Changes don’t happen overnight. Trends don’t come out of the blue; they slowly build up day to day, until, one day, they reach the point in time in which they simply…boom.
With a significant amount of Baby Boomers exiting the workforce and Generation Z entering it, it looks like 2016 might just be the year for a workplace revolution.
So here’s what you can expect to see this 2016.
Flexibility becomes the norm
While it used to be that only freelancers and part-time workers had flexibility at work, we’re now seeing more and more companies adopting flexible and remote work strategies. This isn’t a generation thing anymore, companies are starting to realize that allowing workers to have more flexibility in their schedules can be profitable and beneficial to them. We’re just going to mention a few here: overhead costs are lower, it’s environmentally-friendly, it motivates staff, and it attracts talent from different places.
Technology has played a big role in this, as more technologies are available today that allow workers to be present (online) and available for work without having to physically be in the office. We live in a world in which most people are constantly (if not always) connected; either by their phones, laptops, or wearable devices–people can be reached anywhere, anytime; and consequently, many types of work can now also be done anywhere, anytime.
The upsurge of coworking spaces around the world has also had an impact in this trend, as workers are able to be in an environment that encourages work, productivity, and collaboration. The coworking movement has reached such a high-point, that many operators and networks now offer coworking visas or similar programs that allow for coworkers to use spaces in different countries or cities without having to buy a separate membership.
Studies have shown that flexibility reduces burnout and stress, as it allows for individuals to work at the hours in which they are the most efficient and productive (we can’t all be morning people, just like we can’t all be night-owls).
Most importantly, however, is the fact that flexibility has become a key driver when it comes to talent acquisition and retention. Forbes mentions how workers would consider switching employers or staying with them depending on the flexibility options that they provide. Which leads us to trend #2.
Less full-time contracts, more freelance work
With flexibility high on the agenda, professionals are seeking work opportunities that won’t tie them down and will allow them to have more control over their lives and reach a better work-life balance.
As with flexibility, technology has also played a key role in this trend, as it’s allowed professionals anywhere in the world to find gigs or projects to work on from companies worldwide. Websites such as Fiverr or Upwork are popular both among freelancers as well as among small companies that need to hire on-demand and competitive talent at a lower cost.
In the US, experts are attributing part of this switch to Obamacare, as health benefits and insurance has become the greatest cost for companies. This in turn has led many companies to let go of full-time employees and hire freelancers instead.
The performance review gets a makeover
Late last year, we published an article in which we discussed the employee review process and how the time had come for companies and employers to adjust it.
Although the article above focuses mainly on millennials, some of the concerns and points that it addresses are relevant to all workers of today’s world. The switch that we’ll be seeing this year is towards more often and less rigid performance reviews. Experts predict that companies will adopt a more ‘informal’ approach to reviews and will conduct them regularly in order to provide instant feedback to employees; therefore hoping to motivate them and keep them goal driven.
Design becomes about functionality
Hand in hand with flexibility and hiring more freelancers, companies will see the need of redesigning the office space. Less full-time employees and more remote workers means that there’s no longer a need to have a specific desk (cubicle) for each worker. Companies are likely to redesign their spaces and change their layouts.
Also, design becomes more about functionality and practicality; this includes movable furniture, better space-planning, improving community areas like the office kitchen, and combining technology with design. This last one could be implementing smart lighting, creating spaces for mobile technology, using wireless products to remove excess of cables and wires, etc.
Technology in the workplace
Technology will facilitate work for those ‘in the office’ as for those working remotely. Apps like Slack, Asana, Trello, Screenhero, and Skype facilitate internal communication, organization, and task assignment.
We can’t, however, forget about smart technology like IoT and artificial intelligence, as they’ll give work spaces an extra edge and change the dynamics of how some things get done. But, we’ll just let you read this article to let you get a better idea of the role technology will play in the workplace.