The 11 Top Remote Work Trends That Will Dominate 2022
Are you ready?
What can we expect? And what remote work trends will be most important in the coming years? Read on to learn about how the most essential ones might affect your business and life.
1. Mainstream Acceptance Results In More Remote Opportunities Than Ever
With proven benefits of remote work, such as cost savings, increased productivity, boosted happiness, and a positive environmental impact, it’s clear that the acceptance of remote work is here to stay. Many employers, including leading brands such as Google, Spotify, and LinkedIn, will continue to embrace flexibility, remote positions, and in general a more remote-friendly mindset, even as restrictions ease.
6 in 10 managers will allow their employees to work remotely more often than they did before lockdowns began. And younger managers are more likely to hire remote workers, according to Forbes. The list of remote-only companies is expected to grow, so 2022 will likely present more location-independent opportunities than ever before.
2. Holistic Employee Well-Being Will Be A Top Priority
The shift to working remotely has impacted everyone in different ways and organizations are still figuring out how to best support the well-being of their employees.
To tackle remote work challenges, such as loneliness, and better understand their employees, holistic wellness will become a key metric for companies. Ranging from financial and mental health to physical well-being. Significant investments into new health benefits, communication plans, and technologies are expected to further improve employee wellness. And as a result, performance and retention. The number of mental health startups and creative meet-ups/check-ins to include remote workers will continue to increase.
3. Employees Will Be Given More Freedom To Be Their Best At Home And At Work
While businesses still are struggling to define policies for remote work, employees are pushing for more flexibility. Many don’t want to return to the office after having experienced the benefits with a location independent lifestyle, at least not following a traditional 9–5 model.
In 2022, we’ll see more companies tweaking their remote work policies based on learnings over the past years. For these to be effective, employees must have a say based on their needs and understanding of how to be their best at home and at work. More trust and flexibility will be necessary to boost employee morale and reduce turnover.
4. New Questions About What’s Fair Will Emerge
Who has access to flexible work? What about taxes and insurance? What happens when employees move to locations with a lower cost of living? Should their compensation be reduced even though the impact of their work hasn’t changed? What if it’s the other way around?
While the work structure becomes more flexible, the supporting functions, such as for example tax systems, aren’t keeping the same pace. Businesses will need to address how to approach all these new questions that don’t have any straightforward answers. In fact, this will be one of the top priorities for HR executives this year.
5. Managerial Responsibilities Will Evolve
As not swinging by the office as often (or never) turns the new normal, the manager role will become even more essential. As managers are the primary connection through which hybrid and remote employees experience their employer and can solve any potential issues, their relationship will be more important than ever.
As advanced technology help replace many repeatable managerial tasks, ranging from simple things like scheduling, to more sophisticated ones like providing feedback, managers will have more time to cultivate relationships with their employees. This will go beyond reviewing responsibilities and cover the bigger picture. Such as life aspirations, the impact of work on their personal lives, and their relationship with the organization as a whole.
6. Employer Branding And Culture Will Be More Essential Than Ever
Employer branding and company culture will be key to maintaining a strong sense of belonging in a world where we don’t meet as much in person. Engaged workers are looking for values and being seen.
Research from McKinsey emphasizes the many ways the pandemic has changed what people expect from work and that many executives aren’t listening to their people nearly enough. Pause and think, make the changes employees want. Focus on the relational aspects of work that people have missed the most to support employee satisfaction and retention.
Since the whole workplace and the way organizations interact with their employees, communities, and society is changing, new key C-level roles more focused on purpose will also emerge, such as the Chief Purpose Officer.
7. Remote Tools Will Help To Optimize Performance And Support Equality
Performance management for remote teams requires a significant mindset shift. We have to judge people by outcomes, results, and contribution — not presence. However, the question “how will we know what they are doing?” is still one of the main reasons why managers don’t want their teams to work remotely.
Even though there is no proven difference in performance, several managers are more likely to promote employees who are working from the office rather than those who don’t, due to their unsupported beliefs. Given that data also shows that women and people of color prefer to work from home compared to white men, if how we review performance don’t change, gender wage gaps and the level of diversity within leadership teams can worsen.
Over the coming years, remote tools will help provide more insights and a more holistic view of performance. As many managers still struggle with trusting the performance of remote workers, data and insights will help fill in the gaps.
8. Some Businesses Will Require A Return To The Office
Even if many employers are planning to adopt a hybrid working model, several will also take the opposite route and demand that employees return, full time, to the office. Due to claimed reasons like reduced company performance, a sense of lost culture, and more. They will however quickly notice that the challenges they are facing are due to other underlying factors.
Requiring that employees return to the office without any choice will, however, only backfire and boost turnover rates.
9. Part-Time Workers Will Become More Common
With numerous studies showing how businesses can save millions of dollars on part-time remote workers, this set-up will become more common. Several groups don’t want to work full-time for different reasons. From parents wanting to spend more time with their children, to employees who want to invest more time into a passion, such as music, or whatever that makes their heart sing.
The explosive growth of freelance platforms and entrepreneurs also makes it easier to hire part-time talents.
Forward-thinking employers will offer more flexibility and creative options, such as shorter days and child-care support. More time off rather than increased pay will also become a more common benefit, as more and more people value time higher than money.
10. Digital Security Will Become Tighter
As the growth of remote work increases security risks, businesses must continue to prioritize prevention, agility, and resiliency, and take a wider, holistic approach to security management.
Managing multiple tools and services across several cloud platforms and data centers is complex.
Re-thinking risks and ensuring having the right expertise in-house or via partner will be key to supporting a strong security ecosystem.
11. The Market For Virtual Solutions For Collaboration, Team Building, And Networking Will Reach New Highs
To support our new reality, software designed to make the collaboration of distributed teams smooth is quickly advancing. From new solutions such as the tech leader’s Alibaba’s DingTalk and Cisco’s AR conferencing offering, to professional and industry-based Slack communities. The virtual events industry is also estimated to achieve a CAGR of more than 23.7% between 2021–2028.
Companies are running team building activities online and new businesses are doing their best to refine how we communicate and collaborate. We expect new exciting VR opportunities that unite to a surreal level which is almost hard to imagine. Much of the technology already exists, however, it’s still yet to be made more widespread and affordable.
The Pace Won’t Slow Down In 2022
We’ve been living through the greatest workplace disruption in generations. It’s real and it will continue. We can expect more adoption of remote work and the pace of how quickly things are changing won’t slow down in 2022.
To get the most out of this shift in how we work and live you better be prepared.
By staying updated on the future of remote work and embracing it, rather than trying to fight what you can’t control, this new reality also presents several exciting opportunities. Step back, observe what’s happening, and make the changes needed to stay relevant and ahead.
Originally published at https://samiraholma.com on February 14, 2022.