The changes brought about by this continue to have a huge impact on how businesses are working – and are likely to continue to do so in the next year.
With that in mind, we asked eight business experts what they expect to see in the workplace in 2022.
People’s expectations of their working life have changed profoundly over the last two years. The ability to work flexibility is increasingly important for employees – and in a candidate driven jobs market, it needs to be important for businesses as well.
Richard Guy, UK Sales Manager, Ergotron, explains “As the pandemic has evolved, practices in the world of work have seen a resetting of parameters for work locations, spaces, and styles. With Deloitte’s decision to close its global offices, for instance, the working model has been turned on its head. As we look towards 2022, we are likely to see a need like never before for mobility and flexibility of technology in the workplace. At any rate, the balance of power could increasingly shift to workers in deciding how they want work to work for them. The future of doing business is people, empowered by technology, and organisations that promote this model are likely to outperform competitors and drive success.”
However, MarKeith Allen, SVP and GM, Diligent Mission Driven Organizations, cautions that companies must ensure that they are developing the right technology to support such flexible work practises. “Digital was starting to make its way into the boardroom prior to the pandemic, however, COVID-19 has rapidly accelerated the need for digital transformation. The pandemic exposed ill-prepared boards and forced all boards to work remotely, relying entirely on digital tools to carry out their duties. The new work reality is a mix of virtual and in-person, and the move to digitize will continue to be a priority in 2022 as new variants are surfacing”
This is also emphasised by Steve Roberts, Chief Financial Officer at Glasswall. “Companies implementing a hybrid working model should ensure both their office infrastructure and remote working environments are secure. Remote working can result in security vulnerabilities, particularly if employees are using their own devices to connect to corporate systems. Budget should be reallocated to invest in security solutions that will close these gaps and keep systems and data secure.”
Adopting remote working does offer a huge potential advantage for businesses: the ability to recruit from a wider pool of candidates.
“The concept of borderless jobs will become commonplace especially in industries suffering from an acute talent shortage such as IT and cybersecurity.” Argues, Nick Adams, Vice President of Sales, EMEA, Globalization Partners. “We’re already seeing start-ups recruiting internationally as competition intensifies and remote working technology improves. The challenge these businesses face is finding the global talent to build the best teams. The talent is there, but it’s likely to be in places organisations have not traditionally considered before.”
“Companies have already invested in online infrastructure that allows employees to work from anywhere, so I expect they will expand using these models, testing the market in new regions.” adds Kathryn Barnes, Employment Counsel EMEA at Globalization Partners.
“Whilst staff shortages remain top of mind for employers, the talent pool is larger and more global than it’s ever been – people are no longer confined to looking for talent in just their immediate location.”
With huge numbers of employees resigning from jobs they no longer feel are right for them, and a skills shortage across the economy, many employers are looking at retention rates.
Tony Prevost, HR Director, Skillsoft explains that “COVID-19 has been a catalyst for shifting workplace power dynamics, shifting negotiating power to job seekers who are now in control of their own destiny. In today’s candidate-driven market, recruitment starts with retention. As we transition into 2022, organisations need to ensure that they’re building on top of what they’ve already got, rather than strictly filling the roles of people walking out the door with external candidates. The challenge for employers in this brave new world, where we can work from any location, is considering what employees gain from the workplace outside of a salary.”
Ian Rawlings, RVP EMEA, SumTotal believes that training will be key to building staff loyalty. “To build the high-performing workforce of the future and demonstrate to employees that their development and advancement matters, in 2022, we expect many organisations will go ‘all in’ when it comes to enabling more predictive and personalised learning journeys that motivate and encourage professional development and improve employee engagement.”
As with every other aspect of life in 2022, we can expect sustainability to be increasingly important in the workplace.
“We’re already seeing a rise in businesses making more sustainable decisions, and I expect we’ll continue to see this grow in 2022.” explains Gareth Tolerton, Product Innovation Director, Totalmobile. “Monitoring your carbon footprint is now more important than ever. Investment markets will now typically only invest in companies with a net-zero strategy, therefore companies need to show how they’re going to get there. For organisations with mobile workers, solutions such as job scheduling will gain importance as a method of determining the carbon footprint of journeys being made, for example.”