As we enter the year 2024, there will be significant changes in office design. The highly anticipated “Great Return to Work” is altering our understanding and creation of workspaces. This article explores the shifting landscape and important trends that will shape office interiors in the upcoming year.
Over the past couple of years, the workplace has changed exponentially. In 2022, employers are having to rethink and reshape their policies to accommodate the priority changes of employees in order to attract and retain valuable talent.
This holds even greater weight with the recent trend in the workforce, “The Great Resignation,” a term coined to describe the massive wave of people quitting their jobs following the pandemic as burnout and working remotely trigger a shift in people’s identities.
The massive change in workforce has caused companies to have a shortage in talent pool access and a sort of desperation to fill the gaps as enterprises start running at full gear.
Public-facing businesses are most impacted by this labour shortage, as they were hit the hardest by months of lockdowns in Sydney and Melbourne. Statistics shared by the government show the number of non-resident workers in the country has decreased by two-thirds from the beginning of 2020 to the third quarter of 2021.
Though the pandemic brought upon by COVID-19 still greatly impacts our day-to-day, numerous businesses have already implemented different solutions to address the requirements of this new normal, such as work from home setups, flexible work hours, hybrid work model, and more.
The key to winning the battle for top talent is a renewed attention on company culture. Organisations that thrive will reimagine employee engagement and establish an employee-focused work environment. Here are the current trends business leaders must know and why 2022 is the year of workplace culture.
Keeping a Close Eye on Diversity and Inclusion
This year, employers will need to understand that employees don’t appreciate lip service for efforts in diversity, equity, and inclusion. These must be actionable items that have the full support of leadership teams.
Staff will expect ongoing and consistent initiatives that are visible across the entire company, ensuring DE&I practices are normalised.
Hybrid Work is Definitely Here to Stay
We must reiterate that remote work is here to stay, and employees will always opt for the companies to offer flexible schedules and better work-life balance. Employers are tasked to encourage collaboration, between team members and everyone in the organisation, from anywhere.
To accommodate team members starting and ending the workday at different times, companies must optimise processes to ensure consistent employee engagement and enhanced productivity.
Businesses Must Re-Evaluate the Design, Function, and Purpose of Office Spaces
It’s vital for employees who will be working onsite to have an office setup that encourages flexibility and nurtures a collaborative culture. These spaces must be used to strategise, brainstorm, encourage and attract both current staff and prospective talents.
Office spaces must give workers a sense of security while energising them to work because of the ambience and physical functions. Multifunctional furniture that can be utilised to promote wellness and collaboration, quiet zones that would allow focused work, technology features that make working onsite seamless, and safety measures to ensure employees’ health and wellbeing are prioritised.
Optimising Meetings Using Innovation and Automation
In lieu of inefficient video calls, organisations can start experimenting with new methods such as recording brief, informative video clips with comprehensive explanations of expectations, minimising the need to coordinate schedules.
Having these videos in stock will allow employees to revisit and review these recordings when they want clarifications, eliminating ineffective follow-up meetings that hold up regular schedules and empowers focused work time and improved productivity.
Utilising Digital Tools to Attract Talent
At the moment, conducting in-person interviews prove to be difficult, and even illogical. However, that doesn’t mean that potential candidates will not be able to get a grasp and feel of the company’s culture and atmosphere. Prospective hires wish to connect with their future workmates, and having engaging videos and audio content that they could access can potentially excite and entice them, proving once again that employers must maximise the capabilities of digital tools to display the company culture and environment effectively both virtually and in reality.
Employee Recognition is Vital for Employee Retention
A part of the new normal is embracing the flexibility offered by remote and hybrid work. With this, employers must re-evaluate how they identify visibility in the company ecosystem. Whether that be doing exceptionally well with their BAUs or showcasing their passion and dedication through other company initiatives and programs, defining these things are key aspects to show team members what they’re doing is seen, valued, and appreciated.
This becomes a practice in establishing trust and leveraging available data that gives insight into employee performance and engagement.
Workplace Culture to be Driven by Employer-Employee Connections
Research shows that workers who feel they have a strong connection with their employers are more likely to be engaged in company activities, and in the bigger picture, remain in their current role. Especially now wherein almost all connections we have with each other are through digital means, going the extra mile to re-establish trust and confidence is vital for an organisation to retain their existing talent.
It is also a known fact that workers who are happy with their companies can serve as advocates, promoting the business and attracting potential hires. Above all marketing efforts, positive word of mouth is still the most effective way of attracting talent to your organisation.
Investing in Employee Learning and Development is Key
With organisations reshuffling, trying to fill gaps left by people leaving, teams and professionals are forced to take on new, more complex roles that are changing and more demanding. In hindsight, this is a great opportunity for workers to broaden their skillset, empowering them to take on new challenges and grow in their field. Companies who can support this hunger for knowledge and advancement are more valued and revered by employees.
By promoting professional development of the workforce, managers and leaders ensure team members are ahead of industry trends, giving not just the employee an edge, but the company as well.
When organisations are prepared to invest heavily in their team members, their skills, and their growth, employees will stay, and top talent are encouraged to be a part of the company.
Business leaders and HR professionals must also address concerns about even greater flexibility, permanent work from home, investments into employees’ mental health, and more focus on diversity, equality, and inclusion. To beat the great resignation, employers must spearhead and follow through on these movements.
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