5 trends that will redefine workspace policies in 2022

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There will be a focus on hybrid workplaces, employee wellbeing, training & upskilling, diversity & inclusion, and collaboration in office, Protima Achaya, India HR Head & APAC Talent Acquisition, Net App, believes.

Since the onset of the pandemic, the way people work has changed dramatically—whether they work from home or from offices. Workforce transitions have been one of the most defining aspects of operating amidst the new normal, and have changed the way organisations and employees engage with each other. There has been a tectonic shift in the balance of power as well, from businesses to people, and from "me" and "I" to "we" and "us."

Organisations that want to survive and grow in 2022 must address this mindset change as an important prerequisite to achieving collective goals. As part of their business strategy, forward-thinking HR teams are already contemplating a variety of future eventualities, which will include the following:

Hybrid workplaces: The new normal

With almost two years of remote working behind us, there are mixed thoughts and emotions about the way forward. Employees across many firms are mulling over their return to office, despite no end in sight to the pandemic. To ensure flexibility and improved work-life balance, businesses are developing their own hybrid work models that allow people to work from home and in the office. Work is now more of "what you do" rather than "where you do it from". In 2022, the hybrid work culture will become more relevant to attract and retain talent, while also ensuring they foster a sense of wellness and belonging in the workspace.

Employee wellbeing

The pandemic sparked much-needed conversations around employee wellbeing and mental health. The blurring of boundaries between work and personal life has resulted in an increase in stress levels. Companies are cognizant of this and understand the critical importance of building healthcare and well-being (including mental health) strategies into their plans. In the long run, a laser focus on prioritising employee wellness will define the new-age workplace.

Training and upskilling

When large-scale digitisation of operations took place in early 2021, organisations were quick to realise the importance of having a skilled workforce. Reskilling became the need of the hour and was one of the biggest drivers of change. Continuing the momentum, upskilling will be important in 2022 as well.

According to Skillsoft's Learning Trends India 2020 Report, human resource teams will shift focus to upskilling and reskilling in 2022 so that the workforce stays relevant in a dynamic work environment. Successful businesses will invest in this direction as well as manage both long-term and day-to-day work experiences more strategically. In the new year, HR will play a crucial role in fostering training and skill-building sessions for employees in order to build a more adaptable workforce.

Embracing diversity and inclusion

More innovation, better access to talent, and higher business outcomes are all aided by diversity, social inclusion, and a sense of belonging. These are designed to improve the demographic and cognitive variety of the workforce, foster an inclusive culture, and capitalise on this to meet business goals. Inclusion, equity, and diversity at the workplace have evolved into a key contributor to business success.

If employees do not feel that the company policies are fair and inclusive they will look for new opportunities. Many factors—both internal and external, cultural, and socio-political—have emerged in the last year that will have a significant impact on the environment in 2022.

Office as a collaboration hub

With enterprises embracing a hybrid workforce, flexible working has become inevitable. Amidst this, the demand for hot-desking has seen and is expected to witness a significant rise. By minimising redundant office space, the goal is to maximise space efficiency. The social aspect of hot-desking is often highlighted as a technique to stimulate cross-disciplinary collaboration, while flexibility is generally related to an increase in employee innovation. The office space will become more of a collaboration hub, where teams come together to brainstorm in small groups, celebrate milestones, work on joint projects, etc.

The culture of both work and the workplace are changing, and the dynamics will keep evolving with time. In the new year, flexibility, diversity, and reskilling will be top priorities for every organisation. There’s a lot to look forward to, as we continue to build workplaces that are future-ready.

This article was written by Protima Achaya, India HR Head & APAC Talent Acquisition, Net App.

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