Trends 2022: How Sustainable is the Workplace of the Future?

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Now that we live in a semi-post-pandemic world, we are seeing governments, organizations and employees coming to grips with new ways of working. The rules are constantly shifting – but a number of trends will give enterprises the opportunity to flourish in 2022. To prepare, companies will need to understand and embrace the technology to support hybrid work – and appeal to workers who have grown accustomed to new levels of flexibility.

The hybrid workforce will be the elephant in the room.

The hybrid workforce – in which workers choose whether to be remote or in-office – can give organizations serious technological and experiential headaches. Fully remote and hybrid workers who head back to the office only to find pre-pandemic connectivity and technology will struggle – at least initially – to remain connected, both in terms of productivity and on an emotional level. This will likely throw a wrench in the old HR and workforce processes, such as performance management and employee support programs. The goal will be to prevent a substandard employee experience despite quickly evolving workplace norms.

ESG trends will dominate the return to work for many.

One of the fastest ways organizations can make an immediate impact on carbon reduction is to get a grip on the hybrid workforce. By reducing business-related travel, organizations can make a significant reduction in CO2 and other greenhouse gasses. But the possibilities don‘t stop there. A close look at the end-to-end supply chain of service delivery or product creation (from inception to end-user consumption) will show how a move to the cloud can have major economic implications. A digital workplace has positive economic, environmental and human collaboration impacts.

Prepare for the rise of the machines.

As companies figure out how to make due with a reduced physical workforce, we can expect to see a rise in the use of AI and cognitive tooling to support the remote or hybrid worker. No longer will employees need to go somewhere or be with someone to do something, rather they can ask an assistant to do it for them. This will include kicking off a process like booking a meeting, finding information or checking a document. The augmented assistant now has the best opportunity to rise into the spotlight.

About the author

Iain Fisher is a Director within the Northern European Digital Strategy and Solutions Practice.  He is responsible for ISG’s Digital Agility and Future of Work strategies.  An expert in Operational Excellence, Iain’s key focus is on end to end value chain analysis where redesign of the Operating Model along with Organizational Change can be delivered through digital transformation and leads to improved ways of working and an enhanced customer experience

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