Ten trends defining the future of work in 2022

Posted on: 18th February 2022

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From hyper flexibility to reduced overheads, hybrid working is catalysing numerous positive shifts in the way people work.

The hybrid model – where people can choose to split their time between working from home, a local flexible office and coworking space and an HQ – has gone mainstream. In just a couple of years, it has formed a major shift that has transformed the way many people conduct their professional lives, giving them greater flexibility, autonomy and harmony when it comes to balancing work and home life.

But what is coming next? IWG’s new white paper The Future of Work reveals ten trends that will define the future of work in 2022. While some are already taking shape, others will develop over the coming months and beyond, as the hybrid movement continues to accelerate around the world.

Human relations

During the pandemic, employee wellbeing – both physical and mental – became more important than ever. Moving forwards, health will continue to be of prime importance, with ‘human relations’ taking the place of ‘human resources’. For example, we are already seeing employers such as Nike and Bumble offering staff paid leave so they can reboot or spend some time on a passion project.

Hyper flexibility

Last year, an IWG survey revealed that almost half of all office workers would quit if asked to return to the office five days a week. Since then, the demand for flexible working has increased greatly, and many now consider it a necessity when finding a new job. This means that it’s workers, rather than employers, who now have the power to structure the working week.

Workforce dispersion

With employees able to work from anywhere, companies will be able to hire from a national or even global pool of candidates, opening up job opportunities for people all over the planet. At the same time, employees, freed from the necessity of the daily commute to a head office, will be able to choose to live in suburban, rural or coastal areas where they can have a better work/life balance. Diversity and inclusion will also be positively impacted by the extension of companies’ recruitment boundaries.

Suburban revitalisation

New life is being breathed into suburbs, towns and villages as people are no longer tied to large offices in city centres. In the UK, IWG has seen the highest increase in demand for its flexible workspaces in suburban areas such as Bromsgrove and Andover, and this trajectory is set to continue. “With hundreds more rural and suburban flexible working locations in the pipeline, we expect a wide range of vibrant local communities to develop with thriving businesses at their heart,” says Dixon.

Part-time commutes

For hybrid workers, travelling to a city centre office is no longer necessary every day, but many people need to attend a couple of days a week or month. Less commuting means less stress and more time to be productive, go to the gym or simply get a bit more sleep. It’s also better for the environment. For those professionals choosing to use a local flexspace, most of their commutes will involve a healthy walk or cycle ride of 15 minutes or less.

Experience design

Even though people will be working remotely some of the time, HQs will continue to be important for many companies. In the future, workspaces will be designed to spark creativity, boost collaboration and nurture a sense of ‘togetherness’, which is important for teams who don’t sit next to each other on a daily basis. Consequently, ‘workplace experience managers’ will become vital hires.

Virtual collaboration

Cloud-based technology has been central to the success of hybrid working, and more online tools are likely to be rolled out to help employees be more creative and communicative. A little further in the future, the metaverse will take video-conferencing to the next level (or realm!), allowing people to interact as avatars in whatever VR setting they choose.

Green dividends

With sustainability very much front of mind for businesses of all kinds and sizes, the switch to hybrid will play a much greater role in helping companies meet their ESG (environmental, social and governance) targets, not least by reducing the carbon footprint associated with vast real estate portfolios and daily commuting. Many Regus centres are also becoming champions of sustainability – such as the one located in Powerhouse Brattørkaia, which is Norway’s first energy-positive office building – meaning coworking is becoming an ever-more ethical choice.

Reduced overheads

Office rent is typically one of a company’s biggest costs, so one of the many benefits of hybrid working is that it offers the opportunity for downsizing, as not all employees need to be present at the same time. This results in financial savings – not just in terms of rent but also utility bills, cleaning fees and office equipment. What’s more, when it comes to forging a presence in new locations, providing employees with access to satellite flexspaces allows businesses to grow in line with how many employees they have without having to commit to rigid and expensive long-term leases.

Productivity metrics

Instead of focusing on presenteeism as a measure of employee commitment, companies are now more likely to evaluate effectiveness based on an individual’s output. Cloud-based workflow tools such as Quixy, Hive and Nintex are increasingly being integrated into company operations, making it easier to monitor, track and assess who is doing what and whether deadlines are being met.

To find out about the latest trends in the world of work, read IWG’s new white paper, The Future of Work: a trends forecast for 2022.

With locations in thousands of neighbourhoods all over the world, find out how Regus can help your business thrive in the new, hybrid world of work.

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Topics in this article

  • Work Trends


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