2022 workplace trends: What HR needs to know – and do – now

Experts Weigh In On 6 Critical Issues

 

Another weird year of work almost in the books. What kind of workplace trends can we anticipate in 2022?

 

Things will be different, that’s for sure. Many trends will be carved out of the changes the pandemic forced us all to make.

 

Others will reflect both employers’ and employees’ desire to get back to normal – even if it’s a new normal.

 

Here are the top six workplace trends HR pros will want to prepare for as we turn the calendar year.

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The Worst Part of Working From Home Is Now Haunting Reopened Offices

A person in a sweater at a desk in an office with headphones on.
Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by gorodenkoff/iStock/Getty Images Plus.

More than two years into our national experiment in working from home, one of the most popular arguments for returning to the office is about collaboration: Employees need to be on site, we’re told, because collaborating with one another has been harder to do when everyone is working from separate locations.

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Making sense of why executives are eager to get employees back in the office

People enter the Goldman Sachs headquarters building in New York, U.S., on Monday, June 14, 2021.
People enter the Goldman Sachs headquarters building in New York, U.S.,
Michael Nagle | Bloomberg | Getty Images

 

After two years, giddy executives appear on the brink of welcoming their workforces back to the office, whether their employees are ready or not.

 

“I can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to being together again,” Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook told his employees in a memo last week, outlining his company’s April 11 hybrid back-to-work plan.

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Rethinking The Hybrid Workplace Model As A Community Builder

 

From Parks and Recreation to Mad Men and of course, The Office, it’s no coincidence that some of the most iconic pieces of pop culture are presented in workplaces. Offices are central to not just our jobs but also to our relationships and aspirations. However, there’s no doubt the pandemic has transformed companies’ and their employees’ relationship to offices for the years and decades to come.

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Airbnb: Remote work creating flexible living policies, promoting travel

Man with tablet on the beach
Image: Kaspars Grinvalds/Shutterstock

As remote and hybrid work setups become more and more common with companies, some workers are finding that being flexible in working outside of their normal office space may be an amenity for employees. Airbnb has released a survey of 7,500 consumers in five countries detailing what workers are desiring most as companies adjust their in-office policies.

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Flex office spaces become a respite from working at home, commuting long distances

Hungerhub’s business more than tripled in 202l and expanded into Vancouver and Calgary as its work force has grown to 30, most of them hired during the pandemic. SUPPLIED

Even before the pandemic, Hungerhub.com never required its employees to come to the office. In fact, one employee works full-time from Brazil, and another is currently working virtually from Barcelona.

 

“The policy is, you can work from anywhere; it doesn’t matter, as long as you’re being productive,” says Sari Abdo, Hungerhub’s chief executive officer. The corporate catering company’s business more than tripled in 2021 and expanded into Vancouver and Calgary as its work force has grown to 30, most of them hired during the pandemic.

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How To Build A Flexible Workplace That Makes People Feel Right At Home (Even When They’re Not)

Early in my career, when I worked for HP Europe, I adopted a working practice that was perhaps a bit unconventional at the time. Instead of having a fixed workspace, I spent almost all my time working remotely — mostly at home — squeezing in a monthly visit to the Danish office and multiple visits to offices and customers across Europe. Colleagues used to worry about me. They asked, “Aren’t you bored sitting at home and never interacting with people?” I told them, “I interact with people every day. Just in their offices, not my own.” I had no trouble connecting with co-workers through technology and travel, and my productivity was just as high, if not more, as when I worked in the office.

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