Entering the third year of the pandemic makes it very hard to know exactly what to expect from work in 2022, especially with recent developments. The emergence of new variants of the COVID-19 virus blocked the expectations of many for more stability and change in the workplace.
This does not mean that employees are going to settle for less. On the contrary, more employee benefits and a higher degree of flexibility are a necessary component to attract, retain and motivate employees. Despite the high degree of uncertainty we are living in, we can already provide you the areas employees would like to see a shift in.
Meeting employee needs in 2022
Hybrid work is here to stay
Throughout the duration of the pandemic, working from home has changed multiple times from being a must to an option. Depending on where you are located in Europe, it is most likely that your employees are spending 65.2% of the work week working remotely. And with the pandemic still only recently having slowed down, this is a logical procedure – but have you thought about what might happen next?
Research shows that 34% of your employees might consider opting for a new job that does provide remote work options and an additional 87% are demanding hybrid work conditions in 2022 and beyond. With these weighty numbers, we can comfortably argue that hybrid work is one of the positive workplace trends that need to be carried into 2022 to ensure employee satisfaction and employee retention.
DEI Practices have to take up a bigger space in the workplace
Hybrid work creates a new form of inequality. Research from Gartner shows that women and people of color are more likely to work from home. The analysis from Gartner also identified that people that work from home are less likely to be promoted and be given bigger raises than people who work in the office – even though there is no sustained difference in performance between the two groups.
Given that, without intervention, gender wage gaps will widen and the degree of diversity within leadership benches will weaken. In 2022 your employees expect you to learn how to ensure everyone can thrive in an organisation regardless if they are working from home or in the office. Some DEI practises you can implement include:
- Performance management programs that recognise and address potential issues and challenges faced by diverse groups during the pandemic
- Building a culture that creates an atmosphere where open, honest conversation is welcome and everyone can be their authentic selves, speak up and challenge the norms.
- Form and empower internal diversity groups as safe spaces for employees to connect, share and contribute to organisational culture change.
Goodbye office perks and hello company benefits
Office perks were once a way on how you can differentiate your company from others and show that you care about your employees. However, offering certain office perks, such as free coffee and fruit baskets, is now not only something most companies are already doing, but they are also seen as a fundamental part of working at the office by most employees.
Especially now that most of us are working from home more than half of the week, it is time to come up with something more valuable. Discover more about four key employee benefit trends to improve your company culture including the rise of family forming and fertility benefits.
Employee wellbeing will be key to a better work environment
Employee wellbeing refers to general physical, mental and emotional health of your workforce combined with a positive attitude, and contentment concerning work. Employee wellbeing has dramatically decreased in the last few years which both contributed to the war for talent and the great resignation. It is important, now more than ever, to invest in the overall wellbeing of your employees. Especially minority groups and women are facing a lack of work–life balance, increased responsibilities both at work and at home, greater concern for safety at work around COVID-19 infection, a loss of social support and increased isolation.
Research done by McKinsey showed that employees will experience an overall improved well-being when there is a greater improvement in family support services: This can vary from childcare or dependent-care stipends, backup care and nanny services, easier access to medical and family leave and better access to health care.
What does the future have in store for employee needs?
What will the future bring? The answer is: we don’t know. The third year of the pandemic has brought along a lot of uncertainties and doubts about the workplace. At the same time, the talent crisis and the great resignation isn’t showing any signs of slowing. It is important to provide more flexibility, better DEI practices, better suiting benefits and better care of employee wellbeing. Not only to attract and retain the best talent, but also to create a work environment in which all employees feel safe and heard.
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