Just as day turns into night (and as Alpha turned into Delta and now to Omicron – sigh), the office-based workplace is constantly changing. And there’s been no quicker evolution than between March 2020 and now. For office workers, it’s almost becoming a strange idea that everyone left their homes each morning to head to jobs that all started between 8 and 9 am. Everyone walking, driving, cycling, on buses and trains, all trying to get there at the same time. Now, lots of people start work at the time they used to leave the house, which is a big plus for employers and the environment, if not for coffee and sandwich shops.

We’ve gone from 0-100mph on so many changes during the last (almost) two years but there are doubtless more ahead. Here are just some of the things we’ve learned and some thoughts on where things might be taking us next…

Working more flexibly

We’ve done a 180 on not working in the office full time. OK, so it wasn’t employers’ first choice, but circumstances dictated that that’s what happened. Let’s be clear: it doesn’t suit everyone. If you have no dedicated workspace, working from home gets old really quickly. Plus, lots of people benefit hugely from being around their colleagues – not just for learning and development, but socially too. But for those more established in their careers who do have a home workspace and work in sectors or roles that require only a small degree of collaborative working, it can mean a greater opportunity to focus and work more productively, while providing a better work/life balance for families.

For 2022 – Now that employers are largely on board with more hybrid working and allowing us to work more flexibly, could the next change be the introduction of technology to allow us to work and collaborate asynchronously? And will those technologies eventually erode the traditional 9-5?

Work location can be fluid

We’ve almost done an about-turn on needing to get a job in an office near to where you live. Of course, if you work as a specialist in a niche sector, this may not be the case, but if your job is more general and transferable, then the remote-working job market has certainly opened up your choices.

As of now, it’s plain to see that there are many more jobs for hybrid remote working roles being advertised (some, still to return to the office when the virus danger has receded though), but an increasing number are now completely home-based.

For 2022 – Will companies insisting on full-time office attendance (when lockdowns have proved this unnecessary) appear increasingly at odds with the times? Could that begin to affect recruitment and retention? It’s a road that they will have to tread very carefully.

Collaboration is everything!

We’ve picked up the baton and run flat out to get on board with collaboration tools. We’ve all learned new ways of working and collaborating within shared workspaces. Certainly, at NetSupport, we’ve all learned to use Microsoft Teams to the max, but whether it’s that, Slack, Trello, Jira, or any other communication, task management, and collaboration apps, we’ve all been on that learning curve.

For 2022 – We’ve recently had the big Facebook/Meta announcement – yes, that one – and been introduced to the idea of the Metaverse. Will 2022 see a growing trend towards meeting in VR? It’s not here for Microsoft Teams yet, but this article highlights some of the possibilities (we’re not sure all of them are ‘benefits’ just yet. 😉).

Ace-ing video calls – a bona fide skill for your resumé

We’ve practically gone from zero to hero on video calls. Previously terrifying, they’re increasingly just a normal part of the working day, whether simply for one-to-one calls or full-on meetings. Some people are even beginning to think it’s rude not to have cameras on without good reason! We’ve learned that it’s good to be dressed properly, minimize distractions, get the lighting right, and remember to unmute ourselves when it’s time to speak. And those who have excelled at overseeing virtual meetings have learned to scan the ‘room’, ensure everyone gets heard when they want or need to be, and honed the skill of keeping things more focused in terms of contact time – which is much appreciated by everyone.

For 2022 – Will the new year see us further embracing video calls now that AR is being drawn in? Hmm, maybe and maybe not! Let’s keep that one for friends and family, shall we?!

Season’s greetings!

This year has whizzed past for all of us at NetSupport. We’ve worked our socks off to keep our name out there and in the mix – virtually and, when circumstances allowed, in person. We were exceptionally pleased to gain industry acknowledgment during 2021 by being chosen as finalists in several awards, including the UK Dev Awards and the European IT & Software awards – and were especially delighted to win a UK Business Tech Award in our category of EdTech Company of the Year!

Our talented Dev and Testing teams have been working hard on updates to our corporate and education solutions, so they’ll be coming over the horizon in 2022 – and we very much look forward to seeing you again at next year’s exhibitions (circumstances permitting), with Bett 2022 and FETC first in line in January.

From all of us at NetSupport, we wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and all the very best for the festive season! Thank you all so much for your support during 2021 – we genuinely do appreciate your loyalty and custom.

Take care, stay safe, and we’ll see you in 2022.

Further reading

Tech predictions for 2022: