Future of Work Trends 2022 and Beyond
In the words of Joe O’Connor, chief executive of 4 Day Week Global,
“As we emerge from the pandemic, more and more companies are recognizing that the new frontier for competition is quality of life, and that reduced-hour, output-focused working is the vehicle to give them a competitive edge.”
Since the pandemic, things have changed, including how we do work. Of those changes, the best highlight is that employees are much louder than ever in voicing out how they wish to do the work. This is what the future of work trends is all about this year. At some point, you can call it “breaking the chain of the old ways that serve us no more.”
Forward-thinking companies are now leading the way in coming up with contemplatory solutions. Hybrid and remote work policies are the forefronts of these solutions. Other policies also include the wide application of spoke and hub office, the use of third-party offices, and wellbeing programs in the ruthless talent battle.
Today, let’s look at some of the future work practices that businesses can learn from to sail through the global talent war.
1. Four-day work week
Recent news about the U.K. undergoing the first four-day work week trial conducted last week (June 6) has blown up. Employees outside the U.K. would also like to try the idea. After all, who wouldn’t want to work four days a week while receiving 100% of your paycheck.
The six-month trial was coordinated by 4 Day Week Global and 4 Day Week Campaign, with researchers from Cambridge University, Oxford University and Boston College.
Scotland, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and Canada will also begin their trials this year. Belgium also plans to offer a four-day work week to boost flexibility amidst the pandemic.
Perpetual Guardian, a New Zealand-based corporation has already performed a four-day work week pilot study. Result shows that employees not only maintained the same level of production but also improved job happiness, teamwork, work-life balance, and business loyalty. Employees were also less stressed, dropping from 45% to 38%.
Furthermore, Sanford University discovered that overworked employees are less productive than those who work an average week.
2. Unlimited leave policy
Moving to the third year of remote working, it is not uncommon to see some employees to have felt burnout from working long hours. Companies already saw this coming. In fact, Portugal and a few other countries have already made it illegal for employers to email, text or call employees after regular hours. Some employers have even gone further and are now eyeing on flexible vacation, unlimited leave, or unlimited paid-time-off (PTO) policy.
To set an example, Goldman Sachs has implemented the ‘flexible vacation’ system. It allows senior executives such as partners and managing directors to take as many vacation days as they need, in order to relax and recharge.
Should your company be looking to try this idea, setting clear guidelines and policies is the key to avoiding confusion and abuse.
3. Bringing pets to work
Apart from the routine empathy or team-building activity, companies now have new ways to show their care. Topping the list is allowing pets at work. The benefits of bringing pets to work, such as social support, stress relief, improved cognitive abilities, and social engagement, are among the essential things that employees need apart from the pay cheque.
Pets are also found to be able to increase the level of empathy for humans. According to the study by the National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School, employees were reported to have a higher sense of compassion when interacting more with animals. This results in improvement of human interactions and that leads to more effective communication and positive outcomes in employees’ personal and professional lives.
Tailor-made workplace policies require in depth studies and review, and they need expertise, collaboration, and teamwork from all departments. HR policies should also be subject to constant review and feedback. While you may find some of the future of work trends fascinating, it doesn’t mean that they will bring you the same benefits as they brought to the sample companies. The first step of changes should always be an examination on the company’s operational need and employees readiness. This is to assess the status and evaluate options, to come up with the most sustainable solution. The rest will be history.