Most of us are not heading into 2022 with the same sense of relief and anticipation we felt 12 months ago. Will next year be 2021 redux? Or will we be able to apply some of the lessons learned to devise a better path forward?
Marian Salzman—one of the world’s leading trendspotters—has just released her trendsightings for 2022, and while she doesn’t have definitive answers, she hopes to contribute to some semblance of order in a world that is anything but orderly. Among the trends she sees shaping the year ahead:
Mental health moves out in the open
As the world gets wiser to so-called diseases of despair, this is the right moment for the adoption of tools and technologies to tackle mental health problems and promote well-being. Weighted blankets, meet flotation therapy, reduced workweeks, and virtual reality‒boosted meditation. And expect further growth in wellness apps and wearable neurofeedback devices—some with subscriptions sponsored by employers.
Rethinking how we work
After the Great Pause of the pandemic, people are reconsidering what they want from work—and how much they’re willing to put up with. More is expected of companies, including not just fair wages but effective diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives and a commitment to advancing social justice. As employers look into hybrid approaches and seek smarter ways to upskill and reskill their workforces, watch for a rise of “cohesion cultivators,” internal and external specialists tasked with bringing together a scattered workforce in meaningful ways.
Admiration for science, fear of science
Resistance to vaccines is nothing new, but the politicization of science has reached the point that it threatens to thwart progress against the pandemic. Even more divisive will be fears regarding cutting-edge technologies such as gene editing.
The missing middle
In these polarized times—and with hate on the rise—“middle” and “center” have been stuck with a bad rap. Most people tend toward centrist views in many respects, but they’re not the ones setting agendas and driving news cycles. As it becomes increasingly clear that extremism is getting us nowhere, look for more people to take conscious steps toward a place where consensus is not anathema and collaboration on our biggest challenges is not considered contemptible.
You can read Marian’s full 22 for 2022 trends report here.