January 27, 2022

February Trends to Watch

4 min read
By Maryam Mohamedali
Looking for inspiration, trends, and rumblings that could impact our industry?


With 2022 now in full swing, we’ve scanned for signals of change and selected three people-focused trends to watch out for in February. This month, we explore the shifting dynamics between employees and their employers, how people leaders are re-thinking physical spaces, and why the proliferation of portfolio careers is leading to a rise in micro placements.

Here are your February trends to watch:



From Employer to Employee. From Maker to Consumer.

We’re seeing a shift in control from companies and employers to consumers and employees. Covid has shown us that we can work flexibly without having to go into the office. This has forced many employers to re-evaluate the expectations they have of their employees. Similarly, companies are adjusting their products and messages to align with what consumers are currently demanding: honesty and transparency.

 This trend is being driven by…
  • Conscious Consumer: The ongoing rise of the conscious consumer is giving way to a wave of awareness raising initiatives around sustainability and possible solutions to the Waste Age. We’re seeing various commercials, exhibits and products that are all contributing to the rise of Shifting Dynamics.
  • The Great Realignment: Last year, 41% of workers globally were considering leaving their employer. Masses of people are re-evaluating what it is they truly want to do. Is their current role fulfilling? Should they be doing something else? Are they having the impact they want to have? This is causing employers to now evaluate their employees changing needs to determine how they meet those needs and retain employees.
One thing you can do to be ready for this?

Be open to discovering your employees’ evolving needs, and be transparent and honest about the progress you’re making towards meeting those needs.



A year for re-thinking spaces.

18 million square feet of space once used for business has been decommissioned since the start of the pandemic in the UK. We’re undergoing a period of disequilibrium as we emerge from the crisis that Covid brought. We’re specifically experiencing this disequilibrium in relation to the changing workplace: the office isn’t necessarily where the bulk of our work takes place. We work in all sorts of places, and home has become a much more common place of work.

In 2022, we’ll continue our search for equilibrium as we move towards a world where we go to the office if and when it genuinely assists our work, rather than going out of regulation. *Thank you, Kelly Bryan!

 This trend is being driven by…
  • Re-Imagining Spaces: As we witness large Department Stores being converted into schools and libraries, we’re re-considering how best to use physical spaces. This re-consideration will continue to cross into the realm of the office, forcing us to explicitly consider questions such as, ‘How do we use our office space’?, ‘How should we use it’?, and ‘Which teams require the space’?.
  • Sustainability: We’re increasingly extending and applying the concept of ‘sustainability’ to wider notions of consumption, including what we buy and how we learn. The desire to be conscious and sustainable consumers extends to how we’re beginning to think about physical office spaces: in what capacity do we truly need them?
One thing you can do to be ready for this?

The silver lining of disequilibrium is that it promotes personal learning, because it’s during moment of transition that we tend to reflect. Use this year as an opportunity to get employees to reflect on their need for equilibrium. What are their preferred ways of working? How can their employer support them in finding some equilibrium?



The rise of Micro Placements.

Having featured in our November 2021 trends, our research indicates that Internal Mobility will continue its rise as a viable and effective alternative to long-term internships.

Companies are creating mobility within their businesses by providing opportunities for their employees to diversify internally. In some cases, we’re seeing micro roles – roles that take up 12% or 13% of someone’s time – being posted internally, providing anyone within the organisation an opportunity to apply for them. Beyond mobility, it’s a way for businesses to leverage the collective intelligence of their employee-base, while also providing them with some much-needed variety.

 This trend is being driven by…
  • Portfolio Careers: In the US, the number of freelance workers is steadily on the rise and is expected to reach 90.1 million by 2028, which is roughly half of the whole American workforce. Many are choosing a work-life characterized by variety and choice – opting to work in multiple roles rather than a single role at a single organization.
One thing you can do to be ready for this?

Open up opportunities for people to grow and develop across your organisation, rather than within one specific role only.


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