Office and productivity trends to watch in 2022

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Office and productivity trends in 2022

The disruption over the last two years caused by the pandemic has made it very difficult to monitor productivity. As we return to the office, what will the new techniques and trends be? And how will they impact our productivity?

The Business Optimizer team has gathered some thoughts on what’s next for office life and the world of productivity improvement.

#1. The “work from home” trend will continue

According to the Nitro productivity report for 2022, 46 percent of workers expect to work from home more next year.

Employers will need to support this change – it will be key for employee recruitment and retention as we move forward. Seventy-five percent of those questioned said work-from-home support will be extremely important when evaluating future job opportunities.

#2. An increased focus on working towards net zero

All businesses need to have a plan for how they are going to achieve net zero as soon as possible – ideally to achieve it by the end of this decade. For many organisations, this is necessarily going to require business leaders to redraft strategic goals and business plans and to adjust processes.

Practical changes to operations might include switching to green electricity (or becoming a micro-generator if you have the land and space), making it easy for staff to walk or cycle to work, or greening the supply chain to ensure you only work with organisations that are also committed to achieving net zero.

#3. Ditch the plastic for more sustainable products

At the same time as we tackle the climate crisis, we need to deal with sustainability in the context of natural resources and waste. The plastics crisis, in particular, has caused serious concern around the world.

Manufacturers and retailers are responding to consumer concerns by making it easier than ever to switch to more sustainable versions of everyday consumables – whether it is ditching the plastic for paper or switching to more sustainable stationary. If you want more on this topic, read our 22 steps for making your office more sustainable.

#4. Productivity monitoring

According to Forbes, an increasing number of employers are investing in employee monitoring and analytics – and this could be something we will be seeing more of in 2022. With this in mind, Gartner has outlined some timely advice about the ethics of employee data collection and a few dos and don’ts to consider.

Employers will need to be extremely careful, however, about how such technologies are deployed and used. Staff may not like to be so closely monitored and any subsequent resistance or lowering of morale may have a much bigger detrimental effect on productivity than any positive impact that an employee monitoring report could make.

#5. A changing emphasis from efficiency to resilience

Gartner reports that the pandemic has underlined the importance of organisational resilience. Whereas in 2019, the consultancy firm found that 55% of organisational redesigns were focused on streamlining roles, supply chains and workflows to increase efficiency, this approach created fragilities.

Now, to build a more responsive organisation, Gartner is recommending that organisations design roles and structures around outcomes to increase agility and flexibility and formalise how processes can flex. This will also require them to give employees varied, adaptive and flexible roles so they acquire cross-functional knowledge and training.

We know that adaptive roles, flexibility, and investment in training can all be powerful drives for employee satisfaction and productivity – so, if this trend does follow Gartner’s predictions, these changes could well go a long way to improving productivity as well as building resilience.

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