The future of work is here, what to expect in 2022
Way back in 2017/18 the "Future of Work" was a hot topic, think tanks focused on the skills we would all need to develop, the New Zealand Government launched a thing called the Future of Work Tripartite Forum, described as a place to discuss, identify and implement solutions for the rapidly changing world of work.
Little did we know the skills we actually needed in 2020 were* - how to work remotely, resilience, patience, time management (so we didn't work 24 hours a day), empathy, respect, personal wellbeing, adaptability and flexibility. We all developed these skills as a result of extraordinary times, rapidly and without question.
*I guess I should add to the list we also became - masters of zoom and proficient in saying the words "you're on mute".
What's in store for 2022?
What those Future of Work initiatives failed to clearly identify was the impact our Covid future had on our workplaces, our organisations and employment conditions. So what's in store for the remainder of 2022?
Flexible work still matters
While some companies are instructing employees to return to the workplace, others are organising events to entice workers back, yet others still are continuing to support true flexibility.
Global trends tell us flexible working still matters to the majority of the workforce, individuals want to choose when, or even if, they return to the office. As the year progresses this will become a deciding factor for many people whether they stay in their current role or move to a more flexible employer.
Work from anywhere and the impact on salaries
As our cost of living increases the opportunity to move into the regions - where rent and houses cost significantly less, where there is more space to grow your own veggies or have chickens in the back yard - is becoming extremely attractive.
The big question is how does this impact salaries? Should employers continue to pay as though we are all living and working in the major cities? Will the "sunshine tax" of the Provinces creep into mainstream salary considerations?
You can read about location based salary trends here.
Compensation for staying
One of the toughest challenges for smaller businesses right now is the escalating cost of salaries which are rising well beyond the rate of inflation. Labour market condition challenges will continue throughout 2022 - set to become one of our fraught issues as an industry.
Not everyone wants to chase the money and may be loving their roles, their team, their flexible working environment and their employment conditions. But is it fair their employers are paying new employees a premium in this competitive market while their loyal existing staff remain without costing a premium?
The 4 day work week
Media do love this topic showcasing examples of companies that have embraced the practice. Shortening the work week rather than increasing pay is one method organisations can consider to make their compensation package more attractive than others. Reducing hours may be seen as a competitive advantage especially for companies who can't afford the premium salaries in demand. However there are very practical implications to consider, this article provides a great summary.
Wellbeing will continue to be a focus area for employers
Covid times have certainly tightened our focus on mental health and wellbeing. Maturing this focus area will lead to organisations embracing an overall culture of wellbeing, establishing wellbeing discussions with staff, training managers in how to provide wellbeing support and providing improved access to mental health support.
I recently also read that "sitting is the new smoking" so we can expect to see standing desks increase in workplaces, physical wellness programmes and benefits to encourage staff to get / keep moving will continue to emerge.
Looking forward to 2023 and beyond?
To be honest it's the wild wild west of speculation out there right now. Nobody knows how Covid and it's variants will progress, how the Russian invasion of the Ukraine will continue to impact global stability, whether the great resignation will continue or how our working environments will continue to evolve. So lets leave the speculation for now.
Remember your mahi is important but so are you - so look after yourselves. Ngā mihi nui, Vic
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