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2022 Predictions: What’s the New Normal for Office Work?

January 21, 2022 Leave a comment DRI Admin

The DRI International Future Vision Committee has released its 7th Annual Predictions Report, looking ahead to 2022 and its impact on the resilience community. Download the complete report free from the DRI Library, and read on for a prediction about how office work will evolve.

Prediction 10: There will be strong resistance to returning to the conventional office working model

Working from home (WFH) – in a pure or hybrid form – will continue among white collar and information workers. There will be an increasing digital divide between blue collar jobs that must be done onsite and professional information workers. This will cause longer-term social friction, inequality, and further reduce social mobility.

Less than 40 percent of the population can really do WFH in any meaningful sense. Vast numbers of people do work that is essential to the functioning of society but not suited to WFH (in service and other customer contact roles).

However, and particularly in the U.S. and U.K., what has become known as “The Great Resignation” has been gathering pace and is set to continue. Many employees are now seeking a better work-life balance. Companies that aren’t flexible enough to accommodate employees will suffer in the short term. However, the total ”death” of office working will not happen as many employees will eventually return in order to gain the contacts and relationships they need for professional advancement.

It is difficult to predict the timescales before this return happens, but the novelty of home-working might be short-lived and the desire for the vitality of city life might be irresistible to talented and ambitious young people.

European governments and trades unions are already talking about the labor protection and the Health and Safety aspects of unregulated working from home. The lockdown model of total freedom and flexibility, with unsupervised home-working supported by city salaries is almost certainly time limited.

Join us for DRI2022 in Las Vegas Feb. 13-16, 2022, where Future Vision Committee Chair Lyndon Bird will lead an interactive session where participants will have the opportunity to vote on a number of the key issues which have emerged from the reports. Bird will respond to voting as it happens, providing instant feedback and opinion. Please come to this session ready to participate, debate, and even argue if you wish. Challenging and controversial opinions are welcome.

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