6 Hottest Distributed Work Trends in 2022

As more and more companies embrace the distributed work model post-pandemic, they must stay atop changes to ensure seamless operations and extraordinary employee experience.

Technology, company culture, and continuous learning are a few essential segments we will cover, presenting the hottest distributed and remote work trends in 2022. Let's dive in.

Defining the Distributed Workplace

The best way to understand the distributed workplace is by defining what a distributed workforce means for your company. As a broad definition, a distributed team refers to people working together from different locations. They can reside in the same city or country or work from various places (cities/countries/states), even different time zones.

Given that distributed team members can work from wherever they find most convenient, a distributed workplace is every environment employees spend their working hours in, including home offices, coffee shops, remote workspaces, etc.

However, a general definition doesn’t work the same for everyone. Depending on the needs of your team and employees, distributed work and flexibility can mean different things, so the essential step is to define what flexibility means for your specific case.

Flexibility Is Critical

The thing that differentiates a distributed from a traditional work model is flexibility. Aside from choosing the workplace, employees are allowed to create their working schedules. The ManpowerGroup Solutions Study finds that nearly 40% of global candidates consider schedule flexibility when making career decisions.

Unlike employees in traditional work environments who are required to work within set working hours, distributed employees have the liberty to complete their tasks at their own pace. According to the Gartner 2021 Digital Worker Experience Survey, 43% of respondents said flexible working hours helped them be more productive.

Therefore, considering not all employees will be online at the same time, companies need to implement systems — like project management software—enabling each member access to relevant information.

They must also establish adequate communication channels for seamless communication between members. Consequently, more and more companies embrace the power of asynchronous communication.

The core advantage of async communication is non-simultaneous message exchange. Everyone can check and answer messages within their working hours. In addition, such an approach takes the pressure off of the employees as it doesn't require them to be online at odd hours.

Combining HQs and Offices with Remote Work

When making a distinction between remote-friendly, hybrid, and distributed teams, the first thing that comes to mind is the presence/absence of centralized office space.

When a company is remote-friendly or embraces hybrid work, it allows its employees to work from home and expects them to come to the office according to a defined schedule.

Distributed teams, on the other hand, are not expected to come to the centralized office. However, that doesn't mean a company will not invite its team members to gather in person for a specific occasion.

Also, it is not forbidden for distributed employees to work on-site if such an arrangement works for them. Besides, that's the beauty of distributed work. While some prefer working from home or coffee shops full-time, others are more productive in the company's office.

Maintaining Company Culture As A Priority

Company culture is the set of beliefs, values, and goals determining employees' behavior. We already mentioned it in the previous sections. That proves how strong the company culture is, especially for remote workers that don't work from the same location and need additional encouragement to build trust and bonds with their coworkers.

Also, in addition to strengthening the team, when employees resonate with your core company policy, they become your brand's best advocates. And as Simon Sinek says, ''Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.''

Three steps for nurturing healthy and success-driven culture in distributed teams:

Streamlining Workplace Tasks for People Operations & HR Teams

The changing business climate expands the scope of HR and PeopleOps tasks. Today, aside from administrative tasks, both of these departments focus on strategic aspects of the business, one being company culture.

According to TeamStage, company culture is important for around 46% of job seekers. Therefore, companies aiming to attract and keep top talent must create a culture that makes them an employer worth considering.

Unfortunately, HR and PeopleOps often don't have time to dedicate to this endeavor as they deal with lots of administrative work. The solution lies in HR tools, such as HRIS, that enable human resource and people operation departments to get rid of repetitive tasks and work on long-term business objectives and the future of work strategy.

The situation becomes even more complex when managing distributed teams. Many distributed employees find it challenging to develop a sense of belonging. Therefore, it is critical to free HR and People Operations from tedious tasks and allow them to work on employees' needs, analyze and monitor their performance and engagement, creating a work environment that motivates and appreciates them.

Emphasis on Employee Wellbeing

The flexibility we discussed earlier in the text allows employees in distributed teams to have more control over their time, which helps them achieve a better work-life balance.

Employees who spend more time with their loved ones and dedicate their time to non-work-related interests are more motivated and focused on work. As Zenefits Report reveals, over 70% of employees said flexible working increased their satisfaction at work.

It may seem like companies would like their employees to work constantly. Also, the hustle culture we caught ourselves into makes us believe that vacations and time off are for the weak. However, the truth is quite the opposite. At some point, we all need to rest; otherwise, we risk facing many issues, primarily of the health nature.

Although the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require US employers to offer vacation pay, employers can offer it as part of their employee benefits package. However, many employees refuse to take time off. As a result, some companies introduced mandatory time off—a set number of free days an employee must have per year.

Remember, by taking care of employee wellbeing and giving them a PTO you:

Diversity, equity, and inclusion

Employees who feel appreciated and heard have more elan to work. According to the Employee Appreciation Survey, over 80% of surveyed employees said they're motivated to work harder when their boss appreciates their work.

Also, psychological safety is one of the keys to a successful workplace. Employees who can speak about their struggles and vulnerabilities are more likely to feel like part of the team and work harder on the shared goal, knowing they have their colleagues' support.

"Psychological safety at work doesn't mean that everybody is nice all the time. It means that you embrace the conflict and you speak up, knowing that your team has your back, and you have their backs," says David Altman, the Chief Research and Innovation Officer at the Center for Creative Leadership.

Finally, developing a culture of open communication encourages employees to share their ideas, perspectives, and doubts, leading to a healthy and prosperous work environment.

Roles With Growing Popularity

As the business world changes, new roles appear, including these:

Chief Purpose Officer

The Chief Purpose Officer ensures the brand and culture demonstrate company purpose. However, they also focus on implementing purpose-driven strategies and behavior in the company.

The CPO's responsibilities include:

  • Defining the company's purpose
  • Integrating purpose into the business strategy
  • Advising decision makers on strategic processes
  • Educating employees on the company's purpose and their contribution to it

Head of Remote

A Head of Remote, in some companies, referred to as Chief Remote Officer or Director of Remote, is an individual within a company responsible for everything remotely-related. Of course, their responsibilities may vary between companies, but in most cases, the Head of Remote is in charge of:

  • Creating and implementing remote strategies
  • Managing onboarding, training, learning, and development processes for the remote workforce
  • Working on company culture and improving employee experience for remote teams
  • Collaborating with other departments on a shared goal
  • Measuring and optimizing remote operations

Head of Workplace Experience

As the name suggests, the Head of Workplace Experience is a professional specializing in making every hour in the office productive and enjoyable. It may seem like this role is useless in distributed teams as employees don't have one dedicated office. However, HWE is a valuable addition to every distributed team as they ensure employees have everything they need to work.

The Workplace Experience Manager's responsibilities include:

Learning & Development… For Everyone

Jobs and roles are transforming and specializing, leading to an increasing need for continuous education. However, outside of core jobs and competencies, employees and managers alike need training and education on how to best work, communicate, and collaborate in distributed work environments.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion also require extended learning. As a result, learning and development are no longer unusual or tied only to niche professional domains - it's becoming a standard, continuous practice helping employees and managers do better overall in the modern workplace.

Solve your remote culture and bring your employees together - wherever they are.

The remote geography isn’t the biggest challenge to distributed work for most growing companies - the remote culture is.

Tailor a remote culture where your employees feel heard, empowered, and connected. Where flexibility is weaved into your company, and your workplace focuses on what matters most – people.

Schedule a demo with Gable and get started today!

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Andrea Rajic