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Must-Know Trends For The Future Of Work

31 August 2022

The past decade has seen major shifts in the way we work - the rise of the internet and remote working opportunities has completely shifted the way many of us view work. However, with the advent of the global coronavirus pandemic, these shifts have experienced an even greater acceleration in the past couple of years. For many of us, the world of work presents an almost unrecognisable landscape from what it was not but a short time ago.

From the growing say that employees over how and when they work, to the rise and, at one point, near-total dominance of the home office, the future of work is set to continue changing drastically. So what are some of the most impactful shifts employees and employers alike can expect to see in the coming years?

1. Hybrid working

Perhaps no recent trend in the workplace has been more impactful than the shift towards remote working. While the first inklings of this shift have been emerging since the proliferation of the internet, remote working reached truly unprecedented new heights on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many employers were forced to introduce the possibility of remote working in order to comply with government regulations and curb the public health crisis incurred by the spread of the virus, but did so expecting this to be a temporary action. However, many employees tasted the sweet wine of remote work and are reluctant to go back to the alternative of 9-5 in the office, five days a week. Instead, many workplaces are moving towards a model of “hybrid working.”

Hybrid working bridges the gap between the daily office grind and working completely from home office. Hybrid working allows for certain personnel to work from the office, and others remotely, according to their personal preference or degree of necessity. Coming into the office once or twice a week, as opposed to every day, is thought to in fact have a positive impact on employee satisfaction and overall productivity, as it cuts down on unnecessary commuting time and makes sure that people are only present when it’s truly productive to be so.

2. Foregrounding employee satisfaction

With the recent advent of the “Great Resignation”, a trend in which millions of employees have decided to quit their jobs rather than continue to work in unsatisfactory conditions, employers are facing increased pressure to improve employee satisfaction or else risk staff shortages. For this reason, the future of work is hopefully going to place a greater emphasis on the employee experience, and strive to ensure better rights and compensation for the work they provide their employers.

Key to shifting focus onto employee satisfaction is making sure to align tasks to those with the appropriate skills, placing greater resources into HR efforts, allowing for regular employee feedback to be implemented, and better compensation for work performed.

3. Greater flexibility

Just as the recent trends of the home office and remote work have given rise to greater flexibility in where we work, so too are we seeing greater flexibility emerge in how we work. Employers are understanding more and more that, in order to keep their employees happy with their positions, flexibility is key to integrating their jobs into their personal lives. WIth greater workplace flexibility, a single employee can maybe perform elements of several different roles, as opposed to being pigeonholed into one task.

Furthermore, employees can choose hours and working styles that suit their personal needs better. Those with kids may choose to fit their working hours around the school run, whereas a night-owl may prefer to get their work done in the evenings, as opposed to dragging themselves out of bed at 7am, only to sit around feeling groggy and unproductive for the next three hours.

4. Automation

It would be impossible to discuss the future of work without addressing the large role that automation already has, and will certainly continue to, play in shaping that future. Many studies have shown that, in the coming decades, there will be hardly any occupations that will be able to resist some form of automation. This will inevitably cause great changes within just about the industry of work out there - including everything from science to the arts.

The rise of robots and AI systems should not, however, leave us in fear of destitution. It is the task of the employment sector to integrate these automotive technologies in such a way as to lighten the load of employees and supplement our economy, as opposed to forcibly leaving great swathes of the population without access to an income.

5. More attention to employee wellbeing

Especially in the wake of a global health crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic, many employees are paying far greater attention to their health and wellbeing when it comes to the workplace. This not only comes down to the matter of health benefits, such as paid leave, but also how the workplace prioritises employee wellbeing in general. Affordances such as mental health days, improved HR departments, and regular employee feedback sessions are going to prove ever-more important in making sure employees feel supported in the workplace and are prepared to handle the stress of the modern world.

With the world changing so rapidly, we likely won’t have to wait long until we see these growing trends completely take over the landscape of the modern workplace. How exactly these shifts will look in the future is something that only time will tell.