The pandemic shook up the workplace as we knew it, forcing companies to rethink the necessity of a physical office confined to a specific geographic location. As we enter the new year, many companies are celebrating two years of remote work, adopting technologies, adjusting policies and procedures to keep up with the times, and researching the best course of action for their companies moving forward. Overall, this year was spent considering the options.
We also saw quite a few workplace solutions and tech sprout up this year as businesses continue to weed out what is best for their specific workforce and the strategy of their company. For example, Facebook launched their very own VR workspace â€” Horizon Workrooms, adding to the number of technological innovations that came to market in 2021.
Despite the surge in technology designed to aid companies in this era of consideration, tech has acted as a double-edged sword, leading to employee burnout and disengagement when used improperly. According to the United States Labor Department, 4.3 million U.S. workers quitOpens a new window their jobs in August 2021 alone, leading us to experience the â€œGreat Resignation.â€ Characterizing this year in a nutshell, the Great Resignation was coined to describe the plethora of resignations as employee demands change. To make matters worse, the number of job openings across all industries continues to increase exponentially.
With employees very much in the driver’s seat, companies have had to reexamine their workplace environments to retain and recruit talent. Remote work is one of the biggest driving factors for job seekers. So work from home will remain a focus in 2022, especially as companies play around with hybrid work models to smooth out the kinks.
1.Increased Competition for Talent
Although remote work has allowed companies to embrace a workforce unhinged from geographic constraints, it has also made it more difficult to attract talent, especially if a company is not offering the proper tools. For example, remote work only works if businesses maintain valuable collaboration and engagement among employees. It can have detrimental effects on company morale if business owners rely too heavily on the wrong tools. We’ve seen real-life examples of this as employees cite â€œZoom fatigueâ€ and â€œTeams tensionâ€ as contributing factors to burnout. For this reason, we will likely see an increase in the usage of digital solutions that offer life-like avatars in lieu of video platforms. This will take much-needed pressure off an employee’s appearance to put the emphasis back on the work being done.
As mentioned previously, recruiters are no longer limited to specific geographic locations, which opens them up to a much larger talent pool. Adversely, this also means they are competing with more companies for that talent. As a result, we will start to see companies think outside the box to stand out from the pack when it comes to recruiting top talent on an international level.
2. Reexamination of Hybrid Work
As the pandemic seems to be subsiding in most of the world, hybrid workplace models are gaining traction. However, this jump to hybrid has not been easy, and many companies will feel a bit of whiplash as they realize their first run at half in-person, half remote work is not quite working as seamlessly as they had previously thought. Business owners need to slow down decision-making. As a result, we’re going to see many companies switch up their collaboration tools and technology as they feel out what works best in search of a more powerful medium to connect their teams.
Not only spurred by the need for better remote collaboration, but this reexamination of hybrid models also comes from a new perspective on traditional in-person perks. For example, the need for an office cafeteria to host Friday evening drinks might become less important if no one is in the office Friday evening.
3. Introduction of the Enterprise Metaverse
As effective remote collaboration comes front and center, we will start to see virtual reality and other mixed reality solutions come into play in the mainstream work environment. These immersive collaboration solutions will become the predecessor of the real business metaverse.
Widely regarded now as the next technological frontier, the enterprise metaverse is right on the horizon as the workforce continues to push technological innovations as solutions to achieve productive remote work. Companies will begin announcing their metaverse business strategies. Introducing spatial computing in businesses has seemingly unlimited benefits. For example, weaving in extended reality in the workplace can help attract top talent, enable smooth onboarding, better team building for distributed teams, improve faster and more seamless collaboration and open new channels to engage with customers and clients.
Overall, in 2022, we will continue to see the workplace evolve to meet the needs of the ever-evolving workforce. Hybrid models are going to continue to adapt as new solutions come to market. It is only a matter of time before virtual and mixed reality make their way into the mainstream workplace, thus introducing the enterprise metaverse.