The future of work in 2022 – what the experts think
There’s no way around it – 2021 was a weird year for work. With different lockdowns around the country and world, businesses and employees alike had to change their processes, many adopting hybrid ways of working.
So where does that leave us? As we wrap up another year, and welcome a new COVID strain (thx a lot Omicron), there’s a question on a lot of workers’ minds: what is work going to look like in 2022?
We’ve turned to the experts to get a heads up on what to expect for our careers next year. Read on for our predictions for work in 2022.
A focus on flexibility and hybridity
2020 and 2021 were challenging for a number of reasons, affecting both workers and the organisations that employ them. But one great thing that came out of the total overhauling of the way we work is the growing popularity of working from home or hybrid working.
Not only has working from home cut our commutes and allowed us to stay in pyjamas all day, it made working much easier for those of us with family commitments, accessibility requirements, busy schedules, as well as a variety of other reasons to enjoy the WFH life.
Leading recruitment agency Korn Ferry expect to see this focus on flexibility and hybrid ways of working to continue in 2022 and beyond.
“What I’m seeing is that candidates expect flexibility and if an employer doesn’t provide flexibility they’re going to lose them. It makes it harder to hire. When speaking to potential candidates about roles the first question I get asked is, ‘What is the work from home policy?’ Candidates expect to be able to work from home 1-2 days a week, if not all the time.” [x]
Pivot to freelancing or contract roles
If you’ve ever thought of freelancing or juggling a couple of casual, part-time or contract roles, this is the perfect time for you!
It’s understood that freelancers make up over a third of our working population, not accounting for the thousands of workers who freelance on the side to support the income they get from their primary job.
There are many reasons to turn to freelancing: the extra freedom, chance to be your own boss and develop new skills, flexibility with schedules, and many, many more!
Plus, according to a survey from Harvard Business School, 90% of businesses are turning to an employee base of full-time and contract employees – something they call “the high skills freelance economy”.
Co-chair for the Project on Managing the Future of Work at Harvard Business School, Joseph Fuller, says:
“Business leaders cannot risk missing a critical opportunity to build a more flexible, resilient organisation.”
…but the same can be said for workers, too. Don’t miss on your chance to build on more traditional opportunities with the help of freelance and contract roles.
Power to the people
Maybe you’ve heard about a little thing experts are calling the Great Resignation. According to the ABC, this is the idea that:
“…workers all over the world are increasingly retreating from pre-COVID work patterns. Many are unwilling to go back to the 9-to-5 office grind after having had a taste of working from home, or simply revolting against the idea that our lives should be defined by never-ending treadmills of career aspirations.” [x]
Earlier this year, a Microsoft study of over 30,000 workers across the world has shown that 41% were considering ending their current job or making a career change in 2022.
While some of these changes are involuntary, with the rate of unemployment rising dramatically thanks to COVID-19 related redundancies, more and more employees are finding the power to choose their future careers is in their hands.
In 2022, you might just find that a career change, or even a restructuring of your current role, is possible.
These are just a few of the predictions for what lies in wait for work in 2022. Although some aspects may be out of your hands, remember that we’re all learning how to navigate our working lives in the wake of COVID-19. You’ve got this! Now bring on the new year!
Featured image courtesy of Pexels
Lily Cameron is a writer and editor based in Sydney. She is a UTS Communications (Creative Writing) graduate, and current Communications Assistant at UTS Careers. She is passionate about telling stories, both hers and others’, and the way digital and social media is changing the literary landscape. Her writing has appeared in Voiceworks, The Brag, and elsewhere.