Keypoint Intelligence Predictions 2022: The Office Goes Hybrid
Print in a diversified space
As is customary at end of year, the Office Group at Keypoint Intelligence provided annual predictions for the year ahead. While there were too many to go through in one blog, most every trend we analyzed revolved around one certainty: The office is going hybrid. Ever since March 2020 forced humanity into a new way of living, numerous trends have accelerated, chief among them the move into digitization, including the transformation away from paper-based workflows to digital workflows.
The office of the future is not confined by logistical limitations—and this is a good thing. We want to be clear on this up front. While many of our predictions might present some gloom, our findings on the hybrid shift are anything but. This movement away from traditional office workflow models opens up numerous and incredible possibilities, so long as you’re ready to take advantage of them.
Hybrid Will Outlive the Pandemic
First and foremost, it is important to understand that this new hybrid model will, in all likelihood, outlive the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the primary reasons for this is also one of the simplest: Employees like the hybrid model too much to simply abandon it. Keypoint Intelligence’s research has shown again and again that the majority of employees like the autonomy of working from home for some of their working hours and wish to continue to do so going forward.
|Positive associations with working from home have risen from 2020 data.|
Organizations that ignore the will/morale of their employees in an attempt to return to pre-pandemic working based solely on traditional beliefs and not concrete reasoning are more likely to spend more on employee turnover, as well as deal with overall reduced employee productivity. Change is here; it’s time to embrace it.
The New Potential of the Hybrid Office
While there are, of course, challenges to a hybrid workplace model (more on that later), there are benefits that should not be ignored. First and foremost: the increased talent pool. In decades past, a business in Utah typically hired most of its workers in Utah—and if they wanted people from outside the state, it was expected they would at the very least help pay relocation costs. This is no longer true with a hybrid office that supports certain employees being fully remote or only coming into the office once or twice a year. Given the increased rate of retirement, many organizations should not be too quick to shrug off this expansion in replacement talent.
In addition, advancements in remote collaboration and remote support technology are making it easier for colleagues to work together, regardless of where they are. This is led by numerous advancements, including a shift to the cloud; the slow but steady rollout of 5G; and the growing use of extended reality (XR) solutions to give coworkers the tools they need to meet, discuss, and work together without having to be in the same room.
Print’s Role in the Hybrid Office
Many are probably saying “Yeah sure, all this is well and good, but what about print? Does print have a role in the hybrid office in 2022 and beyond?”
Well, yes and no. Given the decentralized nature of the hybrid office, it’s not realistic to envision print being the primary communication method. That said, it does not mean that print will disappear entirely. One of our biggest takeaways from the shift to hybrid is this: print service providers and vendors should diversify their product portfolios—not abandoning print but realigning it as a smaller part of a new workflow.
The science is obvious at this point: Until the majority of the world population is vaccinated, variants like Delta and Omicron are going to persist. This, in turn, will lead to regulations and restrictions, which will in turn impact business. Really it is in the best interest of every organization, regardless of industry, to push for more vaccinations—not just for their own companies but for the countries currently not receiving significant supplies. If we want to live in a globalist society, we have to take care of a globe’s worth of people.
Until such a time, it is unrealistic to expect that the office space will be anything but a hybrid environment, one where organizations willing to embrace change and diversity will have a definite advantage over those clinging to traditional models.
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