Curious About the Future of Work in 2022? These Leaders Have Some Predictions.

Business leaders’ visions of 2021 might have been shrouded in uncertainty, but flexibility is clearing the path into 2022.

Written by Tyler Holmes
Published on Dec. 28, 2021
Curious About the Future of Work in 2022? These Leaders Have Some Predictions.
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Ask a fortune teller, Magic 8-Ball or any trend analyst what awaited the tech industry at this point last year and the answer was likely to be the same: “Foggy — try again later.” But after persevering through another pandemic-related year of uncertainty, industry experts are finally seeing a clearer picture as we transition into 2022.

A quick look at Dictionary.com’s “Word of the Year” can help explain why. In 2021, “allyship” frequently took center stage in company conversations about how to improve work-life balance while helping business goals thrive.

Employees began confidently voicing their priorities for family care assistance and mental wellness, and people teams promptly adapted. Embracing remote work became a smoother process for many, while others needed more connection and brainstormed safe hybrid work models. Furthermore, methods of collaboration thrived — a staggering 80 percent of workers used collaborative technology in 2021, which is an increase of 44 percent since the pandemic began, according to a poll conducted by Gartner.

It’s been an experiment of trial and error, but skilled leaders are finally envisioning a future of empathy and flexibility to replace the rigid rulebooks of the past. To get a better idea of the tech landscape possibilities in 2022, Built In Boston sat down with seasoned experts at Bullhorn and Lightmatter to find out what trends have taken their teams to new heights and how they’re planning out future success in the new year.

 

The Bullhorn office.
BULLHORN

 

Robert Zammit
Head of Global Talent Acquisition • Bullhorn

 

2021 forced us all to reimagine how and where we work. What is one key work trend that emerged this year that you predict will continue to gain momentum in the year ahead, and why?

Amid The Great Resignation — or as we prefer to call it, the Great Realization — one trend we’ve seen is the renewed focus of leaders to embrace the new normal, retain their teams and unlock the value that a diverse, flexible workforce can offer their business. 

This trend will only pick up momentum in the years to come, forcing organizations to focus more intently on workforce agility, including using technology to support and engage their teams. In addition, leaders must reevaluate their total workforce strategies to optimize productivity in 2022 and beyond.

 

How has your company adapted over time to the workplace shifts brought on by the pandemic?

Luckily, Bullhorn was already ahead of the curve in seeing the value of having an agile workforce. The pandemic was certainly a surprise, and we were still required to rethink specific nuances of how our workforce operates. However, the pandemic only caused a minimal shift to less than 40 percent of our total workforce who live near one of our global offices.

Bullhorn has always been committed to employing a diverse workforce to help shape the next generation of staffing technology for our clients, which has led to us looking at remote talent both domestically and internationally as we’ve expanded our footprint.

One trend we’ve seen is the renewed focus of leaders to unlock the value that a diverse, flexible workforce can offer their business.”

 

As you head into the new year, what do you envision for the future of work? And how are you bringing that to life within your company?

As we head into the new year, we’re excited to expand on the flexibility this new reality has presented us by evolving our talent programs across the organization.

One such program is our Early Careers program. We’re establishing professional partnerships with unconventional institutions across the country, focusing on identifying diverse-skilled programming talent not restricted to specific institutions due to location or the additional funding to support travel or relocation expenses. This initiative has influenced how our HR, talent, engineering, and learning and development teams create and deploy a robust curriculum to support a remote early career population.

 

 

The Lightmatter team in the office.
LIGHTMATTER

 

Nicholas Harris
CEO • Lightmatter

 

2021 forced us all to reimagine how and where we work. What is one key work trend that emerged this year that you predict will continue to gain momentum in the year ahead, and why?

Hybrid and flexible work arrangements have become increasingly common and serve as a catalyst towards companies working with remote talent — enabling companies to tap into previously inaccessible candidates. I think companies will invest heavily in collaboration tools to bridge the communication efficiency gap between distant employees. We will see continued innovation in methods of driving culture and engagement in this new environment.

Regarding Covid-19 and work in the year ahead? We’re very open in our all-hands meetings and encourage the team to raise any concerns, no matter how uncomfortable they are. This builds a foundation of trust for the company and ensures that we bake the thoughts and concerns of all team members into our guidelines and directions in handling Covid-19, its variants and many other important topics.

 

How has your company adapted over time to the workplace shifts brought on by the pandemic? What permanent impact has that had on the way your team works?

We’ve moved to a three-days-a-week hybrid model here at Lightmatter. Even before the pandemic, Lightmatter team members had significant flexibility, but the pandemic pushed everyone to take advantage of it. For many people, this reduces transit time and stress, and allows employees to plan their personal lives and work needs in a way that maximizes their productivity.

The hybrid model change has put the onus on managers and employees to be more deliberate about their in-person collaboration time. Teams coordinate which days they will be together in the office to ensure the time is as productive as possible and to facilitate in-person team building and collaboration.

I think companies will invest heavily in collaboration tools to bridge the communication efficiency gap between distant employees.”

 

As you head into the new year, what do you envision for the future of work? And how are you bringing that to life within your company?

We think people value flexibility, so we will continue to provide that. At the same time, teams value the ability to build connections and collaborate in person, so we will continue to support in-office work in our Massachusetts and California locations as well as support work travel so that team members across the country can get together.

Maintaining engagement and continuing Lightmatter’s unique culture is also important in this new environment, so we are investing in both local and company-wide touch points and events that bring people together. For example, once a week each employee is paired with another random employee to have a coffee break, either remotely or in person, to chat and get to know each other. It’s a good way to keep in touch or get to know other employees — things we sometimes miss with remote work.

Lightmatter is growing rapidly and we’re excited to be moving into our new office at 100 Summer Street with more collaboration space and a central location for transit and easy access to great food. Our office culture will be bolstered by continuing our lunchtime trend of enjoying food together and exploring the new neighborhood.

 

 

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Photography provided by associated companies and Shutterstock.

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