In 2022, hardly anyone bats an eye when they hear that someone works from home. In 2012, though, the idea of working remotely was foreign to many.
The workforce has changed a lot over the last decade, and it’s going to change even more in the coming decade (and beyond).
Business owners and entrepreneurs have two choices when it comes to handling these changes:
- They can keep doing what they’ve been doing, and hope that it’s sufficient.
- Or they can start preparing for the future and getting ahead of the upcoming trends.
If you’re leaning toward the second option, continue reading.
This article breaks down four top future of work trends that every business owner ought to understand.
The Future of Work: Life Moves Pretty Fast
For the last several years, the world has been experiencing changes in all areas, including the way people work.
For many of us, it feels like change is happening at a faster rate than ever before — and that feeling is only going to intensify. According to Ray Kurzweil, futurist and Director of Engineering at Google, the “paradigm shift rate” is doubling every decade.
In this article, author and entrepreneur Michael Simmons explains that, based on Kurzweil’s statement, the rate of change 20 years from now will be 4 times what it is today.
In other words, around 2040, humans will experience a whole year's worth of change in just 3 months. In the year 2070, the predicted rate of change will be 32 times what is now. This means someone will experience a whole year's worth of change in just 11 days!
Let that sink in.
Future of Work Trends for 2022 and Beyond
“Standing still is the fastest way of moving backwards in a rapidly changing world.” — Lauren Bacall
Change is going to come at us more quickly than ever before, and businesses are going to have to work hard to keep up with it. Otherwise, their competitors will leave them in the dust.
What kinds of changes can you expect to see in the coming years? Here are four future of work trends that are already starting to take place and are more than just passing fads:
1. Shorter Workweeks Will Become the Norm
Some recent research conducted in Iceland has shown that a shorter workweek can contribute to increases in productivity, improved mental health, and fewer sick days.
Another study from Henley Business School in the United Kingdom revealed that 63 percent of businesses found that it was easier to attract and retain employees when offering 4-day workweeks. Considering the current worker shortage affecting businesses throughout the world, this data point is particularly noteworthy.
A Gallup study from 2020 showed that, at the time, a mere 5 percent of American businesses offered 4-day work weeks. In the future, that number will surely increase, especially as more research comes out revealing the benefits of having longer weekends and more time off to recharge.
Read: Could a Shorter Workweek Lead to a More Productive Workforce? The Pros and Cons
2. Hybrid and Remote Work Will Be More Common
In addition to offering more flexibility in how frequently people show up to work, many businesses in the future will also offer more flexibility when it comes to where people work.
If the pandemic taught professionals anything, it’s that all kinds of jobs — whether it's sales, customer service, or therapy — can be done remotely without diminishing productivity or performance.
Currently, 59 percent of American workers are working from home either all, or most of the time. While some jobs will never be completely remote, there will likely be an uptick in the number of people who prefer remote work in the coming years.
After getting a taste of not having to commute to the office or attend a dozen conference room meetings per week, many workers won't want to return to the office.
3. Increased Automation, Especially for Administrative Tasks
By the end of this year, experts estimate that humans will complete just 58 percent of task hours, and machines will handle the remaining 42 percent. Just 4 years ago in 2018, humans completed 71 percent of task hours and machines took care of a mere 29 percent.
There are already hundreds of tools being used to automate everything from email marketing to payroll management, and it's safe to say that businesses’ use of automation will only increase in the future.
Technological improvements will lead to even more work being automated, especially administrative tasks. This will give professionals an opportunity to focus on creative and impactful work.
4. Greater Focus on Employee Well-Being
If businesses want their employees to perform at a high level and remain loyal to their company long-term, they need to start making employee well-being a top priority.
Especially in the wake of the pandemic, employers have learned what happens to company performance when employees are feeling chronically stressed or burnt out.
When this happens, productivity drops and the business's bottom line suffers. In fact, businesses in the United States lose up to $300 billion each year as a result of workplace stress.
In the future, a focus on employee well-being will become even more important in all kinds of businesses. This might include introducing more robust employee wellness plans and offering access to services like gyms, nutrition counseling, and mental health counseling.
The implementation of other trends, such as a shorter workweek, may also play a key role in improving employee well-being and setting them up to perform better when they're working.
Prepare for These Future of Work Trends
Working conditions have changed dramatically in the last few years, and it’s going to continue changing at an even more rapid pace. Keep these future of work trends in mind so you can: maximize your productivity, and set your team up for long-term success.
One of the best ways to keep up with these trends is to utilize the appropriate technology. This includes incorporating tools that help you stay in touch with your team no matter where — or when — you’re working.
Undock helps you to streamline your scheduling process by automatically suggesting meeting times in emails, Slack messages, chats, and more. Sign up today to experience the power of Undock for yourself.