How Work Happens In 2022: Three Workplace Models

CEO & Founder of Rock. Kenzo writes about the future of work, distributed teams, and how you can enable anyone to work from anywhere.

Over the last two years, widespread changes have affected workplaces around the world. The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic proved that teams can be productive in all kinds of environments. In the coming year and beyond, companies will have to decide how they want to move forward, and their decisions will impact their future approaches to work.

Many of us had to reinvent workflows, strategies and processes as team dynamics changed and our businesses had to fully or partially transition to a remote workforce. Today, we can work from home, in offices or even in a converted Sprinter van, like me. In addition to increased remote work, other changes include more flexible working hours and adaptable tools that organize and centralize information.

Changes to how we work have opened up more possibilities for workers and companies. Workers have more job options, more freedom of location and more time to spend with friends and family. Companies can take advantage of a wider field of candidates, attract talent by offering flexibility with remote work and streamline workflows for greater efficiency.

Companies will likely have to choose one of three workplace models to implement in 2022:

• In-person work: The most traditional workplace model sees workers and managers returning to offices with little reliance on remote work. I believe bringing everyone back to offices will likely make it hard to attract and retain workers, as the Great Resignation has shown that workers are increasingly selective about work.

• Hybrid work: This model can offer more flexible hours and relies on a combination of remote work and in-person work. Since workers who spend more time in the office may get better treatment and more opportunities for career advancement, the hybrid work approach can be challenging. For this model, creating policies that work for everyone is critical but complicated.

• Fully-distributed work: With this approach, there is no central workplace or office since everyone is remote, which allows for the most flexibility. Using an asynchronous-first approach streamlines everything, reduces stress and makes sure no one gets left in the dark.

All of the above approaches come with their own challenges. While people can be found working from almost anywhere, they often struggle to collaborate efficiently as most companies rely on the same tools and strategies they used when teams worked in offices. This can result in longer workdays, more meetings and more anxiety.

In the upcoming year, companies will start seeing a need for solutions that better fit their workplace model, especially with remote work and distributed work models. Tools like Slack and Trello were intended to supplement in-office, synchronous communication and don’t work well for hybrid and distributed work where always-on, real-time communication can quickly become too much. Thinking not just about culture and processes but also about choosing productivity tools that were designed for more asynchronous work can significantly help improve productivity and employee happiness.

By shifting toward a more asynchronous way of communicating, information will be more documented, searchable and organized through the use of tasks, notes and effective written communication. For other communication that can’t easily be written down, there should also be an easy way to start those types of conversations through chat messages and virtual meetings; ideally, they’re all integrated and connected to each other.

By keeping information organized, teams can make sure that nothing gets missed wherever they’re working. At the same time, the number of communication apps should be limited. Having to juggle a lot of different apps hurts productivity and teams will have less stressful workdays when information is centralized on a few carefully chosen platforms.

As we look forward to what 2022 brings, with flexibility and adaptable tools becoming permanent aspects of work culture and processes, companies will need to be deliberate about their choices so they can step confidently into the future.

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