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2022: Future of Work Predictions from Technology Leaders

2021 will forever be remembered as the year during which hybrid working became standard practice, with the pandemic forcing businesses to digitally transform their workflows at an unprecedented speed.

By the time restrictions were tentatively lifted earlier in the year, businesses were capable of achieving the same level of productivity both in and outside of the office, and the transition to hybrid work presented itself as the natural progression. While many organisations chose to resist the trend, the future of work has since been a hot topic, with companies recognising that constant innovation in the field will be key to business success moving forward.

Below, industry leaders offer their thoughts on how 2022 will continue to push boundaries in the world of work and how companies are setting themselves up to ride the momentous wave of further innovation.

Michele Romanow, Co-Founder & President at Clearco

In 2022, the face of entrepreneurship has to change. Why? Because before the pandemic, 2.8% of funding went to women-led startups, and that figure dropped to 2.3% in 2020.

Traditional funding has failed this generation of founders, particularly women and those from minority communities. There is incredible entrepreneurial talent out there that just needs to be unlocked.

The good news is that power is shifting away from the venture capital industry and into the hands of entrepreneurs. It is now possible to get fair and unbiased capital in a matter of hours rather than months based on the strength of your business, not who you know or where you’re from.

Stuart Templeton, Head of UK, Slack

It’s time to let go of the old ways of working as they’re simply not fit for purpose anymore. In fact, our latest Future Forum survey revealed 76% of employees now want flexibility in where they work, and 93% want flexibility in when they work. We therefore can’t retrofit the office life we once knew with the future of how we work.

“In order to improve employee productivity, creativity and help increase the diversity of company workforces moving forwards, 2022 will be the year businesses create their own digital headquarters as a central place for work and social interaction.

“This isn’t to say workers won’t meet in-person again, but it does mean that most physical spaces, like offices, will become creative spaces for the likes of brainstorming, teamwork and in-person get togethers. By prioritising a digital HQ, employees will be able to work asynchronously in a distributed work environment that allows them to strike a balance between remaining productive, while avoiding burnout.

“Only when businesses overhaul their existing infrastructure and transform their digital space into a HQ where work happens, will they succeed in the years ahead.

Simon O’Kane, Head of International, Asana

Scaling efficiencies will be key to business success in 2022. According to our research, organisations of 5,000+ employees are currently wasting 63% of their time on ‘work about work’; searching for information, switching between apps and holding unnecessary meetings. As only 16% of knowledge workers say their company is ‘very effective’ at goals, businesses can first address this wastage by aligning teams around overarching objectives. By using a work management platform, organisations will be well placed to set company-wide goals that are open to all, giving employees clear direction and purpose in their work and reducing the need for status meetings.

Aligning on goals works in tandem with prioritising visibility to scale efficiencies across organisations. Having to use too many tools can make reporting on work progress burdensome. By using a work management platform, businesses can automate status reports and goal progress, which in turn will keep employees informed and motivated, without taking them away from deep work. Teams will also be able to adapt their priorities and efforts in real time, as they’ll always know where work stands.

Having workflows in place is key to improving connection between teams - especially as 34% of employees have said that collaborating effectively is their biggest challenge at work. Organisations have the ability to power projects with ease by using pre-built workflow templates. By bypassing the need for expensive tools and IT help, pre-built workflows effectively scale processes across organisations. By harnessing tools that give employees greater alignment on goals and foster visibility and collaboration across teams, businesses will be able to scale efficiencies and achieve clarity despite unclear times.

Larry Gadea, CEO and Founder, Envoy

In 2022, we’ll see a lot more trial and error as companies figure out how to draw more of their people back to the office. Workplace apps that make work life easier will be the next big thing. We’ll see automation of tasks on the phone like submitting IT tickets or finding an available conference room. Or, checking who’s in the office and when - so teammates can reserve desks together. Choosing where you sit based on what type of work you’re doing. Virtual mapping, touchless access, reserving your desk, lunch, or parking space. All this and more will be available through an app on your phone.

Fast forward a decade, many people won’t have a designated office but they’ll be working out of an office. The demand for coworking space has risen dramatically. We’re seeing companies start to monetize extra desk space in the wake of hybrid and remote work. It’ll be the norm for everyday companies to rent out their space - desks, event space, meeting rooms, roof decks, anything and everything.

The future of work won’t be five days in the office. Nor will it be entirely remote. The answer lies somewhere in between. My prediction: the companies that win in the next decade will be those that think deeply about what it means to create a workplace culture that helps people thrive.

Peter Harris, COO, Pipedrive

It’s safe to say that the last year has been challenging for both employees and employers. How we work continues to be completely redefined. As the business world navigates the challenges of Covid, the one thing that is crystal clear is that traditional business practices will never be the same.

One of the lasting effects of the pandemic has been the need to improve efficiency - by working smarter, and not harder, it provides some much needed breathing space. In 2022, we anticipate that this major acceleration in digital transformation and increase in automation will continue. Reducing manual tasks through effective business tools will afford businesses more time for offline relationships, building trust, making connections with people and working towards a completely customer-first approach. It’s never been so important for businesses to have deep relationships with their customers to react quickly and accurately to their ever changing needs.

Successful businesses, in 2022, will not only adopt automation and digitalisation, but they will also ensure that its implementation is a well-planned, structured process that is supported by the entire management body. Businesses that do so will capture new demand levels even as competition continues to increase.

Sacha Michaud, Co-founder & VP, Public Affairs at Glovo

“In 2020, businesses were forced to overhaul pre-existing working models at a moment’s notice to adapt to the conditions of the pandemic, allowing for more flexibility than ever in terms of our working environment. Whilst many feared that this year would encourage a reversion back to old ways, 2021 has solidified the importance of flexible work in today’s economy, and the rapid growth of the gig economy has proven to be yet another example of how our desire for flexibility has manifested itself.

As we approach 2022, it’s clear that the gig economy will only continue to develop throughout the year, with global gig-economy transactions set to grow by 17% a year to around $455 billion by 2023, according to Mastercard. This rapid maturation of the market marks an exciting time for workers and businesses alike.

However, the truth is that legislation is often slow to keep pace with fast-developing trends, and in this case, workers are the ones suffering from the sluggish response to recent growth in the gig economy. Social rights standards are being overlooked, and gig workers are being left without insurance coverage, access to training and a consistent income, deterring many from continuing this line of employment.

It is therefore crucial that next year, local authorities and businesses collaborate to ensure that workers are receiving the benefits and support that they deserve. If we continue to ignore the importance of this side of the economy, we risk passing up an opportunity to reshape the way that we work forever.“

Benji Vaughan, CEO, Disciple

“It’s been another transformative year in the digital sphere, from the rise of the NFTs to the metaverse. What’s remained true for many businesses is the challenge of cultivating the attention of consumers, and retaining it. This has been even more competitive as society has opened up.

People are used to mindlessly scrolling on social media and consuming content with little to no engagement. Businesses must bring their audience together in one place, connecting them to each other and the content they truly value.

The creative industry has paved the way here by building online communities of like-minded individuals. I anticipate that more entrepreneurs will take advantage of online communities in 2022.

Unlike centralised social media platforms, creators and entrepreneurs can own all aspects of their community platform, allowing them to analyse engagement data as well as monetise and engage with their audience as they please.“

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Technology Experts .

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