to listen to their employees, take cues from their actions, and uncover insights to drive meaningful employee experiences.

“Companies that want to avoid falling prey to the Great Resignation will become employee-centric. Something's wrong with the way we've been handling the WFH surge, and workers have recognized that. That's why it's time to pause with our technocratic development and ponder on our greatest resources, humans”!
Adam Garcia
Founder, The Stock Dork

Leena AI’s Employee Engagement suite enables the HR leaders to carry out conversational and personalized surveys for each stage of the employee lifecycle (onboarding, promotion, retention, attrition) to understand their employees’ sentiments related to work and professional life. This way, companies can obtain actionable insights, make quick AI-driven decisions to address the issues of unhappy employees, and build a highly-engaged workforce.

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Employee health and safety will continue to be a top concern

Ever since the lockdown has happened, employees’ well-being and mental health have been put to test like never before. With employees stretching their work hours, managing their families, and household chores, it has proven a roller-coaster ride for all! 

Given this, employee health and safety have taken a front seat for those organizations that want to create a safe and healthy work environment for their employees.

Companies have taken multiple initiatives over the past couple of years to address issues like employee burnout and mental health concerns. For instance, some companies offer mental health days while others provide free or subsidized therapies.

However, the KPMG report revealed that 94% of employees are still stressed.

89% of professionals feel they are suffering from burnout, and 81% say they are more burned out now than at the beginning of the pandemic.

So, irrespective of the location that employees work at, their health and safety should be a top priority for organizations worldwide.

Further, to ensure safety from COVID-19 at the workplace, employers would need to deal with the rollout of booster shots and the implementation of new vaccine requirements. You can mandate COVID-19 testing of your employees and track vaccination status through AI-powered tools.

Here are some other measures that you should take to ensure your employees’ health and safety-

  • Provide a holistic solution

The shift to the WFH setup brought forth different resource requirements of employees to adapt to the changing working styles. Employers should provide handy tools and resources to employees to simplify their journey, including mental health, fitness, and nutrition.

  • Incorporating well-being as part of the culture

Employers should consider embedding well-being into their culture to increase the productivity of their workforce, boost morale, and ensure happiness. 

Upskilling is taking the front row 

The COVID-19 has accelerated the digital transformation of companies. Organizations have realized that data-driven decisions are crucial for their success today and tomorrow. They are driving this transformation with investments in artificial intelligence (AI), analytics, automation, and digitalization, to open the door for new opportunities, growth, and innovation and create new challenges for employers. Even before the pandemic, organizations in every industry were grappling with finding the people with desired skillsets needed to help them succeed in a digitized, automated, AI-driven world.

Upskilling and reskilling is the top priority for L&D pros globally.

It is substantial for companies and individuals to embrace upskilling initiatives. Upskilling would enable companies to build a future-ready workforce, while for individuals, it is a way to keep their skills relevant and stay future-ready themselves. Making deliberate, significant investments in learning will ensure that organizations and employees alike have the knowledge, capabilities, and skills to work effectively in fast-paced digitalized, and automated work environments. 

“There would be a renewed focus on on-job training in the coming year. Many companies suffered due to the global talent shortage in 2021. Organizations are beginning to realize that they would have to make the best of the workforce that's available to them. So, they would heavily invest in upskilling their employees and assist the organization in staying ahead of the competition”.
Elice Max
Co-Owner and Marketing Director, EMUCoupon

Upskilling is a powerful strategy and requires an appealing plan for successful execution. It is a solution that you can tailor for individuals, companies, and governments. Here are the six steps you can follow sequentially for successful upskilling-

  • Analyze and define upskilling initiative

Define the upskilling strategy for an individual/organization. Preparatory steps are critical to the success of any upskilling initiative.

  • Design corporate workforce skills plan

Translate technology and digital investment plans into the human capital development plan.

  • Perform individual assessment and advice

Assess employees, identify skills and achievements, and motivation.

  • Match jobs and engage workers

Match employees’ existing skills, motivation, profile alignment to future jobs.

  • Select training and providers

Ensure effective and streamlined training programs to upskill workers.

  • Monitor, evaluate, and improve policy

Ensure continuous improvement and communicate successes.

