As the year begins, we are prone to reflect on our accomplishments — as well as make famous New Year’s resolutions.
Aside from that, we tend to try to predict the trends for the year. In that light, let’s start with predicting workplace communication trends for 2022.
Since effective communication improves productivity by 20–25%, as Pumble's workplace communication research shows, it is understandable that companies have to strive towards better communication. One of the ways to do that is to keep up with trends in workplace communication.
On that note, we have made a selection of 5 trends for you to watch out for in the next year:
- Prioritizing mental health and wellbeing
- Sparking higher engagement via visual content
- A multi-channel approach to internal communication
- 5G speeding up the switch to mobile-based communication
- Turning leaders into better communicators
So, let’s get that crystal ball of ours, and see what workplace communication trends we believe await us in 2022.
Workplace communication trend #1: Prioritizing mental health and wellbeing
In 2022, we expect that the focus of managers and leaders will shift towards employees’ mental health and wellbeing.
According to the State of the Sector report 2021, 70% of companies want to work on mental health support in the following year. That’s where internal communications come into play — because employees have to be aware of available resources.
Three problems concerning the mental health and wellbeing of employees stand out in particular — and, all are more or less connected to the pandemic-induced state of the world:
- FOMO, i.e. the fear of missing out
- Consequences of Big Rona on mental health
So, let’s consider these problems in a bit greater detail and see how internal communication can help us solve them.
Dealing with burnout
According to Deloitte’s survey, burnout affects 77% of 1,000 surveyed US professionals. This is a serious problem — but one that can be mitigated with improved communication.
Managers should recognize the efforts of their employees, acknowledge them, and make them feel heard. This helps employees feel more motivated and dedicated to their jobs.
Dealing with FOMO
Since a significant number of employees are still working from home, or are practicing the hybrid model of work, employees might feel the so-called FOMO — they might feel they are missing out on important information and possibilities that would maybe enable their promotion. This problem is easily solved via improved team communication, even while working remotely. Managers should put an emphasis on employee experience — which is an inextricable part of internal communication trends — because it allows employees to be involved in the organization, as well as be informed about current affairs.
Dealing with the consequences of Big Rona on mental health
As Covid-19 (or Big Rona, as some people call it) continues to haunt our lives, we aren’t even aware of the consequences it’s leaving in its wake.
One of them is the detrimental effect on our mental health and safety concerns. As a matter of fact, about 51% of employees stated that their mental health worsened since the beginning of the pandemic.
Again, here’s where our managers and leaders come to the rescue — by simply communicating with their employees. All team members should feel supported in times of crisis, like these. The managers should ensure people know that — no matter what they are going through — there is someone who can help them.
Workplace communication trend #2: Sparking higher engagement via visual content
For a brief moment, let’s consider this.
Having in mind that Millennials outnumbered Boomers in the workforce way back in 2016, it’s useful to know that one Techsmith's research shows how “more than 64% of millennials say they understand information faster when it’s communicated visually”.
The same Techsmith’s report suggests that organizations that use visual internal communication are more productive.
If you’re wondering whether it’s complicated to incorporate visual elements into your internal communication, worry no more — it’s easier than it sounds. Just add visuals to your message — videos, infographics, GIFs, etc. — and you’ll unlock great potential for creativity in your employees.
Workplace communication trend #3: A multi-channel approach to internal communication
Another trend to watch out for in 2022 is a multi-channel approach to internal communication.
Leaders should be able to reach their employees wherever they are (but, not in a creepy after-work-hours way, of course).
For instance, after a meeting, managers can send their coworkers memos with the most important information via email, or via a business messaging platform that lets you create different channels for different purposes.
This helps managers get their message across to those coworkers who didn’t attend the meeting — as well as emphasize the most relevant information.
Aside from improving downward communication, channel-wide internal communication is beneficial for boosting horizontal communication — information spreads more quickly, which:
- eases the manager’s workload,
- empowers employees, and
- minimizes the risk of miscommunication.
Horizontal communication will also gain importance in the next year, thanks to the trends aiming to flatten organizational structures. After all — it’s the managers’ responsibility to encourage peer-to-peer communication and foster transparency.
Workplace communication trend #4: 5G speeding up the switch to mobile-based communication
The pandemic has shown us that we really can work from anywhere. All we need is a stable internet connection to keep up with the rest of the team.
That’s where 5G comes into play.
The arrival and wider spread of 5G are about to change the mode of communication significantly. Projections are that 5G will be multiple times faster than 4G — which means video meetings can go mobile.
This will be especially useful for remote and hybrid teams.
After all, as mentioned above, younger generations — which currently make up about half of the workforce in the US — are very tech-savvy and mobile-driven.
For instance, Millennials like flexible work hours and appreciate it if they can work from home at least a few days a week.
Thanks to 5G, this will be easier than ever.
Workplace communication trend #5: Turning leaders into better communicators
The pandemic has brought about the infodemic — and put global trust to the test. Yet, even though we may have lost trust in the media, our governments, and social media, businesses have become more trusted, competent, and ethical.
In that light, according to Edelman’s Trust Barometer, 86% of people think CEOs should speak their minds about societal issues.
Aside from that, 68% of the people surveyed think they should step in on issues where governments fail us.
So, it’s only logical that leaders should strive toward being even better communicators in the next year — to maintain or improve the level of trust employees have in them. Although this transparency in communication comes with high expectations, it should not frighten the leaders. It’s just that employees expect to hear from the top when something impactful happens. Yet, leaders should avoid information overload and convey the relevant messages clearly and concisely — to motivate their employees.
Even though we don’t have a crystal ball, we have given you our predictions for workplace communication trends for 2022.
You can use them as inspiration for your New Year’s resolutions and make 2022 the year you excel in workplace communication. If you have any doubts about the power of communication and words, we’ll leave you with the wise thoughts of Nathaniel Hawthorne:
“Words – so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.”Nathaniel Hawthorne