We Asked Business Leaders What Will the Workplace Look Like in 2022

18 Jan 2022

It would be utterly repetitive and rather futile to say the world has changed.

The world has always been changing, so "change" itself is nothing new.

And yet, for the past two years, our lives and businesses have been turned upside down like never before. Not only were we (and some continue to be, at least intermittently) on lockdowns, but we also changed the way we shop, the way we socialize, and, of course, the way we work.

We may not have everything set in place in this "new normal" world, but COVID has definitely accelerated many of the changes we'd already seen before the emergence of the virus. Working remotely or in hybrid work models is, by far, one of the most important high-level changes we've had to work with for the past two years.

How will this affect workplaces and how they look in 2022? We wrote down our thoughts and asked a few workplace leaders to share their insights.

Employee Experience

In 2020, people went from working full-time in an office (or having a scarce number of "WFH days" given as a company benefit) to working full time at home. The reality of having to move your office to your living room and kitchen hit everyone in ways that were very different from what people had been imagining before the pandemic.

While some people took advantage of this model to work remotely, others had more difficulties adjusting to the changes. In the end, however, most agreed that a mix between working remotely and working in an office is, probably, the healthiest way to be productive and have a good life/work balance.

Efficiency and Productivity

Statistically, people who work from home are more productive than those who work in an office. In the same fashion, people who work remotely are also more efficient at their jobs.

In 2020, many business owners and CEOs were annoyed by this, because productivity meant a lot of money saved to them . However today it's clear that employees take less sick days, work more, and, maybe even more importantly, they are far more efficient and productive working from home. To be more specific, they are 47% more productive in a remote setting than they used to be in a 100% in-office setting.

(Hybrid) Workplace Technology

With great changes comes great adaptation to the "new normal". Workplace technology to support new remote and hybrid work models was not invented during the pandemic. But its popularity has surely skyrocketed as a result of all the shifts in perspective companies have been embracing.

Some of the pieces of workplace technology you will definitely want to consider this year include:

  1. Wireless video conferencing tools are at the core of remote work models, which is why you will want to have it ready before the pandemic hits our country .
  2. Quality microphones to help your employees run successful meetings in a hybrid capacity.
  3. You might also think about allowing people to bring their own devices (which also means you will have to create a sturdy Bring Your Own Device policy).
  4. Desk and room booking software to help you smoothly transition and sustain a hybrid working model.
  5. Technology to help you upgrade your security (both for those employees who choose to work in office and for those who choose to work remotely or alternate between office settings and remote locations).

Workplace Safety

If, pre-pandemic, workplace safety was mostly a matter of making sure the structural integrity of the office building and electrical equipment is on par with all the legal standards, COVID-19 taught us differently.

Today, workplace safety is just as much a matter of "making sure nothing will crumble or electrocute" as much as it is "making sure everything has been properly disinfected and that everyone is maintaining social distance". We wouldn't have thought of installing disinfectant dispensers in offices or single-use gloves for operating coffee machines before 2020, but in 2021, this was very much standard for offices that want to make sure their employees are as safe as possible.

Recruitment, Onboarding, and Retention

Since everyone moved, quite suddenly, online, a lot of businesses didn't quite know how to adjust HR processes like recruitment, onboarding, or retention. Human Resources professionals had to make these adjustments swiftly, and they had to do it well. Most importantly though, many found themselves having to run through the ole' trial-and-error path to determine what works and what doesn't for the organizations they represent.

Almost two years into the pandemic, HR nails it perfectly. Companies and their Human Resources departments have developed ways to recruit people just as efficiently as they did "in real life". Moreover, more and more companies are open to recruit globally, confident that both their recruitment and their onboarding processes have adapted to the realities of remote work.

As for retention, businesses have found ways to make sure they stay close to their employees. From little games and drink nights on Zoom during the pandemic to finding ways to ship little gifts to their teams, both HR pros and managers have tamed their way through the wilderness of having to go "long-distance" on their relationships with their teams.

As it seems, it all turned out more than fine. Both companies and employees agree that hybrid work models are probably the best way to the future. But on both ends of this bargain, there are also significant numbers of people who would much rather take the "remote forever" approach to work.

That's fine. Post-pandemic, we all have the tools, the processes, and the right expectations to meet employees where they are and give them the flexibility they need to make them happy.

And that, our dear reader, is what we think can be named the single most important change that has occurred in workplaces in 2021. Things have settled down and we are all ready now to embrace the future of work in all its colors, shapes, and flavors. But we promised to share insights from other business leaders as well, so read on to find out what they think will be driving change in workplaces this year. 

Business Leaders Share Their Insights About Workplaces in 2022

"We enter 2022 with as much uncertainty as we did 2021! While many organizational leaders foresaw a full return to office in late 2021, many of those plans have been put on ice indefinitely. 

Instead, a formal balance will be struck between remote and on-site working, with two or three days in the office seen to be achieving the optimal operational model for employers and employees alike. This inevitably will see organizations shrink their footprint, however, with physical workspace and technology becoming increasingly symbiotic, the workplace experience will realize dramatic improvements for the employee.  

Driving forward, we’ll also see the workspaces we inhabit become more diverse to facilitate different working styles and become more resilient. The fixed open plan workplace will continue to shrink in the rearview mirror. The winners of this transformation though will be those who seamlessly weave technology through the working environment to support this new-found diversity of working styles."

John C. Wang, CEO, IAdea


"When we talk about the labor market, I think the key word for 2022 will be: efficiency. It will not matter, at least not as before, where you will do your work, but rather how efficient you will be.

The workplace in 2022 will certainly continue in the same three directions that we currently have: office work, work from home and hybrid work.

What will change, however, and we can already see this from the reviews that employees write on Undelucram.ro, as well as on our similar platforms in the region, is the fact that employees will no longer be required the way of work, but they will have the opportunity to choose it. This will lead to flexibility and more trust in employees. And trust could be the solution to many things that happened with employees in the previous two years: overtime, even working from home, anxiety and the emotional state of employees, misunderstandings and discrepancies in expectations or even burnout.

Thus, trust that people can choose where to work from and that they will do their job without extra surveillance, direct and fair communication between employees and employers will be directions that will certainly lead in 2022 to higher efficiency."

Costin Tudor, Founder & CEO, Undelucram.ro


"I believe the work environment will be even more dynamic in 2022. There was some reluctance during the first and even the second year of the pandemic but now, we are able to see more movement & flexibility more than ever. With global companies addressing talent in new markets, the line between remote and in office roles was blurred out and there's more focus on top professionals to find better employers or work environments."

Mihai Cepoi, Founder & CEO, Jobful

Twenty-twenty-two can bring it on. Of course, there is still a lot of uncertainty over what exactly will happen next. But this year, the workplace will look even better than in 2020 and 2021, precisely because we have now a lot more confidence in the tools and processes that help all employees (remote or in-office) be happy, productive, and contempt with their jobs. And that’s something truly exciting to look forward to!

Topics: Office of the future

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