Saturday 1st January 2022
Are you ready for flexible work in 2022?

If the last two years have taught any of us anything, it’s that it’s impossible to know what the future has in store. This is not only true in our personal lives, but also in the world of work: the pandemic has directly and indirectly changed so much of what we do, where and when we do it, and how we work with other people.

So this blog isn’t the result of a crystal ball making hard and fast predictions about how the business world will evolve this year. Because the truth is that nobody can be certain of what’s going to happen.

What we can do, however, is highlight some trends that may well have an influence on the year ahead. And one in particular is already making its presence felt all over the world, and quite possibly within your workforce.

Why employee experience matters

That trend is that employees increasingly want positive, supportive experiences from their working lives, to the point where they’re not willing to put up with employers who won’t deliver them. This has been highlighted especially in the United States, where the ‘Great Resignation’ has taken hold: in a five-month period between April and August 2021, some 20 million American employees quit their jobs.

At the same time, employees want to be able to work more flexibly, ideally by being able to work across a combination of home and the office. Prudential’s research has found that two-thirds of American employees want greater autonomy around their working arrangements, and nearly 90% want to work remotely at least once a week. So it’s now clear that a flexible work offering is instrumental for businesses to provide the experiences that their workforces are looking for.

Making it a win-win situation

This sounds like it might put employers like you in a bit of a bind. At face value, it can sound like employees call all the shots now, and businesses have just got to change and like it. But better employee experiences driven by flexible work don’t have to be negative from the employer’s perspective. There’s a different way to think about it, something that we highlighted in our recent eBook on flexible work.

If you can give employees the flexibility they want, they’ll feel more satisfied and comfortable in their working environment each day (wherever that happens to be). This will make them feel more able to perform at their best, helping to increase their productivity – and that’s before you consider the commuting time they’ll save on the days they work at home. And with increased productivity, you can get more from your existing resources and drive greater revenue growth and profitability making flexible work a win-win situation.

This business success then feeds into the workforce, who feel like they’re contributing to something positive, and therefore feel even more satisfied – and the virtuous circle continues.

How technology can help

Of course, making this happen isn’t necessarily that simple. Every business is different, and so you’ll have to work out how best to apply flexible work to your employees.

What is clear is that a rigid approach will likely be counter-productive. Putting in place a regimented strategy, where set employees or teams work from the office or from home on fixed days each week, will compromise everybody and please nobody. Instead, you should consider how best to give control over defining flexible work arrangements to individual employees, who can then tailor them to suit their professional and personal preferences.

Where technology is so important here is in ensuring the business can still run smoothly. Every employee working to their own schedule is potentially a recipe for chaos, but innovations like workspace management tools can bring some order and coordination to your operations. Employees can book workspaces and meeting rooms in advance, so that they know they can be productive on the days they visit the office, and can set their status so that co-workers can easily track them down for collaborative purposes.

So while we still don’t have that crystal ball to look one year into the future, we’re confident in saying that flexibility will put you on the right track in 2022.

Research report: Attitudes to Hybrid Working.

Attitudes to Hybrid Working Report

The impact of hybrid work on employees and employers.

Download our research to get the full picture.

Download Now!