The ‘Great Redefinition’ Of Work In 2022

Over the past 18 months, there has been relentless attention around workforce and workplace themes like the “Great Resignation” and the “Great Migration,” which has raised some important questions: What was real? What was overblown? What did we get just plain wrong in 2021?

 

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Don’t Let Employees Pick Their WFH Days

As hybrid work becomes increasingly popular how can companies efficiently embrace and manage a hybrid workforce?

 

Should it be the managers or employees to decide which days to work from home and which days to go in the office?

 

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As U.S. states and the federal government start to roll back Covid-19 restrictions, and companies and workers start to firm up their office return plans, one point is becoming clear: The future of working from home (WFH) is hybrid.

 

But another question is controversial: How much choice should workers have in the matter?

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3 ways the pandemic changed what the office will look like

It is time to reimagine the workplace as offices reopen. The role of the office is expected to change vastly post pandemic.

 

The 3 key areas that will see changes are health and workplace wellness; purposed and private spaces for focused work; and increasing role of the office for building culture.

 

Shot of a group of young businesspeople having a meeting outside of an office
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Last spring, CNBC Make It asked workplace experts how the pandemic could change the future of work.

 

Brent Capron, the interior design director at architecture firm Perkins and Will’s New York studio, predicted workers would come back to the office on a hybrid schedule. They’d continue to do individual focused work from home and convene in office spaces redesigned as “elaborate conference centers” for large gatherings.

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How to Design an Office Reopening Plan for Effective Hybrid Work

As more companies embrace the hybrid work model it also begs the question –  what strategy should companies adopt to ensure a successful office reopening?

 

How to Design an Office Reopening Plan for Effective Hybrid Work
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Companies across the world are thinking about reopening their office doors and welcoming their employees back. Too many, though, are adopting a “wait and see” strategy–that is, they’re planning to unlock their doors and wait to see which–and how many–employees show up. Companies that adopt this approach are setting themselves up for irreparable damage.

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4 Things Gen Z and Millennials Expect From Their Workplace

As expectations on how we work and the workplace are changing how can employers attract the new generation workforce back to the workplace?

 

  • Gen Z and millennials now make up 46% of the full-time U.S. workforce
  • Gen X and Baby Boomers prioritize their desire for ethical leadership
  • Diversity and inclusion are very important to younger generations

 

According to Gallup, Gen Z and millennials now make up nearly half (46%) of the full-time workforce in the U.S.

 

To develop the next generation of organizational leaders, every employer needs to be asking: What do our younger workers want from the workplace?

 

In 2018, Gallup asked Gen Z and millennials what they look for most in an employer — and their answers were surprisingly similar. In fact, these themes have only been amplified over the past year.

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The Future Workspace That Isn’t the Workplace

As offices reopen there is an on-going debate whether people will return to the office full time or continue to work remotely. Could there be another option that people can choose where to work from?

 

London WeWork South Bank. Image via WeWork

 

As we begin to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been much speculation and debate about whether we will return to our old habits of working in the office 5 days a week, or if working from home creates equal or greater productivity. However, many believe that the future of the workforce will largely be focused on a balance between in-person and in-office working, and a form of remote working, that summates into a new, hybrid model. But if you’re not at home, and you’re not working, then you must be somewhere else- exploring the true in-between of a public and a private space. Enter the concept of the “third” place, which is used to describe everything from coffee shops to banks, and even co-working spaces. If you’ve ever studied for an exam at a bookstore, or even dropped into an airport restaurant to catch up on some work, then you too, have visited a “third” place.

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Evolutions In Workspace Design

Zeiss Michigan Quality Excellence Center. Photograph courtesy of SmithGroup. Copyright James Ewing. 

As companies dig into to the future state of work within their own organizations, numerous workplace models will be examined, including satellite offices; hub-and-spoke models; networks of smaller, lower-cost office spaces closer to employees’ homes, to name a few. At the same time, the home office market will also grow exponentially. In fact, we have already seen a handful of office furniture manufacturers pivot to direct-to-consumer marketplaces. Regardless of the model, we remain confident that design solutions will revolve around the employee experience, with a keen eye on flexibility and choice, technology, sustainability and wellbeing, inclusion, and diversity—all culminating into culture-driven environments.

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AI’s Nuanced Impact On The Workspace Will Be Bigger Than Covid In The Long Run

Technology including artificial intelligence will play an increasing role and driving transformation in the workplace especially AI will influence how we work in the future.

 

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A wave of automation and artificial intelligence adoption by larger firms is expected start reshaping both who works in offices and what they are doing amid a widespread return to the office.

 

A 2020 survey by Deloitte found that 8 in 10 corporate effects had already implemented some form of robotic process automation, or RPA, a multibillion-dollar industry dedicated to automating repetitive tasks, increasing efficiency and decreasing expenses.

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FUTURE OF WORK: 3 COMPELLING REASONS TO BRING WORKERS BACK INTO THE OFFICE

How is the office still relevant in the age of flexible work? Despite the rise in remote work, studies have shown that most workers do not want to work from home all the time. Most would still want to work from the office a few times a week. So what are the primary drivers for workers returning to the office?

 

  • Gensler’s 2020 Workplace Survey found that only 12% of workers want to work from home all the time.
  • Why do employees want to go back to the office? For in-person meetings, socializing, and impromptu face-to-face collaboration.
  • But it’s also about health, as too much time spent working from home is putting additional strain on work/life separation, leading to stress and burnout.

 

By now, it’s clear that the office isn’t going away. And yet, with the rise in remote work and an increasing number of companies adopting hybrid work models, it is just as clear that the role of the office has evolved and the workplace is not likely to ever operate the same as it did prior to the coronavirus pandemic.

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