2022 Workplace Trends and Why Employee Experience Matters
Here comes hybrid workplaces, Gen-Z ideals and a push for mental well-being.
This year showed a ray of hope to businesses and professionals suffering from the Covid crisis. Organizations started to get back on track, and employees could work on-site again. It was the year of resurgence and recovery. We saw a rise in new technology adoption and advanced tools to facilitate remote working. As a result, businesses across the board became well-versed in several modern approaches to work.
While 2021 was the year of recovery, 2022 will be the year of growth. The global pandemic has made organizations worldwide realize the importance of digitization and the application of modern technologies to get the work done. As a result, companies and professionals are ready to enter the new year on a high note and make their ventures prosper with this technological acumen.
Here are some of the essential workplace trends to look for in 2022.
The emergence of a hybrid workplace
For a while, Covid prevented professionals from leaving their houses to go to work. Instead, working remotely became the way to do business. The use of collaborative platforms like Zoom, Slack, Microsoft Teams and others allowed organizations to function virtually while employees worked from the comfort and safety of their homes.
Related: The Future of Work is Hybrid
As organizations moved back to on-premise operations in 2021, not every employee was willing to go back to the conventional work mode. However, organizations really couldn't complain. Several businesses reported an increase in the overall productivity of their employees working remotely. Plus, remote working allowed professionals to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
This has given rise to a hybrid workplace — where the team includes employees working remotely and ones working on-site. This is a flexible approach to work that allows employees to come to the office or work from their homes. Some employees may choose to work in the office for a few days and then remotely on other days. Look for the hybrid workplace trend to become more prevalent in 2022.
Here comes Gen-Z
The younger Gen-Z professionals are all set to enter the corporate world. And just as the approach to work shifted from Gen-X to millennials, it will shift again. The younger generation has a unique approach and fresh perspective towards work. They aren't willing to work with traditional tools that require more manual effort to get work done. This generation grew up in the lap of technology and is unaware of a world without seamless digitization.
This calls for employers and organizations to change their approach to work and adapt to the latest technological advancements. The new tech-savvy generation is full of ideas and passion, provided that they are given a conducive environment to work in. The Gen-Z professionals are unwilling to confine themselves to the conventional 9-to-5 work schedule and are more comfortable with the flexible work culture. If this generation is provided with the environment they are looking for, they can help organizations get in tune with the latest trends in the market.
The emergence of a hybrid workplace increased the need for centralized communication within an organization. When you have some employees working on-site and others working remotely, you have to make sure everyone is on the same page at all times. While conventional communication tools like emails and phone calls allow your employees to connect, it is crucial to have a centralized communication system. Those collaborative platforms described earlier — Skype, Zoom, Google Meets, Slack, Microsoft Teams and others — allow professionals to communicate and collaborate with their peers in real-time. From group chats and video calls to sharing important documents, collaborative platforms allow you to centralize communication within an organization.
More focus on work-life balance
Even with the pandemic crisis causing many inconveniences for professionals, working remotely allowed them to maintain a better work-life balance. It prevented employees from spending extended hours working in the office and being away from their families. Remote working helped them spend more time with their loved ones, even during work hours.
Now that the danger of the pandemic has subsided and the conventional approach to work is back, employees have started focusing more on enjoying an ideal work-life balance without sacrificing either of the two aspects of their lives.
More focus on the mental well-being of employees
The pandemic has been a rough patch for professionals worldwide, irrespective of the industry they belong to and the scale at which they operate. Several skilled and dedicated employees lost their jobs as organizations found it difficult to sustain themselves during the pandemic. In addition, many working remotely exhausted themselves by stretching their work hours and becoming burned out.
These circumstances and more have significantly affected the mental well-being of employees. Now that employees are getting back to work, organizations have focused on providing employees with a stimulating and encouraging work environment. HR professionals have started taking surveys and providing counseling to employees who need help. Such initiatives have made the corporate world realize the importance of mental health and increasing employee engagement.
Why does employee experience matter?
Employees are the core of any organization. There has always been a need to focus on the employee experience and increase their engagement and productivity within an organization. But over time, employee needs have gone through a significant shift. They are no longer merely seeking good pay and a promotion to stay engaged in an organization. Employees today need personalized support.
When you can provide a better work experience to your employees, they are genuinely driven to work every day, leading to higher engagement. Better employee experience motivates your employees to give 100% and work passionately towards achieving common organizational goals.
In 2022, competition in all the major industries will be immense. If an employee is skilled and capable, they'll likely have multiple employment options. If you fail to provide a decent work experience to your employees, they'll leave, and you lose valuable talent. It is, therefore, always crucial for an organization to ensure that its employees are provided with the best possible experience while working.
Improving employee experience with modern service desks
One of the most effective ways to improve the employee experience is implementing a modern service desk. Modern service desks allow you to automate the support processes and provide personalized assistance to your employees.
Technologies like AI and machine learning drive the modern IT service desks and HR help desks. This helps you understand the context of the issues faced by your employees and provide them with solutions that are tailor-made for them. Modern employee service desks use conversational AI and deploy AI chatbots to interact with your employees. These virtual assistants automate the primary support provided to your employees and give answers to their questions in a few seconds. If you have added sufficient data to your enterprise knowledge base, the chatbots would scan the same and come up with solutions that are in sync with the needs and preferences of your employees.
To further improve employee experience, organizations integrate modern service desks with their collaborative platforms. This allows employees to obtain seamless support without logging into a dedicated platform. Instead, they can interact with the chatbots and answer their queries on the same platform used for work.
When your employees get quick, personalized, automated support, they will be more engaged. This adds to their work experience and increases their productivity.
The final word
These 2022 trends allow businesses to streamline their processes and ensure the holistic well-being of their employees. By catering to your employees and providing them with an ideal work environment, you can leverage your company’s culture and achieve your organizational goals in the best way possible.
Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor