For the first time, how and where we work has completely changed. Remote and hybrid work are disrupting the traditional workplace and ending the era of the office. The next generation of employees, Millennials and Generation Z, want some form of remote or hybrid work in their next job. The Great Resignation is shifting the power in the labor market, with employees showing that they will not tolerate below average compensation and work conditions in this new year.
To meet these demands, companies are allowing more and more employees to work remotely or hybrid to some capacity. However, many have yet to invest in building internal processes and structures to sustain a hybrid workforce. What can companies do to stand out and build a hybrid workplace that will withstand the test of time?
1. Consolidated software toolkits
One of the first acts companies did when going remote or hybrid was adapting a ton of new software and technologies to supplement the lack of in-person meetings and collaboration. Remote managing became a huge challenge for many. As a result, many adopted new software like video conferencing, collaboration tools, project management tools, and more. Employees are likely feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of drives, tools, and software that they now have to juggle on a day to day basis and experiencing decision fatigue as they pick which tool they want to use. To combat this, many major tech companies like Google and Microsoft are improving and expanding their suite of software to cover a lot of the tools used in hybrid work. Google launched the Google Workspace and Microsoft has Teams and Office 365. It will be important for companies to choose a suite of software that they trust and that their team enjoys using to prevent this decision fatigue and streamline processes.
2. New workplace benefits and perks
What once was a major perk for working at your organization may not look the same or equate to the same value in a hybrid workplace. Without an office, companies will need to innovate in their employee benefits and perks in order to keep their current employees and attract the best talent. Additionally, companies need to offer benefits that will properly support employees working remotely. Examples of popular benefits include home office stipends, internet reimbursement, and improved mental health resources. Companies will also need to invest in better technology like laptops, webcams, microphones, and more to run videoconferencing software and other hybrid work tools.
3. Increased focus on skills over roles
According to Gartner, one of the biggest trends we will see in 2022 is the separation of critical skills and roles. Gartner explains that “Before COVID-19, critical roles were viewed as roles with critical skills, or the capabilities an organization needed to meet its strategic goals.” For example, a Marketing Manager may be viewed as critical because their role focuses on having critical skills in marketing but also people management and organization. However, Gartner predicts that more companies need to focus on developing an employee’s critical skill that can open up multiple opportunities for career advancement. This could mean developing your employees into specialists and focusing on growth in their field instead of more generalist/management roles. This could result in a flatter organization structure, with managers specializing in people management and individual contributors specializing in their field.
4. Improve workplace efficiency with automation and AI
AI and automation are always included in trend forecasting but in 2022, they can play a huge role in success in hybrid work. According to Forbes, AI could help automate day-to-day processes and allow employees to focus on creative work, imagination, and more “human” elements of their jobs. A great example of automation is Asana’s “rules” – reactions to a user’s actions that will reorganize and prioritize tasks in a certain project. These rules take away the manual task of assigning, reorganization, and removing tasks and allow employees to focus on their work.
5. Security and basic threat prevention
Security is going to take the center stage in 2022. Having a distributed hybrid workforce has many benefits, but it does open up the possibility to various cyber attacks. Employees working in a coffee shop are vulnerable to sharing private information on public wifi and employees handling their own technology without access to an IT department could leave their machines vulnerable to attacks. Remote employees are more likely to be affected by social engineering and other cyber attacks. In 2022, companies will need to take measures to train and onboard employees from these security threats.
Hybrid work is undeniably here to stay and companies need to begin to take hybrid work seriously. This means investing in your employees and preparing them to be successful in a remote work environment. That is the best way to build a sustainable hybrid workplace that employees will prosper in. For more resources and tips, check out our remote work resources page with all of the best practices for managing hybrid teams and hosting engaging remote meetings.