6 Predictions About the Future of Work in 2022 & Beyond

Consider for a moment the number of changes we’ve had in workplaces across the globe in the last decade. Now imagine the possible changes that another decade could hold. The mind can hardly handle contemplating so much possibility. What will work and education look like? Will job security last a person’s career? How much will the Future of Work involve humans? What about the robots?

It can be hard to predict what will happen in ten years because so much is changing every day. We’ve made these six predictions about the Future of Work in 2022 and beyond based on data from years of observation and the questions this data has raised.

1. Talent will be completely redefined in the Future of Work

On August 8, 2021, CNBC reported that there are about 1 million more job openings than people looking for work. This statistic means that employers are needing to fill more jobs than there are people to fill them.

In our last article, The 5 Biggest Challenges HR Leaders Will Face in 2022, we addressed the massive challenge affectionately known as The Great Resignation. Statistics show that 40 percent of the global workforce are considering leaving their employer within the year.

The reasons behind this mass exodus are many and varied. Some people feel overworked and undervalued, while others are seeking remote work, flexibility, or simply want to work in a more positive environment.

This prediction, that talent will be completely redefined, is based on these statistics around The Great Resignation. It is also based on the increased integration of AI and it’s myriad of talent-related impacts. These two key factors indicate that “talent” needs a complete redefinition.

The skillsets companies will need in 2022 and beyond will be far more diverse than today. On the other hand, the tools and resources companies will have access to in 2022 and beyond will also be far more diverse than today.

This Forbes article poses an excellent question, “Will we see a massive wave of self-employment enabled by intelligent assistants and third-party services that turn individuals into major powerhouse corporations of one?”

Our prediction is that we will see this wave in the Future of Work, and that’s why we believe it’s as important as ever for companies to be able to hire contractors and freelancers easily, seamlessly, and compliantly. That’s our mission here at GreenLight.

2. Every department will be forced to interpret data in the Future of Work

We have data. In 2022 and beyond, we will have infinitely more data. However, the problem we are facing now is that we have hardly scratched the surface of understanding what to do with all this information.

In the next decade, departments outside of data-related fields (engineering, marketing, finance, etc.) will be forced to interpret data in order to make informed decisions.

Why? Because data will become one of the most important factors in a company’s success or failure. Grow.com writes, “Today, running your business with the help of data is table stakes. If you’re not using data to uncover insights that will guide your business into the future, you will become a business of the past.”

Data is helpful for everything from building better processes to reviewing performance.  However, in order to make data truly useful, departments who are not traditionally “data-focused” will need to become more comfortable with it. This uncomfortable familiarity will be a necessary part of doing business in the future.

3. Workplace wellness programs will become more holistic in the Future of Work

We predict that in the Future of Work, it won’t be enough to offer just a gym membership or health insurance. Workplaces will need to be fully committed to providing holistic wellness programs that help employees achieve their full potential.

Transpire Global reports that, “47% of businesses in the private sector have a wellbeing strategy, this compares to 37% in 2020, demonstrating its increase in importance.”

Holistic wellness and wellbeing strategies incorporate everything from mental health to financial health. Conversations about wellness and wellness empowerment programs will be less about insurance and more about giving employees the tools and support they need to do their very best work.

Additionally, these types of holistic wellness initiatives will help offset burnout and prevent The Great Resignation. A Future of Work retention and workplace wellness strategy is to empower teams and individuals to deal with their stress before the breakdown happens.

4. People will have side hustles left and right in the Future of Work

We predict that in 2022 and beyond, many people will have side hustles or contract work that they do outside of their 9-5. Humans are multidimensional beings and not just button-pushers. We have robots to push the buttons now (for the most part).

It’s hardly a prediction that remote work will continue to flourish in the Future of Work. We are seeing this already, and we have been seeing it for years. However, the next wave of impact from remote work will be the embrace of human multidimensionality. Companies that thrive in the Future of Work will be companies that empower their employees and extended workforce to accomplish all they can.

DDIY reports that, “65% of freelancers make more money than at their previous job.” With people finding that they can earn more for their skills on contract work and have more freedom in the process, it won’t be long before much of the workforce is opting for this kind of work, even if they keep their full-time job as well.

5. There will be more diversity in leadership roles in the Future of Work

We predict that the Future of Work is a place that will be diverse. In 2022 and beyond, we see a world where businesses understand the importance of diversity, especially in leadership. In order for companies to best serve their customers, they must have a diverse workforce that is representative of their consumer base.

Fundera reports that, “Diverse teams are 87% better at making decisions. A study of 600 business decisions made by 200 teams found that when diverse teams made a business decision, they outperformed individuals 87% of the time and were shown to make decisions faster than individuals.

In the Future of Work, organizations will go from hiring “the best person for the job” to finding the “best person for the job, with the best cultural fit.” In order for this to happen, we need to see a drastic change in the way that businesses think about diversity.

6. Labor laws will go back and forth into the Future of Work

The Future of Work will have concrete labor laws, but it might take a bit for us to lock in laws that allow for innovation and progress. In the meantime, expect a lot of back and forth as different factions try to stake their claim in the Future of Work.

Let’s take 2020 California Proposition 22 as an example. In 2020, we saw California Prop 22 pass with 59% of the vote in the November election. In 2021, we saw a California judge rule Prop 22 “unconstitutional” and “unenforceable”, only to have an appeal filed immediately after.

We predict that we will ride this litigation merry-go-round well into the Future of Work. We saw many litigations around worker misclassification in the last year, and they show no sign of slowing down in 2022 and beyond. 

The costs and penalties for misclassification are staggering. Be sure to use a compliance partner or EOR like GreenLight who works with top labor lawyers that can update classification in real time as these laws can and do change quickly.GreenLight is the world’s first AI-driven classification engine. Our system uses all of the data and industry knowledge at our disposal in order to classify workers with an exceptionally high confidence interval while making features like background checks and worker’s comp easily accessible. Schedule a demo today so you can feel confident and prepared for the Future of Work in 2022 and beyond.

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Alex Steeno

Alex Steeno

Senior industry analyst, adviser of multiple hypergrowth agencies, SaaS, and tech-enabled service platforms, Alex Steeno regularly contributes insights related to industry trends, growth marketing, and management consulting.

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