Workplace Trends in 2022 | EAPA-SA

If there is one thing the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us, it is that we probably should not try to predict the future. Who could have foreseen a global pandemic that would turn the world of work on its head? On the turn, organisations have been forced to revolutionise both their employee and client-orientated business models, compelling them to take on new digital processes at the drop of a hat. With ongoing change as a backdrop, here are six workplace trends predicted for 2022.

Adapt or die

It is flexible organisations that will have the most chance of success in 2022. If the last 21 months has taught employers anything, it is that flexibility in the workplace, including the rapid adaptation of employee policies and procedures, is critical to long-term success. Organisations have learned that it is not so much finding a single, clever solution to an unanticipated problem, but more of a willingness to be ready to adjust – being open to the fact that some solutions are experimental. Strategies may work, or not, and new approaches may have to be modified or even discarded.

“It is flexible organisations that will have the most chance of success in 2022.”

Hybrid workplaces could create a dual workforce

A level playing field for all employees is essential, regardless of their physical location. In 2022, business leaders may have to focus on curtailing a growing prejudice against remote workers, if they want the hybrid model to succeed for their organisation. A cultural shift will most certainly need to be engineered and managers will have to take steps to ensure that all workers are treated equally and made to feel included, thereby guarding against remote workers not being treated fairly as compared with their office counterparts. 

“A level playing field for all employees is essential, regardless of their physical location.” 

Workplace culture will exist beyond office walls

It is important for organisations to ensure that their efforts to instil organisational culture is reaching all employees? Some organisations already understand the challenges of building and maintaining a consistent culture across multiple locations and extending it to remote workers. Any effort to achieve consistency of culture in a hybrid workplace, defined by both employee location and employment type (including traditional employees and tenured remote workers), will entail multiple components. Leaders will need to develop a multifaceted campaign designed to establish organisational culture across the board.


More focus on employee engagement and experience

Employees may currently be underwhelmed by their current digital “office” experiences. If organisations are not focusing on this already, in 2022 they will need to start consciously engaging their employees to keep their hearts and minds “at work”. Going one step further, two of the most pivotal departments in terms of impacting day-to-day employee experience (EX) are Human Resources and the IT department. These normally disconnected departments are going to have to collaborate in redesigning the digital workplace experience in order for employees to engage and retain employees. Forward-thinking companies will survey then upgrade and optimise their technology to allow the creation of a more inclusive and collaborative work experience for everyone.


Holistic employee-wellbeing will remain centre stage

Employees want to feel accepted in bringing their whole selves to work (or they will find somewhere else where they can). In 2022, asking employees to check their personal problems at the door will no longer be acceptable. Progressive companies will accommodate this shift and show greater empathy for family time and overall health – knowing that these are priorities that employees are no longer willing to sacrifice for their jobs. Employers will be open to how employees want to restructure the way they schedule their work time to create a work-life balance that accommodates their not-negotiable priorities.


Greater focus on the mental wellbeing of employees

COVID-19 has significantly affected the mental well-being of employees, the knock on effect of which will be felt for many years to come. A focus on nurturing employee wellbeing will be recognised as vital to developing workplace resilience. Organisations who want to nurture happy, engaged and productive employees will provide ongoing wellness programmes that cover a range of employee needs. This includes providing emotional support and counselling care brought by trained Employee Assistance Practitioners (EAPs). 



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