Alvaro Villar
General Manager
WeWork
/
Expert Contributor

Beyond 2022: Workplace Trends That Will Stick Long Term

By Alvaro Villar | Mon, 02/14/2022 - 09:00

We are now well into a new year and the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a challenge for all. It’s tough to identify what changes in the workplace will stick with us; however, there are certain indicators that point to those that leave no doubt they are here to stay. Younger workers are having a rough time and people are reevaluating their priorities. At the same time, well-being and flexibility have become absolutely necessary for businesses. Staying on top of these trends, listed below, will be critical as companies plan for the future.

 

  1. Gen Z is craving human contact

We tend to think that younger generations are happy to stay at home and use technology to connect with one another; however, many studies have confirmed that Gen Z feel less connected with their teams since working from home and are hoping to get back to the office and build the relationships and networking skills they need to advance their careers.Research shows this generation wants to go back to the office, just not full-time:, they’re demanding more flexibility.

According to a recent study from Adobe, centennials will make up 27 percent of the workforce by 2025 and they’re becoming the dominant group and culture driver. Additionally, Gen Z will be the most educated generation in history. Companies will need to appeal to this generation if they want to stay relevant and competitive.

 

  1. Data is helping companies make informed workspaces decisions

As a result of the pandemic, many workplaces designed before COVID-19 are underutilized or inefficient. However, as decision-makers plan for the hybrid workplace of the future, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, each company needs to evaluate its own needs and priorities; technology and data can help them find the ideal path forward.

According to the last CBRE report on global occupancy insights, more than 90 percent of companies are using technology to track floor plans and occupancy data on an ongoing basis, which helps them design for a more efficient workplace.

 

  1. Well-being is in the spotlight

After almost two years spent living through a global pandemic, people continue to struggle with many aspects of their health, specifically those related to anxiety, stress, depression or insomnia. But whether or not employees are struggling, well-being is top of mind for most.

Employers can’t fully solve the problem but they can help by putting more investment into well-being programs and policies. A recent survey by Deloitte found that 80 percent of 6,000 global workers said well-being should be a top priority for their employer and companies can no longer afford to ignore this trend.

Work environment and flexibility emerge as some of the major well-being trends related to work life to watch out for in 2022. At WeWork, we have been working closely with companies to help them define their best approach to a hybrid model while working with our own team.

 

  1. Flexibility is the new norm

A study by Workplace Intelligence and WeWork found that 95 percent of workers want control over when, where and how they work; and that means flexibility will continue to be the defining trend. In a study conducted by McKinsey early in 2021, 63 percent of employees surveyed said that they want flexible options to continue and nearly 30 percent said they would likely leave their jobs if they were forced to return to the office full-time without any flexible options.

Whether it’s younger employees who crave the benefits of in-person mentorship or working parents who need to be able to work from home, there are many reasons to give all employees the option to craft a work schedule that fits their unique lives.

A new world has emerged. The pandemic has charted a new course for the way we think of work and our employees are pretty much dictating the terms. With this in mind, we need to ask ourselves if our current models, benefits and spaces are attracting and retaining the best talent. Whatever the future holds, it’s more important than ever to listen to employees and support their needs so they can do their best work.

Photo by:   Alvaro Villar