As we begin to strategize and plan for 2022, what trends will we see this new year? Will we finally escape the unprecedented time of 2020 or the whirlwind that was 2021? Here at Poll Everywhere, we aren’t fortune tellers, but we do love to think proactively.
Poll Everywhere’s leaders sat down to discuss what might be in store in 2022 across their areas of expertise. From major changes in how hybrid work is conducted to how the technology and Software as a Service industry will be disrupted we’re anticipating another year of uncharted territory.
Changes in the way we work
1. The office is a luxury for the big companies
“There’s a bottom coming to the corporate real estate market. A lot of small and medium sized startups, especially those doing pure knowledge work, are going to skip the office.” – Matt Diebolt, Vice President of Engineering.
One trend we may see in 2022 are small to mid-sized companies, particularly startups, skipping the office entirely in favor of remote work. The COVID-19 pandemic proved that knowledge workers are capable of being productive and efficient working from home. Our team predicts that we will see a rise in remote-first companies, just like Poll Everywhere, which plans on making the transition in summer 2022. We predict that this trend will not apply to major corporations like Google or Apple, who have invested millions of dollars in corporate real estate and can afford to pay salaries and offer benefits that could justify a long commute to the office for any employee. Ultimately, it will depend on a company’s values and priorities.
2. Remote team management is the biggest challenge in 2022
Remote work has been a blessing for deep focus work. Working from home offers a comfortable and distraction-free work environment that many individual contributor (IC) employees love. However, one of the major challenges that is yet to be solved is how to effectively manage a remote team. Effective remote team management starts with trust and accountability with your team, but going forward how can managers continue to support their team and provide transparency in a remote world? Manager of Customer Success, Natalia Alquati, explains that using tools like Asana for project management and visibility has greatly helped her team. Managers like Alquati will likely need to expand their breadth of tools in 2022 as more remote workplace needs arise.
3. Early-career employees will determine the future of work
“The Internet had to exist for 10 years before we had Facebook. And then Facebook had to be around for 10 years for us to have TikTok. The drivers of the future work are the next generation.” – Mateo Williford, Engineering Manager, Integrations.
Williford suggests that the next generation of workers who have just entered the workforce will have the biggest influence on the future of the workplace in the next 10 years. For individuals beginning their careers, remote and hybrid work are the only examples of professional work they have. Tyler Snellings, Vice President of Finance, puts it in perspective: “People getting into the workforce now aren’t going to put up with an hour-long commute if they never did it before.” This notion suggests that we may never return to the “norm” of in-person work, having a brick and mortar office, and dreaded commutes. Or, will the newer generations of workers demand that we return to what was?
4. Creating an inclusive work environment is crucial
There is no doubt that diversity, equity, and inclusion work has been the forefront of major changes across all industries. As companies continue to learn and invest in DEI programs and initiatives, one thing we may see in 2022 is more genuine and actionable inclusion and accessibility efforts. Hybrid and remote work has presented a unique challenge in how teams communicate with each other, and speaking in a video meeting with cameras on is not a comfortable experience for all employees. Security Architect, Lucas Nicodemus shares that there is a different kind of pressure to speak in a virtual meeting that didn’t exist in in-person meetings. When in-person, it is easier to find a natural pause in the conversation to interject and share feedback or ask a question. However, in virtual meetings, you have to unmute and disrupt the presenter or ask in the chatbox. Both tend to feel disruptive, as it demands the attention of all attendees. This is where a tool like Poll Everywhere can help foster inclusive conversations at the workplace. Nicodemus says “Using a Poll Everywhere Q&A is a much easier way to share a low friction question than using the chatbox or unmuting which can disrupt the flow of the conversation.” Williford agrees, stating that in 2022, people will realize the importance of a tool like Poll Everywhere in hearing every voice and “getting the most out of every employee.”
Technology and Software-as-a-Service predictions
1. The major consolidation of software
The biggest change we can expect to see in 2022 is the major consolidation of software, especially amongst the major software companies like Google, Cisco/Webex, and Microsoft. Director of Product, Brian Goodman predicts that these companies will consolidate their services and acquire smaller companies to create a holistic software suite, expanding their existing services into one-stop shops for hybrid work tools. These suites could include cloud storage, collaboration tools like shared documents, video conferencing, instant messaging, and engagement tools like Poll Everywhere. In 2020 and 2021, many organizations rushed to find tools that supplemented the lack of in-person collaboration and engagement. Now with software licenses reaching their one year mark and budgets through the roof, organizations are more cognizant of the tools they use and how it integrates with the rest of their technology stack. Constant context switching between different tools plus security and finance-related concerns are causing fatigue that will drive this consolidation.
2. Prioritize security and compliance
In a similar vein to the above, Poll Everywhere predicts that the quick adoption of different products to fuel remote work will have natural consequences down the line. Nicodemus says that “not all companies are created equal and many products and companies with less-secure foundations do not have the resources to do necessary security measures.” Nicodemus predicts that intentionality around security and compliance will bear fruit in 2022, as it is no longer sufficient to just have security certifications. Instead, it is important to build security intentionality into the fundamental practices of your business.
3. Remote work’s effect on data collection and privacy
Similar to security, data privacy has experienced major change in the past few years. Marketing Operations Manager Michael Honhongva says that consumers are increasingly conscientious about their data and how it is used. New laws and regulations are being passed each year, and how we gather data on product usage has shifted. Business Analytics and Engineering Manager Cory Buecker predicts that in 2022, we won’t be able to just pay lip service to data privacy, and instead will need to fully comply with data privacy laws like GDPR, CCPA, and more.
What is Poll Everywhere doing in 2022?
Following many of the predictions outlined above, Poll Everywhere is dedicated to continuously improving our engagement tool, developing secure products that integrate with any tech stack, and creating an inclusive and welcoming work environment for both our own teams and for teams around the world using our product. In 2022, we strive to scale up our capabilities while also continuing our mission of making presentations more inclusive. What is something you’d like to see from us? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter (@PollEverywhere) or LinkedIn.