Now that we are firmly in the New Year, it seems that we have all got our heads around the impact of Covid-19 and what that means for the world of our work. 2022 will instead be an opportunity to put all those numbers, stories and facts into practice and develop a workplace where employees can thrive.
With that said, for our first article of the new year, here are some of the key workplace trends for 2022.
Accept and adapt to hybrid working
Covid-19 has been around for two years now, but you should expect certain trends as a result to stick around for much longer. One of those is hybrid working.
True, many businesses are only making this an option moving forward and some are asking for a full return, but there’s no doubt workers are finding genuine benefits in what was once just a nice perk. To make hybrid working a long-term success, you must consider aspects such as virtual communication and effortless file sharing. In other words, staff must feel as though they have access to everything they would in the office, just without the distractions.
You must also consider the effect of reduced staff numbers on your facilities. What once worked before may no longer be suitable. The 24/7 Micro Market can be as small as you need it to be, ensuring your team stay refreshed whenever they are in.
Alternatively, you might want to consider a small coffee machine or water cooler.
Employee perks that add genuine value
Prior to Covid, you would quite often come across some wacky or just outright bizarre facilities that businesses would position as perks for their team. These included things like “nap pods”, for example.
Well, perhaps unsurprisingly, solutions like this never really caught on. It’s a nice idea, sure, but arguably misses the point about the purpose of employee perks and why they need to relate to who they are intended for. Indeed, a key workplace trend for 2022 is better perks that are far more valuable.
Interestingly, a survey from Perkbox found that physical office perks are not highly desired. These could include things like ping pong tables or the aforementioned nap pods! Instead, psychological benefits are preferred, which may relate to the negative impact Covid-19 has had on our mental health and overall wellbeing.
Employee discounts lead the desired perks, with 52 per cent of 1500 people agreeing. Food and drink were presented as a valid option by 33 per cent, with free products especially being favoured. We often get requests to offer free food and drink to staff on certain days, for example, usually as a wellbeing initiative.
If you want happier employees that help solidify a stronger workplace culture in 2022, there needs to be a mindset shift when it comes to benefits. Services and gestures that take your head outside of work, even if you’re not, are really what is required.
Managing employee wellbeing and mental health better
As we touched on in the section above, mental health and overall wellbeing has been firmly under the spotlight recently. This is not surprising, given how we’ve had to acclimatise to forced changes in the wake of the pandemic.
This is probably one of the most difficult workplace trends because lots of staff don’t and won’t feel comfortable opening up in their place of work. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be encouraging it, however. A recent survey from KPMG found a huge 94 per cent of staff were feeling stressed at work, so there’s lots of opportunity to help your team.
Going back to more meaningful perks in the workplace and we don’t think they get more meaningful than helping to improve our overall wellbeing. Even little things like encouraging staff to take time out will go a long way, relieving them from the natural stresses of day-to-day work. In fact, CBRE found that 69 per cent of businesses are looking to implement breakout areas into their post-Covid redesign, so there’s definitely value in allocating certain spaces to workplace wellness.
It’s great to hear that more businesses are getting on board with mental health solutions too. 26 per cent of people from a CIPD Health and Wellbeing study said employee perks had increased in line with employee wellness since the start of the pandemic.