Organizations are being forced to rethink their operation since technology is changing the way we work at an exponential rate. Today, most companies are streamlining processes by using AI and cognitive technologies to create an efficient workforce and achieve human-machine collaboration. In the aftermath of the COVID pandemic, companies are looking at a hybrid work model that combines remote work with the time spent at the office.
Given below are the 11 trends that will shape workforce dynamics in the year 2022.
AI augmentation will add value to businesses since an augmented workforce is the perfect fusion between humans and machines. It requires redefining fundamental human skills and building competencies through continuous training.
It involves rethinking the role of the workers and creating a human-centric symbiotic system in order to make a smooth transition from automation to collaboration between humans and machines. Statistics reveal that a large percentage of the companies have successfully adopted cognitive and AI technologies within their workforce without the employees having to undergo excessive training.
65% of the repeatable managerial tasks such as scheduling, approving expense reports, providing performance feedback, and monitoring direct reports will be automated by the year 2025. This shift will require companies to empower managers with a new set of skills to equip them so that they can manage the complexity of a hybrid workforce.
Organizations can either choose to decrease the number of managers or redefine the roles of the managers so that they can manage the employees' perception of their career trajectories. Once the managerial tasks are automated, there is more scope for managers to develop the skills needed to build a better relationship with their employees.
Organizations will be using digital tools to monitor employees in real-time. Many applications already provide real-time activity tracking. These applications can take screenshots of the computers of the employees at regular intervals. They can also capture the action of the keys struck on a keyboard in order to monitor the employees.
Sometimes these tracking tools are installed covertly. Companies insist that some amount of monitoring is necessary to improve productivity. Moreover, analytics applications can provide insights on the performance of employees, identify talent and indicate areas where the employees might need additional support.
Although companies will continue to believe that monitoring is essential, employees may feel that they have a right to protect their privacy.
Some companies will continue with a hybrid work model where employees have the option of working in the physical workplace and also remotely. This will help the employees work better since they can choose to work during the part of the day when they are most productive. It will also make the employees happier and help the organization attract better talent.
Companies will benefit from the reduced need for office space. Moreover, this work model will help to build the brand image of the company since prospective employees will view companies offering the hybrid work model favorably.
For the hybrid work model to be effective, companies will have to be more inclusive of people who work remotely rather than favor those who are more often at the office. Collaboration between remote and in-house teams is also a must. Again, some people may have to be present at the office more often, so being fair to people who often cannot work remotely is a must. In the future smart offices may introduce more versatile organizations' workspace procedures, which will surely increase hybrid working.
Virtual meetings will be held only when necessary since managers can use video-sharing platforms to make videos in order to communicate with their teams. A video sent before the meetings covering the objectives, agenda, and context can make the virtual meeting shorter and save time.
Video conferencing platforms also provide automated transcripts which seem to work reasonably well. A video library that allows the employees to hear the recorded meeting at their convenience will also help reduce the need for frequent virtual meetings.
Avoiding the commute to the workplace when it seems unnecessary is going to be one of the best benefits of remote work. Fewer workplace meetings and reduced distractions at the office will be a blessing for some people since not everybody has the same amount of time at their disposal.
Managing time well will have a huge impact on the life of the employees since they can develop additional skills that have become necessary as a result of companies adopting AI technologies. This in turn will improve their performance and help them make a smooth transition from automation to collaboration between humans and machines.
The network of 3D virtual worlds focused on social connection will continue to revolutionize all aspects of business by allowing collaboration in virtual spaces and augmented physical places. Businesses can travel between spaces and synchronize customer data across platforms.
Metaverse will continue to create new lines of virtual business and transform interactions between clients and companies. Users can host numerous virtual worlds and reshape how people work and interact. This will help companies boost efficiency and facilitate taking real-time decisions across supply chains.
Flexible work arrangements will have to be maintained by many employees out of necessity and also because several employees will continue to choose remote work. Shorter working hours rather than a pay hike to work longer will appeal more to the employees.
Companies will also have to make arrangements to provide employees with flexible reimbursements to make at least part-time remote work permanent. Employees will have to be given an allowance to purchase workplace equipment like the laptop and the ergonomic chair.
They will also have to pay for internet expenses, meal delivery during work hours and meet other foreseeable work-related expenses, so they will have to be guided on how to make these purchases and apply for reimbursements.
Phishing, spoofing attacks and fake alerts have to be tackled effectively since people have started working from home. Prior to people working from home, the IT team at the workplace used to take care of cybersecurity, but when employees started working remotely from different locations during the COVID pandemic, they had to initially handle cybersecurity threats themselves.
In the year 2022, companies will have to establish and enforce a strict data security policy to prevent internal security breaches by clearly outlining security protocols that the employees have to comply with and stating the consequences of non-compliance.
Employees will have to have a VPN. Antivirus software has to be installed on their office laptop. All the devices that are used by employees to access customer data will have to be equipped with firewalls and spam filtering tools. Moreover, these tools have to be kept up to date.
Companies will have to invest in a mobile device management platform so that if any device is stolen, sensitive data can be wiped off immediately. Multi-factor authentication has to be adopted for ensuring security while working remotely. It is important for the employees to train in cybersecurity awareness. The IT team, too, has to be ready to lend any assistance that is necessary to the employees.
Businesses will be hiring remote workforce from different geographical locations and backgrounds across all job levels, functions, and teams. Since the performance of employees in ethnically diverse organizations is much better than the performance of their counterparts in organizations where most people are from the same ethnic background, businesses will benefit. Moreover, management teams from diverse backgrounds are known to generate more revenue than non-diverse teams.
Remote work will also help to close the gender gap since women need the flexibility of working from home more than men. It is a known fact that gender-diverse organizations are more profitable than organizations where most people are from the same sex.
Hence, companies will definitely benefit as a result of employees working from home. Remote work will also integrate all those people who may fail to mingle with the rest of the employees because of predisposed biases and prejudices. Thus, remote work enables a more inclusive and diverse organization.
As a result of remote work employers are scouting for talent even outside their geographical region. Thus, there is more competition among prospective employers. As far as the employees are concerned, their home location no longer determines their workplace since they can explore employment opportunities even outside their geographical region.
Even people living in small towns and cities can now work for companies in major cities.
To conclude, remote work can empower the growth of companies provided they take a holistic approach to security management. Employers have to offer creative options like providing child care and allowing the employees to take more time off in place of a pay hike and long working hours. Employees have to undergo cybersecurity awareness training and embrace remote work as the new normal in order to march ahead with the changing times.