Thanks to major global challenges and advances in technology, the way organizations and workers operate is changing faster than ever before. Technology now offers new methods of working and continues to redefine our interaction with our workplaces. These business trends will significantly impact the 2022 work culture and beyond.
Hybrid Work and Flexible Workplaces
While technological advancements have gradually contributed to a rise in remote and hybrid work over the last decade, the pandemic and climate crises have substantially accelerated this trend. Many employees are hesitant to return to full-time work after exploring alternative ways of working.
According to IWG Research, Post-COVID-19, 74% of American workers who can telecommute would prefer to spend at least one day in an office setting, with 30% preferring to work from a location outside home 2 – 3 days each week. The pandemic also highlighted the financial benefits of remote and hybrid work. Increased productivity demonstrated that employees could be trusted to work efficiently from home.
Organizations are adopting flexible workspaces with options such as hot-desking. Hot-desking is an organizational workspace model where different people use workstations at distinct intervals on an ad hoc basis. Hot-desking maximizes space efficiency and reduces real estate risk by minimizing redundant office space. The social aspect of hot-desking is touted to stimulate cross-disciplinary collaboration, while flexibility is generally linked to an increase in employee ingenuity.
- Hot desks typically have their own power outlets and Internet access.
- There are specialized call-taking locations in these shared working spaces away from the desk.
- In private office environments such as sales companies, a fixed phone is likely attached to the desk for different workers to use as needed.
These flexible workstations must be securely and efficiently connected to data, power and IP phone cabling. The Gridd® Raised Floor System, the revolutionary patented flagship product from FreeAxez, allows facilities teams to distribute wires and cables beneath a low-profile, all-steel framework that is accessible and adaptable. This system adapts as the technology and spatial needs evolve. It can easily reconfigure and be restacked, as the workplace or building reconfigures.
AI Augmented Workforce Solutions
According to the World Economic Forum, developments in Artificial Intelligence (AI) will create up to 97 million employment prospects by 2025. People in many existing jobs, on the other hand, will see their positions change as AI technology is expected to augment their abilities.
AI will start to replace humans in repetitive tasks that don’t need a human touch. Lawyers, for instance, will employ technology to cut down the time they spend examining case histories to uncover precedents.
Doctors will use computer vision to evaluate medical records and scans to diagnose patients.
In the 2022 work culture, marketers will have access to an ever-expanding set of tools to profile audiences and run marketing campaigns. Workers in industrial professions will have access to tools that allow them to grasp better how systems function and identify where errors are most likely to occur or have occurred.
One example of enhanced technologies making a difference in the commercial building space is the mobile device application: Gridd® Mobile. A companion solution to Gridd, it provides augmented reality (AR), tech support, as-built blueprints, how-to videos, original site photographs, and product information. Using AR, this innovation shows current power and data cabling distribution through the floor cover, through the cable management system, all without the need to open an access panel.
Gridd Mobile removes guesswork for future facility managers and IT teams. Data and power infrastructure are precisely identified.
Socially Responsible Investment
SRI (socially responsible or ethical investing) seeks to provide funding for products and companies that provide both a financial and social or environmental good that leads to positive change. One way this change is being measured is through ESG.
Investopedia defines ESG as follows:
Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria are a set of standards for a company’s operations that socially conscious investors use to screen potential investments. Environmental criteria consider how a company performs as a steward of nature. Social criteria examine how it manages relationships with employees, suppliers, customers, and the communities where it operates. Governance deals with a company’s leadership, executive pay, audits, internal controls, and shareholder rights.
As public awareness of the need for circular strategies has grown in recent years. Socially responsible investing has shifted to corporations that have a beneficial impact on the environment through lowering emissions or investing in renewable or clean energy sources. In a joint poll conducted by Investopedia and Treehugger, nearly 60% of respondents reported increased interest in ESG investing, and 19% reported integrating ESG principles into their portfolios. ESG investing will now be a prevalent part of the 2022 work culture.
The social and political climate of the moment tends to be mirrored in socially responsible investing. It will be essential to factor in this risk because if an investment is hinged on a social value, it may fail if the value loses touch. As a result, asset managers commonly evaluate socially responsible investing through the perspective of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors. This method examines the firm’s management policies to determine whether they are geared towards sustainability and community improvement. There are indications that focusing on this technique can boost returns. However, there is no proof that investing solely in social values can result in success.
Staffing For Resilience
Before the pandemic, the priority was on hiring staff who could help build efficient enterprises. The focus has since switched decisively towards resilience. While built-in redundancies or skill overlaps were once considered inefficient, they are now considered a prudent precaution.
Apart from ensuring a healthy workforce, you now have to set up more versatile processes with built-in fail-safe measures to shield yourself when a crisis hits. As we approach 2022, these practices will undoubtedly play a larger role in workers’ day-to-day lives.
More Focus on Skills
To build an efficient workforce post-pandemic, businesses will have to focus less on roles and more on skills. This will be important since skills address pertinent business needs and the competencies required to handle them. Roles, however, explain how individual employees interact with the broader organizational structure or hierarchy. By concentrating on skills, firms will more efficiently overcome challenges, resolve core business questions and promote innovation.
Focusing on building skills rather than further developing the ability to perform their task puts workers in a better position to take advantage of new career prospects. This transition to skills is expected to be a major trend for companies and employees in 2022.
The business landscape will continue to evolve as we recover from the pandemic and start to build resilience for future crises and adapt to climate change. To remain relevant, businesses will have to continually scan for new opportunities and adjust to the 2022 work culture.