Three changes to work in 2022 

As the pandemic stretches on into a third year, the way offices look and the way we act within them will still look nothing like they did in 2019 

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Despite many employers’ hopes, a full-time return to office-based work is looking highly unrealistic as the omicron variant pushes back return-to-office plans once again for millions of workers. And, given the way the current labour market shifted power to employees, pre-pandemic work structures are likely to become a relic. 

Yet for all that seems certain, there is still so much we don’t know about how our working environment will evolve in 2022. This time last year, many people expected 2021 to bring a degree of stability, perhaps even the smooth rollout of hybrid work. The emergence of new variants of the virus blocked this – and may well continue to do so in the months ahead. 

Amid constantly shifting circumstances, it’s hard to pin down where we might find ourselves in 12 months’ time. But experts who study employment and the workplace have identified a few trends that are already giving shape to the way we’ll be working in the coming year, and may just be a window onto the future of office life. 


1. Shorter workweeks may happen  

A call for shorter workweeks and condensed hours has been gaining traction around the globe, with companies and entire governments alike already exploring this alternative.


2. Workers won’t be heading back to the same offices 

When some workers finally do return to the office – whether in 2022 or down the road – many will find the layout and function to be completely different. Nicholas Bloom, a professor of economics who studies at Stanford University said in an interview that companies will reconfigure spaces this year to meet the needs of a newly hybrid workforce, and accounting for how people want to work when they’re together in person: collaboratively.

Bloom, who has studied the future of the office for years, says the transition back to in-office days has so far been awkward and clumsy. He says he’s heard “horror stories” from workers whose companies have called them back into the office – for instance, sitting in half-empty offices on the same Zoom calls they would at home (and listening to colleagues do the same). 

In other words, the pre-pandemic office doesn’t work the way employees in 2022 need it to.

Since some companies that have rolled out hybrid models bring in certain teams into the office on the same day each week, Bloom says co-ordination is going to be the name of the game this year, and more offices will make permanent layout changes to facilitate this.


3.  Employee turnover will continue to increase as hybrid and remote work become the norm for knowledge workers.

Flexibility around how, where, and when people work is no longer a differentiator, it’s now table stakes. Unfortunately for many organizations, increasing flexibility will not slow turnover in today’s tight labor market; in fact, turnover will increase, for two reasons.

First, there will be weaker forces keeping employees in seats. Employees that work hybrid or remotely have fewer friends at work and thus weaker social and emotional connections with their coworkers. These weaker connections make it easier for employees to quit their job by reducing the social pressure that can encourage employees to stay longer.

Second, there will be stronger forces enticing employees away as the pool of potential employers increases. With hybrid and remote work as the norm, the geographic radius of the organizations that someone can work for also expands. This increased attrition risk remains even in a hybrid model where employees are expected to come into the office at least once a week. Employees are much more willing to take on a longer commute when they must do so less frequently; the pool of potential employers expands alongside employees’ commute tolerance.

These factors will lead to sustained; higher turnover rates compared to any historical norms. The great resignation will shift to the sustained resignation. 

hire employees from anywhere

It is evident that work has changed and will never be the same again. This gives us many advantages, one of them is being able to hire employees from anywhere in the world, because as we prove, it is not necessary to be physically in the same place to be able to work as a team. You know how to do it? 
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