IPredicting the future of work has never been so difficult. Return-to-office dates have been canceled as often as flights during the Christmas vacation. Job demands change in no time as resignations continue to hit record highs. Plans for workplace vaccination warrants have become trapped in legal challenges.
Yet the very concept of employment and the way work is done is undergoing such fundamental changes that some are quick to suggest sweeping overhauls are underway. We’re going to start working in the Metaverse, some predict, especially now that Mark Zuckerberg wants it. Employees will demand to be paid in Bitcoin. Future workers will be managed by “decentralized autonomous organizations,” or DAOs like the one that attempted to buy the US Constitution.
Maybe, but probably not very widely in 2022. To determine what changes and trends we can reasonably expect at work in the coming year, we spoke with business leaders, resource advisors human and technology experts. Some big themes: Return-to-the-office plans will be more based on measurements, digital whiteboards will be a big tech trend, and the buzzing job market isn’t expected to cool anytime soon.
It could even get worse, says talented strategist Steve Cadigan, as more professionals juggling mortgages and school calendars join the exodus this spring and summer: “Organizations that are forcing people back to the office and offering very few flexible options will suffer a severe talent hemorrhage, ”he said. Below are five predictions of what to expect at work in 2022.
1. The “return to office” date will be replaced by a set of “return to office” conditions.
It’s getting old. The ever-changing dates, we mean – from last September to January until now, well, who knows. While an endless march of new variants has repeatedly disrupted plans to reopen, some companies are crossing out target dates altogether, said Brian Kropp, vice president of research at Gartner. “What they realize is that they have to move from dates to terms that define how open our workplace is,” says Kropp, and that open periods can come and go.
He and others suggest that companies need to move towards a set of metrics, such as hospitalization rates or local transmission rates, in deciding whether they should be opened. Write in the New YorkerGeorgetown collaborating writer and computer science professor Cal Newport criticized the slow adoption by employers of such measures as a crutch of ambiguity that keeps executives from making tough decisions.
“The goal should not be to make working life easier for a small number of executives,” Newport wrote. “For companies that still haven’t reopened their offices and still offer little advice beyond stating a date on which they will reassess the situation, employees should be unhappy.”
2. The increases, or bonuses, will increase, which could cause companies to hire more globally.
There is a lot of debate about whether inflation should lead to increases: it hurts the wallet of workers, but once an increase is in place, it is difficult to remove it if prices fall. . Some companies like Google have reportedly told workers they would not make general inflation adjustments.
Still, there are also signs that some employers have taken the issue into account, with Gartner reporting that 40% of its HR clients surveyed plan to adjust their compensation for inflation. The competitive job market is also a factor, with a survey by accounting firm Grant Thornton finding that 51% of HR managers expect average merit increases of more than 5%, while 68% said a more workers would be eligible for a bonus.
Just over half of human resources managers expect average merit increases of more than 5%, while 68% said more employees would be eligible for a bonus.
“It’s less inflation right now,” says Tim Glowa, director of human capital services at Grant Thornton. “What we are really seeing is the war for talent.” Salary increase budgets are the highest since 2008, according to a November Conference Board report, forecasting a 3.9% increase in salary costs, down from 3% in April.
This will lead to more challenges around what is called “wage compression”, when the cost of attracting new hires means they are paid the same or more than regular employees. If current employees find out, they may leave, exacerbating a recruitment and retention crisis. Or, says Ragu Bhargava, CEO of Global Upside, which offers global HR and accounting services, it can put employers in the difficult position of having to raise wages for everyone, which could have other consequences. “What we’re also seeing a little bit, and it’s going to increase a lot more in 2022 if inflation and wage compression continues, is hiring globally.”
3. Coordinated vacations will become a lasting part of the corporate calendar.
As businesses have fought to meet the burnout and mental health demands of the pandemic, many have added days off to help people cope. By giving everyone in the company the same day off, it limits the involvement in meetings, the buzz of Slack emails and messages, or the sense of professional FOMO.
Etsy, for example, had its fifth “Breaksgiving” day of 2021 on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Several companies, including LinkedIn, HootSuite, and Bumble, closed for a week this year. Deloitte, meanwhile, has extended its “collective disconnect” days designed to extend federal holidays or long weekends to eight days in 2021, in addition to other holidays and vacations.
Deloitte CEO Joseph Ucuzoglu said he believes more companies will “absolutely” coordinate such time off over the coming year as they seek to give employees a break. “When their coworkers also take vacations at the same time, it exponentially increases the possibility of not continuing to think you must be on your email.. “
Carol Sladek, who heads work-life counseling for Aon, says she is also seeing a growing number of employers trying to coordinate additional vacations. “We are seeing employers say there is a great benefit to [shutting things down for everyone at the same time, and considering] maybe we should think about adding a few days between Christmas and New Years.
4. The metaverse will not quite take off yet. But new technologies will try to make hybrid work easier.
While some employers may start experimenting this year with the metaverse, a virtual reality space with digital avatars, widespread adoption is still a few years away, according to experts (including Bill Gates). Christopher Trueman, senior research analyst at Gartner, says “we’re probably talking about at least five or six years before it starts to become more common, and probably even further than that, “ noting that virtual and augmented reality is still expensive, has hardware issues, and does not yet interact well with mainstream commercial applications.
Instead, tech workers will notice health-related apps to return to the office the most this year, visual collaboration tools, and in some cases gadgets or better cameras to ease the frustrations of hybrid video calls, when some people connect from their home. and others are in a room together.
“We’re probably talking at least five or six years before [the metaverse] is starting to become more common ”in the workplace.
Expedia Group, for example, has updated some conference room cameras with software that uses artificial intelligence to pan and zoom in on the person speaking. In others, it’s piloting iPads on conference table seats to help replicate the experience at home. Unlike a table full of laptops brought in by employees, which could mean dead batteries, microphone return complications and, of course, multitasking people, iPads get fixed, says Chris Burgess, vice president of IT. from Expedia. “It’s a way to make sure everyone has the same experience,” he says.
Expedia is also introducing digital whiteboard tools – just like Deloitte – something Trueman says many companies are adding to help replace the physical whiteboard. Remote workers, he says, have good messaging and video conferencing applications, “but they struggle with the visual aspects of [remote] collaboration, ”he says.
5. Skills will start to matter much more than specific experience or work history.
It may seem obvious, but in a tight job market, companies are increasingly focusing on the individual skills workers bring to the job rather than the roles and education passed on their resumes, experts say. human ressources. With the hiring volume at the highest level since LinkedIn started tracking in 2015, “it’s getting companies to think about their hiring practices more broadly,” says Dan Shapero, COO of LinkedIn , giving the example of a director of business operations being considered for jobs in business development or strategy.
“Whereas in the past this could have been based on your experience – where did you go to school? Where did you work before? – companies are offering a wider range of ways to assess who is good at what is not so directly related to their previous experience, ”he says.
The change is big enough to change the way employers think about compensation, says Martine Ferland, President and CEO of Mercer. “We now price skills rather than the price of roles or labor,” she says. “This movement is much faster than I would have imagined, so much so that we have just launched a database” that helps employers pay for skills.
What is there for the employees? “It makes you more mobile, more employable,” says Ferland. “I think it can make your professional life a lot more interesting when it’s focused on building your skills portfolio as opposed to the very rigid ‘ladder’ type of career path.. “