The office has never seen such drastic and fast-paced change as it has over the last two years so here are some thoughts on workplace trends 2022
Remote working, video meetings, flexible and hybrid working, The Great Resignation and power shifting to the employee have all impacted workplaces around the world.
Employers are scrambling to catch up and provide the work environment their employees are looking for and sometimes demanding.
We’ve done some thinking and researching and have listed the key workplace trends we think you will witness in 2022
1 - Wellness
Wellness is a fast-growing metric that urgently needs addressing. Organisations will look at implementing measures and structures that take care of personal, mental, physical and financial wellbeing of their employees. Although not entirely altruistic, as a happy employee is a productive employee, if you can more accurately predict issues before they arise, then retention and performance will be protected.
2 - Biophilic design
As part of the push towards wellness, biophilic design and principles will become even more central to office spaces than before. The Human Spaces Report into the Global Impact of Biophilic Design in the Workplace discovered that employees in workplaces designed with nature in mind had a 15% higher level of wellbeing, were 15% more creative and 6% more productive.
3 - Employee-Centric Workplaces
Although the office population may be shrinking, provision of an employee-focused, attractive, comfortable and healthy workplace will be vital. A recent HBR article posited “Sitting is the new smoking”, so stand-up workspaces will proliferate.
Allowing employees to feel at home in the office will be important. Workers have become used to working in isolation, in comfort, from sofas and armchairs, sitting in the sun in the garden, so employees who can replicate some of this comfort in the office will be winning.
4 - Centralised Communication
Centralised communication will be important. A McKinsey study shows better connection and communication can deliver a 25% boost in productivity – and poor communication can cost a business in real term dollars. With a workforce more spread out than ever before, streamlined and consolidated communications solutions will ease the pressure exerted by instant-messaging tools – as well as helping save time and money. But providing an office environment conducive to a range of communication needs, from quick stand-up meetings, to brainstorming and planning sessions will be vital for the times when teams come in.
5 - Hybrid Working
Hybrid working has and will continue to flourish. Whether that looks like being in the office once or twice a week, working from home or the café or a co-working space, companies will have to get used to the idea. Microsoft found their workers want it all. 70% of them want remote and flexible working whilst more than 65% crave more time with their teams. Because of this dichotomy over 65% of senior management are considering redesigning workspaces to become more agile and accommodate both parties - providing a hybrid workplace.
6 - Co-working Spaces
Co-working spaces will grow once more as employees and employers seek new and more flexible ways to work. The relative cost-effectiveness of using a co-working space rather than providing expensive (and these days often empty) office space is an attractive proposition. These spaces will also start to appear closer to where people live too, rather than where they already work. Expect to see them pop-up in suburban areas, maybe smaller and more intimate than the large CBD offices we’ve become used to.
7 - The Great Office Return
An alternative prediction is that the pendulum will start to swing back towards working in the office. Despite COVID forcing us to work from home and technology enabling us to be more productive at home than at any other time in history, the reality is that there is no credible evidence that we are more productive at home than we can be at work. Google is one corporation that believes the great return will happen in some way and is redesigning its offices to suit new ways of working.
Employers will design spaces to attract the team back into the office and will focus on enabling team interactions, not on task centric work that can be done nearly as well at home. The weight of the corporate real estate industry’s investment in office space may also be influential. If the ‘return to the office’ does not eventuate, office spaces will need to be re-configured into alternative use (such as residential dwellings) at a significant cost.
Whatever the changes that affect you, your business, your workplace and employees in the coming months you will need to be ready and have a plan in place, if not already executed. Rapid change is the new norm…for now.