Updated on: Monday, January 03, 2022, 08:32 AM IST

Towards a 2022 with a difference


‘Copability’ rather than capability will drive careers and work lives in 2022, says veteran adman Dr Sandeep Goyal, Managing Director of Rediffusion, as he envisages the trends for the New Year we have just entered

Someone asked me the other day whether 2022 would be (or could be) any different from the two years gone by that got so massively impacted by the pandemic. Presuming that the virus mutates, abates and hopefully wanes in the year ahead, will the New Year see some interesting new trends? Let me get listical, and do you my Top 5.

1. The 4-day week (4DW) and Work From Home (WFH):The year 2022 will hopefully see ‘freedom at work’ become a reality. A 4DW will give those that desire more elbow room in their daily work lives, the necessary flexibility and choice – 50 extra days in the year to do what they want to do, when they want to do, and which way they want to do. WFH will be an even more desirable option for those who like the peace and quiet at home, or need to stay away from the hurly-burly of an office routine because of family compulsions.

But – there is always a but (!) – these options will come with some downers. A 20% salary cut for those that opt for the 4DW, and a 33-40% deduction for those that want to do WFH. And yes, these are not my personal recommendations; just indicative numbers from those already in the mould globally. You choose.

2. The arrival of 5G:Education, entertainment, enterprises, mobility and security will all see a metamorphosis as over a dozen cities get 5G-empowered in India in 2022. But will 5G mean anythingbeyond faster speeds and lower latency?With 5G reaching 10 gigabits per second –up to 100 times faster than 4G– 5G networks can deliver the level of performance needed for an increasingly connected society.Using 5G networks to send and receive information quickly will help us develop new services and devices, particularlyconnected carsand vehicle-to-vehicle information (akaV2X),virtual-reality gaming, remote surgical operations, translation software and yes, Work From Anywhere!

Work from Anywhere and Hybrid Working will gain momentum in the year ahead. Of course, these new trends are still work-in-progress and will need greater understanding from both employees and employers. Nevertheless, they are on their way, for sure.

3. AI will be here soon: AI will, in the months ahead, primarily be used to automate repetitive elements of our day-to-day roles and allow us all to focus on areas that require a more human touch – creativity, imagination, high-level strategy, or emotional intelligence. Some will surely say that ad agencies are really not wired into future technologies – but (yes, but again!) our clients already are, and will increasingly be so. And that is where trouble may get sparked off.

Not only AI, but Machine Learning (ML), Blockchain (BC), Augmented Reality (AR), Digital Twins and more will all become part of our 2022 lives, with possibly a small presence to begin with, but an ever-increasing canvas in the days and months ahead. The accent, as we go forward, will no longer be on an individual’s past capability (“I have 26 years of experience …” – but who cares?) which will increasingly require quick and sometimes drastic re-definition of roles, responsibilities, expectations and deliverables. ‘Copability’ rather than capability will drive careers and work lives in 2022.

4. Get ahead – re-skill and up-skill, or perish:A huge ‘get ahead’ market is getting created as more and more technology encroaches our daily work lives. Advent of these new advances in science will mean the onset of professional anachronism far faster than ever before. Even those in their late 30s are getting labelled as ‘old’ by HR heads and recruiters in companies. To keep abreast, if not ahead, of the demands of the new workplace, every one of us will need to up-skill and re-skill.

As per a recent PWC report, 40% of workers globally focused on up-skilling during the pandemic. They improved their digital skills in fields like data analytics and automation, and 76% of CEOs believe the shift to embrace automation initiatives will endure for some time – making up-skilling more of an imperative than it’s ever been before.Formal learning, non-formal learning and informal learning are all important for tomorrow. An open mind, an inquisitive mind, a receptive mind will be needed to understand change, and embrace it. That too quickly.

5. Content, conversations, clicks and conversions will dictate communication:In the advertising business, the change in 2022 will be even more pronounced. Despite growing clamour by clients, ad agencies are still not readying to be digital-first. So being mobile-first is an even more distant horizon. This is going to adversely impact both the business, and its practitioners.

Thirty years ago, when satellite television arrived, most advertising agencies were slow to react. As a result, a whole generation of entrenched Doordarshan media stars lost their relevance (and their jobs). The creative business too was equally impacted. Long body copy in double spread magazine ads suddenly had no takers. If you could not write crisp and interesting 30-seconders for television, you were redundant in the system. Today, I have almost a feeling of déjà vu. I asked a fairly senior art director the other day to insert a QR code in the ad. He looked unsure of himself, and spent quite a while figuring out what to do and finally had to ask for external assistance. He’s a decent art guy but lacks even rudimentary knowledge of digital. He is, unfortunately, not alone. Most of his tribe could be in serious trouble as clients insist on sharp digital deliveries with good understanding of UI, UX and more. Even the basics – like thinking vertical for mobile communication rather than horizontal frames –is something most creative resources in the Indian ad industry don’t understand. Well, trouble looms large.


I look at 2022 with hope. But I also look at 2022 with some trepidation.We are headed into the unknown-unknown … a world plagued by disease and death on one side, with no certainty on where mankind is headed. We are simultaneously reeling under myriad changes driven by technology and new professional challenges.It somehow seems hollow to claim, “God’sinhis Heaven/All’s right with the world”.

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Published on: Monday, January 03, 2022, 08:32 AM IST