That’s the question on everyone’s lips as we hurtle towards the end of 2021. In just five months, we’ll be staring 2022 in the face and wondering… what will the year hold for us? 

COVID-19 has disrupted things for two years now, sweeping through workplaces, scattering staff across the country and redefining what we need to do to execute our jobs carefully, safely, efficiently and effectively. We’ve had to find alternative solutions to innovate, collaborate and be creative. We’ve had to find different ways to motivate, inspire and encourage. All of our interactions have moved online, including those with our clients and customers. Our customer and employee journeys have changed and evolved, with all interactions happening virtually – in a more authentic and personal way. It looks very different to life pre-2020.

So what will work look like next year? Well, the answer depends on what industry you work in and who you work for. The pandemic has meant that many companies have had to modernise and adapt to allow their staff to work from home, some were already conducting a flexible approach to work and others were reluctant to make a change at all, until they were forced to. The companies most open to change are those that will have learned something from the pandemic, perhaps seeing that their employees have been more productive, happier, more enthused and more engaged. They will have also learned about new weaknesses such as security, lack of resources and onboarding programmes. Unfortunately, the companies that didn’t embrace the new way of work will have missed out on beneficial and valuable learnings about their business’ weaknesses and strengths. 

Employee Safety and Well-being

The pandemic has put a huge spotlight on the well-being and mental health of employees. Regularly checking in with them virtually, and having conversations around well-being frequently has been at the forefront of making WFH work well. 

For people whose jobs require them to be at their place of work at all times and is a role that is unable to be done from home, (such as factory workers, field workers, customer-facing roles, hospitality and more) there will be huge structural changes to the way things are handled in terms of processes, setups and safety measures. 

For those operating from home, businesses will need to make sure that their employees have all of the tools and equipment they need to fulfil their job from home. This includes added support as well as the opportunity to upskill and take on training to assist in carrying out their job remotely. 

Monitoring Results and Analysing Success

With the way in which we work changing and evolving, the way in which employee performance and success is monitored needs to be reevaluated too. During a time where things within business have been uncertain and unstable at times, it is clear that the way success is monitored needs to be adjusted. Productivity has certainly been trending upwards with people working from home, but the expectation that both revenue and productivity will trend upwards together isn’t realistic during these unprecedented times.

Businesses have been coping with the disruptions of the pandemic for nearly two years now and we are all still adapting to a new way of life. Not only has business taken a hit but so have the personal lives of your employees, where they’ve had to juggle childcare, education, finances, health issues and more. 

In Summary

We don’t think 2022 will mean that working from home will be compulsory. And we don’t think businesses will expect employees to solely work from an office space either. A hybrid model makes the most sense with the use of third workplaces such as the ones we provide at The Workstation. Flexible working is here to stay.