Workplace Predictions for 2022
Wahoo! It’s 2022!!
I don’t know about you (I promise I’m not trying to rhyme), but I always love the new year. It’s full of hope, fresh perspective and optimism. This year is no different. We are coming off the historic past two years, and I’m incredibly optimistic about 2022.
Now I’ve dusted off my crystal ball, and I’m going to make some predictions about what’s to come in the physical workplace in 2022 and offer tips on how you can implement these within your organization.
The Four-Day Work Week
This one is gaining some traction and, in my opinion, is one of the fastest and easiest programs to implement. It’s simple; employees work four days a week instead of five and retain the same pay. Hold up. Before you start rumbling about those numbers, check out the benefits.
From 2015-2019, the city of Reykjavik, Iceland, implemented a massive study on the impact of a four-day workweek, and the results were considered wildly successful. Employees were less stressed and reported less burnout. In addition, employers saw productivity remain steady, and in many instances it increased.
Across the U.S., only 15% of businesses have implemented this program. But in that 15%, employees report feeling refreshed and renewed, more engaged, productive, and more likely to stay with the organization as they get to spend more down time with friends and family.
Still not convinced? Give me a shout, and I can tell you about my company’s pilot program last year and how we’ve adopted the Four-Day work week in 2022.
The four-day work week is a significant stride in pursuit of work/life balance. It’s also effortless to implement. Need some ideas?
It really is super simple. If your current business hours are Monday-Friday, change to Monday-Thursday or Tuesday-Friday or skip Wednesdays. If you’re in a service-based industry that needs more flexibility, offer rolling four-day workweeks. Need coverage seven days a week? Rotate schedules every quarter, so your customers get the same level of service, and everyone on your team still works 32 hours.
Whole Person Wellbeing
This next prediction ties into the Four-Day work week, but I believe businesses will begin to revamp their workspace to more fully support the physical, emotional and mental wellbeing of their employees.
As we continue to learn lessons and reach aha! moments from our pandemic experiences, I see a massive shift in many areas of physical workspace:
WELL Health Safety/WELL Building Standard — I’ve discussed this one before, but I only see growth here. I believe we’ll see significant increases in organizations that look to improve the health and safety of building occupants through the concepts in the WELL Building Standard.
Fitness Facilities or Cost Subsidizing — While this isn’t necessarily a new trend, I believe more and more companies will embrace the importance of physical fitness related to overall wellbeing. I see this happening in three ways: 1) companies will continue to incorporate fitness facilities into their office space, 2) seek buildings that have facilities in place, or 3) offer financial subsidies to those employees who have (and utilize) gym or home-gym streaming memberships.
Meditation/Relax Areas/Mental Health Support — Similar to the fitness facilities, this area has been steadily growing, but I see huge gains in the next few years. Stress and burnout are contributing to The Great Resignation at an alarming rate. Companies that prioritize mental health will see increases in recruiting, retention, productivity and engagement. There is no downside to promoting and supporting mental health.
Are you looking to go all out? Create mediation and relaxation rooms with soothing sounds, mood lighting and biophilic design. It can also be as simple as changing one office or meeting room to a dedicated relaxation room. If you don’t have the physical space to convert, consider offering mental health resources such as free therapy access or cost-sharing.
My last prediction is physical space that is super flexible. I’m not talking about revamping your office space to offer more collaborative or private areas; I mean utilizing furniture and moveable walls to make changes frequently and quickly.
Think about moveable walls that can shift space larger or smaller or add offices in one day, or flexible furniture that employees can quickly move to fit their specific needs for that day or week. The options are endless, and over time, you might even be able to reduce your footprint and save money on real estate costs!
With remote and hybrid workstyles now a viable mode of production, office space needs to reflect those changes. A genuinely flexible workspace that can adapt quickly to fit your needs will encourage valuable employee interactions and support success well into the future.
There you have it. I can’t wait to see what progresses over the next 12 months!
Happy new year!!!
Courtnay Bradley, WELL AP, is founder and chief purpose officer at Trilogie and host of The Up/Down Podcast and Trilogie’s Table Talk live stream series. Her passion for people fuels her obsession with helping companies design and furnish work environments that truly inspire and engage employees. In 2009 she started Trilogie with the sole purpose of creating kick-ass workspaces that help organizations thrive.