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How Companies are Rethinking the Workplace to Drive Productivity

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Over the past two years, companies have introduced more digital workplace tools than they know what to do with, have held onto office spaces that majority of their workers aren’t even going into, and have experienced employee burnout from the overuse of video conference platforms. In 2022, we’ll see companies opt to streamline all of the digital workplace tools they’ve adopted into a singular digital workplace platform, downsize office spaces or get rid of them completely, and cut down on the Zoom calls. 

Companies will save as they move away from working in excess but they’ll also see increased productivity. This is especially true as employees spend less time moving across digital workplace tools and updating their teams on the status of items and, instead, spend that time on tasks that move the needle for the business.

The one-size-fits-all digital workplace 

In the first few months that companies went remote, they implemented every tool they could think of to help ease the employee transition to working from home. 

Now, companies are overwhelmed by an excess amount of digital workplace tools, and it’s hurting their budget and productivity. The more time employees spend app-switching from tool to tool, the less time they spend on day-to-day items.

According to Reveal, more than half of companies are looking to incorporate a digital workplace platform this year. At the same time, companies are cutting down on the number of digital workplace tools in use. What this means isa that companies are opting for one platform that offers multiple capabilities, such as task and project management, and chat and data visualizations all in one place. 

Related: 3 Essential Features to Look for in a Work-from-Anywhere Platform

More remote workers

With new Covid variants and outbreaks, and with increasing employee concerns about staying healthy, return-to-office plans continue to be pushed. So far, many companies are holding onto their office spaces, but at great cost. For many companies, this can’t continue. 

As more companies formalize plans to go hybrid or fully-remote this year, we’ll see many of them letting go of their office spaces for good. We’ll also see companies expand their talent as they solidify their workplace strategies and hire more remote staff. This will open up opportunities to hire in locations that companies may have never considered before, unlocking new talent.

Project management through digital transparency

How companies approach in-person project management hasn’t yet transferred to today’s remote-first environment. In an office setting, it’s easy to quickly update team members on the status of items with impromptu meetings or by simply popping into someone’s office. Teams have tried to do this in a remote setting, but a calendar filled with Zoom calls has proven to be too much.

In accordance with this, one of the biggest software development challenges in 2022 is project management in the digital workplace—and one of the biggest challenges teams run into as part of this is little-to-no transparency into what each individual is working on. 

Instead of compensating for this with an excess of Zoom calls, teams will increasingly turn to technology that gives them full visibility into each person’s tasks at hand, including their indoividual deadlines, owners, and discussions attached to it. With this increased knowledge, teams can avoid spending time in status update meetings and more time actually working on the tasks.

Meetings will continue to be best practice for brainstorms, customer interactions, and other activities that require face time, but collaboration tools will allow teams to take unnecessary meetings off the calendar.

Related: Why Transparency Between Teams is so Vital to Production

Employee retention and engagement 

The past two years have been filled with care packages from employers, stipends for home offices, and an endless amount of virtual bonding activities. This year, employers will continue to focus on employee engagement, but their top priority will be maintaining talent, especially as employees continue to voluntarily resign from their jobs during “The Great Resignation.”

Companies will invest more in employee education and training, implement more flexible working policies, like work-from-anywhere and 4-day workweeks, and create unique benefits that employees can’t find anywhere else. 

When companies move away from working in excess, they’ll see more than just benefits to their budget. The productivity of their organization will increase, and we’ll possibly see greater employee retention than pre-pandemic levels. 

Related: 10 Actionable Employee Retention Strategies for 2022

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