AI in HR management and recruitment

Companies have turned towards automation technologies for addressing the labor shortage issues in the pandemic. Technology like Artificial Intelligence (AI) has already automated the recruitment and hiring process. AI accelerates the whole process by screening and filtering candidates based on the profile requirements, their skill sets, and competencies.

AI also helps identify the skill gap that an employee needs to bridge to enhance their skills and become future-ready. It then accordingly suggests the training.

Another use-case of AI is employee self-service. Employees have adopted remote and hybrid work models in the pandemic. So, whenever employees want to quickly access the policies, or their documents, AI-powered tools can provide such information faster and more effectively. Moreover, AI-driven tools can enhance employee engagement, reduce HR’s workload, and benefit the entire organization.

Leena AI’s HR Service Delivery Suite is the new-age juggernaut in the HR ecosystem. It enables HRs to focus on other productive and high-priority tasks while letting employees get answers to their queries without breaking a sweat.

HR Service Delivery Suite is an AI-powered tool that establishes a “human” connect with your employees to know about their pulse. Organizations can provide hassle-free, highly engaging, personalized, and value-driven experiences to the employees throughout their life cycles to gain their obstinate loyalty at all times. 

If you want to automate your HR processes and improve the organization’s efficiency, book your 1:1 demo today!

C-suite will take ownership of sustainability issues

In 2022, more and more companies are waking up to the fact that science alone can not help them succeed. Meaningful transformation is required to address the environmental, societal, and governance issues amplified by COVID-19. 

Board members have started seeing ESG issues as a business risk. Consumers, employees, especially Gen Z & millennials, are increasingly influenced by how companies respond to critical ESG issues like climate change, gender pay equity, and diversity. Gen Z and millennials prefer to work with companies that uphold similar values and prioritize social responsibility.

71% of professionals say they would consider taking a pay cut to work at a company that aligns more with their values 

Further, several companies plan to link their executive pay with ESG metrics. Apple has already added an ESG bonus modifier to its cash incentive program. Chipotle executives’ incentives will depend on achieving the company’s diversity and environmental goals.

32% of companies are planning to introduce ESG measures to annual incentive programs of executives in the next 12 months.

As a result, it is no longer ‘why’ but ‘how companies would implement ESG policies.

Initiatives for diversity and inclusion

In 2020, the convergence of global pandemic and racially incited protests amplified the stark need for introducing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) strategies at the heart of what organizations do.

Mckinsey’s report, Diversity wins: How inclusion matters’, shows that gender and ethnic diversity, inclusion, and performance go hand in hand. It reveals that the companies who have taken the DEI initiatives over the past five years are likely to out-earn their industry peers. While those who have not yet will bear the penalties.

HR leaders are taking the initiative to drive meaningful change in their organizations by updating and revamping their DE&I initiatives to let employees feel appreciated and valued regardless of their diversities. 

Additionally, here are some other measures that you can take to include DEI at your workplace-

  • Embed accountability 

Accountability is the key to ensuring that your DEI initiatives do not get sidelined when priorities change or deadlines come closer. It is not the responsibility of one person or one group, say your DE&I leader and their team. Business goals must be tied back to DE&I, and senior management feedback must encapsulate it.

  • Bring a systemic change

The transformation of organizations does not happen through personal actions. Leaders should review, amend, or redo all the processes and policies to ensure everyone’s success in mind.

  • Measure inclusion and diversity 

Use diversity demographic representation to measure your success on DEI initiatives. It would primarily focus on initiatives around talent acquisition and promotion processes. Both are important and should be part of the discussion around inclusion and equity. 

Employees are your intangible assets

Agree or not, employees have more choices than ever today when it comes to employment options. As a result, organizations need to get smarter with evolving technologies and tools and streamline their processes to create an ideal work environment.

These 2022 workplace trends will shape the future of work. And if executed properly, it will help companies like yours create a sustainable, employee-centric workplace that strikes a balance between business objectives and employees’ holistic wellbeing.

Explore how Leena AI can help you improve employee experience at your workplace.

Book a 1:1 demo NOW!
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Employee engagementHR Service Delivery

Urvashi Melwani

Urvashi is an engineer-turned-writer! Her knack for attention-to-details and yet keeping things simple gives her an edge to create compelling stories for her readers. When she is not busy writing, you can find her in a corner reading novels or on the badminton court during weekends.

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