31 Mar How working styles have changed in 2022
We’ve written several research pieces over the last few months about how workplaces have changed in 2022, in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s clear that Covid has changed almost everything about our lives – from the way we live, to what we’re prioritising, to how we work. While some companies and employees have worked remotely forever, others had to scramble to get on the remote working bandwagon as physical offices closed during 2020. Now that the dust is (somewhat) settling, strong workplace trends are emerging where companies are offering more flexibility and autonomy to their employees. At a high level, some of these new workplace trends include:
- Fully remote working. Depending on the industry and type of business, some companies have been pleasantly surprised that the wheels didn’t come off when everyone had to work from home – in fact, some of them performed better. Now, with the option to go back to a physical office, they’re realising that they don’t actually need a physical location to function well, so they’re allowing their employees to stay remote. This saves them huge sums in terms of office rentals, as well as saving their employees things like transport costs and commuting time.
- Hybrid working. While many employees have enjoyed the freedom and flexibility of working from home, they’ve also found that they miss the in-person interactions and camaraderie that the office provides. It’s also hugely helpful to have in-person sessions for specific types of work, such as brainstorming, sales meetings and training. With this in mind, some companies have introduced a hybrid working model where employees spend some portion of their time working from home (WFH) and the other portion in the office. This could be two days in the office and three days at home, for example, with the specific employee deciding which days they do which, depending on their schedules and commitments at that point in time.
- Back at the office – with perks. Some companies are requiring their employees to return to the office full time as they did pre-Covid, but with some adjustments. For example, some employees are being given more time off than they had before, while others are introducing one long weekend every second month over and above leave time. Another route is for companies to let their employees choose their own flexi hours, though they have to be in the office for a certain number of hours per day. Why is this happening? Increasingly, companies are seeing the negative effects of poor mental health on their employees’ wellbeing, and are trying to rectify this by cultivating a better work/life balance for them.
If you’re a business owner, you may be wondering which model is right for you in order to get the most out of your employees – and your bottom line. The simple answer is: it depends. Here are the questions you should be asking:
- What kind of business are you? If you’re a fully online business, it’s completely possible to have all your employees work remotely, including your developers, marketers, product owners and even your customer service staff. If you’re a service business where you deal with customers face-to-face, such as a car dealership or dry cleaner, you’ll still need to have a location that customers can visit.
- What kind of company culture do you have? If your teams work better face to face and your employees’ performance depends on how much morale they get from each other, having at least some in-person working may be the best solution.
- How did things go in the past? Cast your mind back to 2020, when we were all forced to work from home. Did your company thrive, or just survive? Are there elements that worked well that you could bring into your workplace now even if it’s not fully remote?
Although there are some things we may want to go back to the way they were before Covid hit (travelling, concerts and sporting events perhaps?!), we’re certainly embracing this new approach to how and when we work. Expectations of how work fitted into our lives pre-Covid were inflexible and outdated, and this pandemic, with all its challenges, has provided a much needed shift in perspective.