Peter Griffin, Editor. 01 February 2022, 11:40 am
Hybrid work is now the norm for millions of organisations across the world. But company culture has failed to adapt to the new reality, posing the risk of more talent walking out the door in search of more “meaningful work”.
That’s the conclusion from global consulting group Deloitte, which has just published its technology industry outlook for 2022. The report zooms in on four big trends in particular – the evolution of everything as a service (XaaS), supply chain resilience, sustainability priorities and the hybrid workforce.
The latter is particularly relevant to New Zealand tech companies seeking to recruit and retain talent in a very tight labour market. The Government is about to loosen immigration restrictions to allow up to 600 highly-skilled tech workers to enter New Zealand.
That will come as a major relief to the sector, especially for those seeking senior staff and specialist skills in cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and software development. But tech companies, in particular, need to also create the right environment to hold onto their staff.
Part of that involves making the most of the hybrid work environment that is now the norm for most tech workers. It involves accommodating the flexibility workers are demanding while making the most of the home and office environments.
“Tech companies that do not adapt may struggle to maintain a unified culture, feeling of belonging, and sense of fairness among their employees, with respect to advancement and compensation,” writes Paul Silverglate Deloitte’s vice-chair and US technology sector leader.
He suggests employers should focus on three areas: creating equivalence between in-person and virtual work, driving purposeful engagement, and establishing rules on how and when to co-locate.
More virtual collaboration offerings
As part of that, Deloitte sees tech companies experimenting with collaboration technology. Microsoft ended 2021 with a showcase of its metaverse offerings, including Teams meetings in virtual 3D environments. Silvergate suggests that the likes of Google Campfire, “which brings in-person and remote attendees together on a more level playing field”, will also get a workout this year.
Tools that all dispersed engineering teams to collaborate virtually on highly technical design, engineering, and simulation projects, will also be in hot demand. Nvidia’s Omniverse platform aims to support that by appealing to collaboration in technical disciplines such as industrial design, urban planning and technical simulation.
Another aspect of the new hybrid work environment is the tax implications it raises. With teams spending less time in the office and potentially spread across national borders, the tax implications can become more complicated.
Writes Silvergalte: “Potential tax implications include corporate tax, transfer pricing, employment tax, sales and use tax, and property tax, as well as credits and incentives resulting in new filing and withholding requirements, shifting tax costs, and tax risk management.”
Deloitte recommends keeping tabs on tax compliance at a more granular level to avoid falling foul of tax regulations.
Deloitte’s four top trends for the IT sector in 2022:
1. Taking cloud and everything-as-a-service to the next level.
As more companies embrace cloud and service-based IT to drive innovation and transformation, and as XaaS providers multiply, more work will be needed to manage the technical and operational complexities of hybrid, multi-cloud approaches.
2. Creating the supply chains of the future.
As technology companies continue to recover from pandemic-induced supply chain disruptions, they will start proactively preparing for future uncertainty and other systemic risks. To do it, they’ll build systems with better visibility and resiliency.
3. Building the next iteration of the hybrid workforce.
With more experience utilizing a hybrid workforce under their collective belts, tech companies will evolve their cultures, accelerate experimentation with collaboration solutions, and develop better approaches to managing tax implications.
4. Leading the charge to create a sustainable future.
Although the tech industry is working to address critical sustainability issues, growing pressure from stakeholders and potential changes to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting rules will incite tech companies to heighten their focus on reducing and reversing environmental impact.