The workplace has experienced a significant shift in the past couple of years, and it’s safe to say the future of work is here. Our “new normal” will have many opportunities and challenges, and it’s important to prepare for those so we’re not caught off guard in the new world of work.
From flexible work and diversity, equity, and inclusion, to the “Great Reshuffle” and mental health and well-being, here are 4 workplace trends to be aware of in 2022.
1. Flexible work
The pandemic has made many people reevaluate their priorities and reconsider how work fits into their lives. Those who have been afforded the opportunity to work remotely and shuffle their schedules to accommodate other needs are not willing to give that up. And many of those who have struggled with inflexible work policies are seeking new opportunities that better fit their needs.
In fact, 25 percent of people say the main reason they would consider leaving their jobs is for better work-life balance, and 54 percent would consider leaving if they’re not afforded some form of flexibility in where and when they work.
Team member preferences, along with an ever-evolving global health crisis, have made flexible work a mainstay of the modern workplace. Employers are adapting by offering flexible options like remote and hybrid work, four-day workweeks, and flex hours.
But flexible work requires forethought to execute it successfully. For instance, remote and hybrid workforces need to consider how to mitigate the risk of remote worker bias. This includes how to handle virtual meetings, build a company culture that extends beyond the office, and offer benefits that are inclusive to remote and colocated team members alike.
Stay in sync with your team and take action on feedback to ensure flexible work makes a long-term. positive impact throughout your organization.
2. Diversity, equity, and inclusion
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is finally getting the attention it has always deserved, and organizations are continuing their journeys in this important area in 2022. With so much work that still needs to be done, it’s a good thing that 79 percent of organizations are planning to allocate more budget and resources to DEI in 2022.
Every organization’s journey to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion will be different. Before you get started, get a clear understanding of the current state of DEI at your organization and set goals for where you’d like to be and when. Be sure to gather feedback from your team, and keep a close eye on your data as you go to measure progress and additional areas for improvement.
Remote work offers a tremendous opportunity to expand your talent pool and build a more diverse workforce. But equity and inclusion are crucial to be able to attract, engage, and retain people from underrepresented groups. A great DEI strategy should look at challenges and opportunities holistically to make the most progress.
3. The ‘Great Reshuffle’
Record-high turnover is expected to continue in 2022, with 73 percent of workers considering leaving their jobs. Reasons for voluntary turnover can vary widely, from compensation and benefits, to career opportunity, work flexibility, and burnout.
It’s important to find out exactly why your team members are leaving so you can minimize the damage to your organization from this trend. Employee surveys are a great tool to learn more about why team members resign, why they stay, and how your organization could become a better employer. Look for patterns in your data to prioritize initiatives that will help you attract, engage, and retain team members.
You might also be able to use the ‘Great Reshuffle’ to your advantage by re-engaging former team members. Life circumstances and career goals may have changed for many of your company alumni over the past couple of years. Reach out to your past top performers to see if you might be able to re-hire them as boomerang employees.
4. Mental health and well-being
Employee health and well-being has emerged as an important trend throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and will continue to be a key focus area in 2022. But in addition to focusing on physical health, many organizations are offering additional mental health resources to their team members.
Mental health is crucial to overall wellness, as many people experience issues like anxiety, depression, stress, and burnout—especially over the course of the pandemic. For example, an estimated 25 percent of Americans suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in any given year, and 90 percent of workers have experienced burnout in the past year.
To combat these issues and promote better overall wellness, employers are investing more in this area. For example, 88 percent of employers are investing more in mental health benefits, 87 percent are investing more in stress management and resilience, and 69 percent are investing more in mindfulness and meditation.
Final thoughts on workplace trends in 2022
The pandemic has accelerated the timeline for the future of work, and it’s important to be aware of these trends so you can prepare for them. You may not be able to jump on board with all of them—and that’s fine.
For example, the type of work your team does may not be conducive to remote work. But it’s important to understand this trend exists so you can differentiate your employer brand in other ways to attract and retain talent.
2022 is gearing up to be another year filled with new opportunities and challenges. Stay on top of emerging industry trends, team member feedback, and your HR data so you can adjust and thrive in the new normal.