Work Trends
The world went through a workplace disruption and transformation in the last two years. After the vaccines started being rolled out in 2021, many people assumed that the worst was over, and that it would only be a matter of time now before things would return to their pre-pandemic routine – but that was not to be.

New Covid variants, supply chain disasters, en masse resignations, and an all-out search for talent made 2021 as unpredictable as 2020.

The same level of volatility can be expected in 2022. Hybrid workplaces and the remote working system will continue to be preferred by the majority of knowledge-based workforce. Frontline workers in retail, healthcare, etc., will be more inclined toward quitting if met with unreasonable working standards.

At the same time, the past two years have also given us a lot of work-related insights as well. The situation is still evolving and far from normal, but now we have enough data to forecast the trends in work for a pandemic-stricken world.

Here are some of the work trends that will come to shape 2022:

Fairness and Equity

Fairness and equity are not some big words thrown randomly into a company mission statement anymore – they have taken center stage in the operations of every business.

Companies will have to analytically deal with issues like fairness, equity, and diversity to answer the rising concerns of the employees.

Analytical models based on AI and data science techniques will play a vital role in this regard. Data analytics has taken on newer meaning after the events of 2020, and forecasting then in 2020 Data Analytics and Beyond, there were speculations as to how work was going to reorient, which are increasingly being validated two years later.

Businesses that will be able to deal with the following armed with a defined strategy will find themselves sailing smoothly through a disruptive 2022:

Flexibility: Which employees will be given the convenience of a hybrid or a remote work model, and why? Will there be any incentives in place for workers who will not be allowed to work from home?

Diversity: What is the company policy on diversity? How many women and people of color are on board – and how many of them hold managerial positions?

Fairness: As all things work and education got confined to the home setting, in 2020, women bore the maximum brunt of the pandemic. 38% of women who left their job or were let go are still unemployed. Will the company provide any ease to working women who also have to deal with other responsibilities like child-care at home - What about single parents?

These are valid concerns that emerged out of the workplace disruption and affected a great deal of the workforce. Establishments that do not cater to these concerns will find themselves at the bottom of the barrel.

Virtual Culture – Hybrid, Remote or Centralized Workplaces?

In the first quarter of 2020, terms like hybrid or remote work were used almost entirely in the context of freelancers – but a lot has changed since then.

Almost 70% of the full-time workforce is working from home due to the pandemic. Even after the pandemic, this situation is not going to change much.

The majority of the employees like working from the comfort of their homes – not only does it save them commute expenses, it also gives them a chance to be closer to their families, and feel physically and mentally safe, cooped inside and away from the looming Covid threat outside.

59% of the employees are more likely to choose an employer who allows remote work over an employer who doesn’t. That is a considerable figure for any business that does not want to lose a major portion of their talent pool.

Companies will have to optimize their virtual presence for the sake of their survival and the better work experience of their employees.

Some ways to optimize the virtual work environment are as follows:

Metaverse: A highly interesting addition in the world of virtual reality that can revolutionize remote work experience as we know it. Companies willing to invest in a metaverse workplace may yield more productivity and interest from their employees.

Automation Tools: People have started video calling almost 50% more since the start of the pandemic. But not all work tasks require a video call – in fact most can be automated with the help of tons of smart automation tools on the market.

Streamline your processes through such automation tools and save valuable time, effort, and money.

Quality Over Quantity

Just as employees found themselves having the upper hand in the wake of talent scarcity and mass resignations in the wake of subpar compensations and working conditions – employers, too, have updated their preferences.

Nowadays, companies tend to prefer a skilled employee over several “promising” employees who need training. Many companies laid off their non-essential workers, signaling what is more important to them - that is skill over numbers.

Although laying off employees is never an optimal practice, it shows what companies prefer. To be employed in the current work environment, a knowledge worker has to come highly skilled and should be able to add instant value to the company.

Employees too prefer companies that reskill their staff as it makes them more valuable to the company. It also saves the company the cost of an extra hire.

Corporate training, one viewed as a fancy benefit, has now become an integral part of the employee work cycle.

The talent shortage in the last two years has compelled businesses to create high-end corporate training programs and invest in their current staff to maximize their potential and productivity.

Employee Wellness

More and more companies are introducing wellness programs to assess the mental, physical and emotional well-being of their employees.

Before the pandemic, most of these assessment programs were limited to productivity, customer satisfaction, and engagement metrics. But in the wake of the pandemic, it has become clearer than ever that wellness plays a key role in employee performance.

Employees who utilize these wellness programs are found to be more productive and satisfied with their work. People also tend to prefer companies that have a defined policy regarding their employees’ wellness, be it physical, mental or emotional.

Both Employees and Employers Have Some Catching Up to Do
The pandemic has changed the preference of both the working class and the CEOs. There is no telling when will Covid end, so the best and current strategy should be to adapt and optimize the ongoing work environment. Companies will have to introduce wellness programs, virtual work options, and fair and diverse working conditions all across the board. The employees will have to work on their skills rather than their roles and try to keep up with the latest recruitment trends in order to stand a cut above the rest.