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Citrites predict the 2022 trends that will reshape work

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We squeezed about a decade of workplace transformation into 2021. Nearly every aspect of what it means to go to work is in flux. This includes everything from shifts in culture and norms to the role of physical office — and, of course, the digital workspaces people use to get their done every day.

But what does 2022 have in store?

At Citrix, we’ve been excited and honored to help more than 100 million people around the globe securely connect to their critical apps and services. But our responsibility to our customers goes beyond digital workspace technology —  the technology and business leaders we serve are a part of broader teams responsible for the transformations. Their remit goes beyond technology, and we strive to be an asset to them and help them be more successful in their roles.

This year, we kicked off an exciting new venture. Citrites all over the world and from all parts of our business engaged in an exercise we call Citrix Predicts. Simply put, we conducted a company-wide brainstorming exercise and collected predictions for trends that we believe will happen in 2022 and, more importantly, what you should do about them.

IT leadership teams often develop three-year (or even five-year) roadmaps. But as the pandemic has taught us, teams need to be prepared to react, and plans sometimes need to change. Our predictions were targeted with helping you prepare to react. Citrites also voted on the predictions that they felt were the most likely to happen and that would be most impactful.

Here are the Top 5, as voted by the Citrix team:

  1. Hybrid work picks up steam, and the attention turns to the network. More than two-thirds of Citrix employee respondents voted for this prediction, making it the No. 1 insight for 2022. We expect to see a shift to implementing a secure, efficient, and reliable work environment as the default for hybrid and that allows people to work from anywhere. But the weak link is still the network. Since the start of the pandemic, companies have relied on patchwork solutions to allow access to business apps, but they’ll have to continue to improve the remote performance of apps through acceleration. There will also be a push for more bandwidth as people move to working from home more permanently,  and 5G will be the norm for many, with satellite gaining steam in rural areas.
  2. The gig economy gets a jumpstart in 2022 as the number of unincorporated self-employed workers will continues to rise to new heights. This prediction received the second-most votes within Citrix. In 2020 and 2021, there were 500,000 new self-employed workers according to the U.S. Department of Labor. In Upwork’s Q3 2021 earnings call, CEO Hayden Brown noted that half the Gen Z talent pool was choosing to start their careers by freelancing. Citrix’s own research, Work 2035, explored how labor was changing, and how business would need to adapt to new models of working. Businesses looking to tap into this market will have to adapt the ways they work — they’ll need flexible digital workspaces that quickly enable access to the apps and services needed for work while ensuring they remain secure and not expose their businesses to more threats.
  3. Companies reinvest in employee portals to make them more tailored and personalized — and a place to get work done. Twenty-four percent of Citrites see portals undergoing an evolution in 2022. Portals or intranets have been through many iterations over the years, starting as central places to distribute news and content to the workforce like company updates and HR information. In 2022, as companies look to create digital workspaces that facilitate hybrid access, they’ll look to simplify the user experience and rethink the role of portals — evolving them from being simply places to learn and absorb information to central places for them to get work done and connect with others. To get these right, smart companies will develop greater empathy and insight by spending more time observing and talking to employees and thinking about employee’s daily journeys and how portals can help make it easier to get things done.
  4. Companies will make significant overtures to efforts to retain women and bring them back into the workforce — but many will fail.Why? Though well intended, many organizations still struggle to foster a culture that packages opportunities for advancement along with flexibility. Women want to work remotely more often and will suffer from unequal to promotions or meaningful work. Deloitte’s Women at Work study found that 51 percent feel less optimistic about their career prospects today, and 57 percent say they plan to leave their current job within two years. In a study of gender inequality, The London School of Economics reported that 64 million women had lost their jobs globally during the pandemic. To help these initiatives succeed, companies will have to ensure that they take steps to ensure hybrid work doesn’t equate to glass ceilings for those not in the office. Organizations can’t afford to lose women leaders: McKinsey found that profits/ share prices can be up to 50 percent higher when women are well represented at the top. Companies will find the way to attract talent is through flexible work arrangements, competitive pay, minimizing proximity bias in promotions and career advancements, and more management investment to support well-being.
  5. The educator experience receives more attention. At the start of the pandemic, there were frequently stories of classes either canceled or rescheduled due to technical issues. While there has been a lot of well-deserved attention on challenges students have faced, educational institutions must refocus on the educator experience. Why? While any barrier to learning for a student is tragic, the scope of the impact is even greater for teachers. If a teacher misses a class all of their students are impacted, and educational institutions must navigate teacher’s contracts — and some even might risk revenue impacts. In 2021, Citrix released Thrive With Employee Experience, exclusive research identifying the behaviors and activities of organizations creating more effective hybrid work strategies. We found that the most advanced companies were over 60 percentage points more likely than the laggards to engage in a set of empathy driven, human centric activities — like conducting employee journey mapping exercises and employing Design Thinking to improve the employee experience. In 2022, educational institutions will have to take a similar approach and refocus on the teacher experience in 2022 to curb losses and put teachers in a position to do their best work, whether in person or online.

Over the course of the next few weeks we’ll be releasing our complete list of predictions, packed with more insights into how you can adapt to the twists and turns that 2022 has in store. Stay tuned!

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