The start of a new year is the perfect time to reflect on what the past 12 months have taught us and use those insights to inform our priorities for the year ahead.
In 2021, we changed the way we think about several crucial areas of work, including the role of line managers, the power dynamic between employers and employees and how managing energy contributes to productivity.
Managers have seen their core responsibilities change: work delivery now must be coordinated across and there is a greater need for wellbeing support, social connection, and mentoring. Some organisations – for example, the Australian telecoms company Telstra – have recognised the fact that these skills may not belong to the same people and have started splitting manager roles into “delivery” and “coaching” functions.
These changes form part of a broader shift in which we have all realised the importance of carefully managing our energy to maintain productivity at work – redesigning our days and weeks to maximise our most productive hours and recuperate when needed.
As employees have become more aware of their needs, their relationship with employers has changed. Having experienced flexibility and autonomy throughout the pandemic, most people now consider these a basic right rather than a “perk”. This has left employers with the challenge of meeting these expectations while maintaining a culture that is consistent, coherent, and productive.
So, what do these changes mean for us as we move forward into 2022? First, we must build on what we learned in 2021 to embed a sustainable, performance-led way of working. For example, the pandemic highlighted a need for more complex, nuanced leadership skills – which must be embedded into leadership training programmes in 2022 and beyond. Working remotely has highlighted the importance of connection and belonging, creating an opportunity to update our understanding of what it means to create an inclusive culture that all employees can plug into. Finally, the link between personal wellbeing and productivity is incontestable – this year, organisations must think about how they redefine work – and redefine roles – to create the perfect balance.
This article was just a taster of our insights into the year ahead – you can download the full 2022 World Outlook Report on our website.