In an era of total chaos and change, the only constant is that the way we work is forever changing.
The workplace trends and technologies that emerged in 2019 completely evolved the world of work. For instance, a whole new generation is joining the workforce, employees are leaning towards greater flexibility, employee well-being has become a driver of change for businesses, and 5G is speeding up day to day tasks. Not to mention, our work environment is under siege by globalization, automation, technological developments, and economic changes.
For businesses aspiring to win the battle for top talent or gain a competitive edge, recognizing and exploiting these workplace trends is the key to coming out. Let’s shed some light on the modern workplace trends to help you understand the initiatives that are projected to transform the workplace in 2020.
Workplace Trends For 2020
Employee Wellbeing Is No Longer A Bonus
Employee wellbeing came under limelight in 2019, ensuing reports citing increased incidents of burnout at work and its possible repercussions for both the mental and physical health of employees.
A recent Levell study revealed that burnout and persistent stress at work are leading to a performance drop in almost 60% of workers. Another research found that 95% of HR leaders condemn stress as the main culprit of sabotaging workforce retention.
In the light of this rather alarming discovery, how can businesses start dealing with burnout and reengage disconnected employees? More and more businesses are investing in workplace wellness strategies to improve employee well being.
It’s not hard to come across modern workplaces with medical care, childcare, cafeterias, and onsite fitness centers. A North American study linked offices enjoying natural light and breathtaking views with happier employees. It’s not far before we see the rise of more open-air offices.
Similarly, one strategy that a lot of businesses, the likes of Apple, Google and McKinsey, are jumping on is practicing mindfulness at work. These Global giants have started implementing programs fro, cognitive behavioral training to meditation, all geared at refocusing and rejuvenating employees.
After all, we all know how meditation affects areas of your brain that regulate emotion. This in turn, improves job satisfaction at work, boosts job performance, increases attention span, and keeps employees feel happier.
Remote Work The New Catchword
Remote working started posing a serious threat to traditional office centric working in 2019. What with the fast-pace advancement of multiple facets of workplace technology giving remote working an edge. Not to mention, generation Z is forcing businesses to reframe the modalities of work, with the balance tipping ever more towards remote working.
Furthermore, the adoption of employee productivity software, communication software, and robust time management, are further cementing a spot for remote working. Employees of today seem more inclined towards remote working due to the flexibility and freedom it affords.
Remote working has another catch; it helps nurture a better work-life balance and allows both the personal and professional aspects of your life to coexist harmoniously. For instance, working moms can handle professional roles while taking care of a child at home. With so many positives, it hardly comes as a surprise that 90% of remote workers plan on continuing this way in 2020 as well.
The mass influx of digital nomads and breakthroughs in workplace innovations are propelling the adoption of remote working. Global workforce is bound to transition to the new norm of remote working, helping it become more proliferate.
While the concept is still being tested out in organizations, the future of remote working is sure mesmerizing. According to a report, with organizations recognizing the importance of letting employees work from home, 73% of all departments will have remote workers by 2028.
It may surprise you to know that your employers are spying on every breath you take at work. By collecting more insights into how employees spend their time at work, companies can better protect resources and create a work environment more conductive to productivity.
The perception of employees has also shifted from warily viewing this as a “big brother” move, to being comfortable with it; granted it somehow improves their workplace experience.
While only 30% of workplaces were employing monitoring techniques in 2015, this number is projected to reach 80% in 2020. Similarly, the percentage of employees who find it acceptable to be monitored has grown from 10 to 30%. However, since employees are entitled to their privacy, transparency is the key to not ruffling feathers here.
Employee monitoring is a double-edged sword. On one hand, Google was recently accused of monitoring their employee’s efforts to organize protects pertaining to labor rights. The tool was found to “tell on” workers who were caught scheduling calendar events with over a hundred employees. On the other hand, we have witnessed first-hand Domino’s pizza’s AI-powered camera system that makes sure customers getting what they ordered, with the appropriate toppings.
Some countries have taken the concept too seriously. Haven’t you heard of Swedish companies inserting microchips into the bodies of employees so that they can check in at work without needing a key card. Similarly, a lot of Chinese companies are leveraging an “emotional surveillance technology” to keep tabs on the emotions and brainwaves of employees, in order to gauge the general feeling around the workplace.
When we talk about workplace trends, flexibility was the buzzword of 2019! It seemed like the term was becoming all too ubiquitous. More and more companies were giving employees the choice to work from anywhere that suited them, be it a café, from the comforts of their bedroom, or even while on vacation.
Giving employees the control to work from anywhere they want, at any time they want, is directly linked to heightened productivity. 54% of employees are of the view that flexible working helps them work better and faster, while 65% of workers believe that given the opportunity to tailor their work environment makes them more productive.
Just like globalization of organizations has rendered the concept of brick-and-mortar workplaces obsolete, the 9-5, 5 days a week, lifestyle doesn’t work anymore. The predilection for palatable work schedules runs deeper than you can imagine. Some employees go as far as to prefer flexible schedules over healthcare coverage.
Ever since a firm in New Zealand implemented a 4-day workweek, they saw a 20% increase in engagement, 24% improvement in work-life balance, while a 7% drop in stress levels. Similarly, Japanese government is giving employees Monday morning offs via the “Shining Monday” initiative, as a step towards employee wellbeing.
Seems like a win-win situation for everyone in 2020.
More Recognition And Reward Systems At The Team Level
While we are accustomed to celebrating the accomplishments of the company as a whole, say hello to the team of the year as we inch closer to 2020. Well we can’t say this came as a surprise. 90% of companies encounter challenges so hard that they often rely on entire teams to get the job done. Yet at the end of the day, we performance-manage reward and acknowledge individuals, rather than the whole team.
There is no such thing as a lone genius, and companies are starting to realize that even Thomas Edison had a team behind the curtains, working on the light bulb.
This is why a lot of organizations are bringing more cross-departmental and cross-functional teams together to bring diverse skill sets to the table and get fresh pairs of eyes on complex challenges. With more and more organizations understanding such workplace trends, 2020 is looking to be the year of the teams!
For decades, we have witnessed our share of diversity campaigns focused at making sure more women hold top leadership positions. With 2020 at the horizon, this seems more possible than ever before.
Empowering women to take the lead is not only morally upright but scientifically beneficial as well. According to a study, it was found that you can expect to see 15% higher profits with women at the helm.
And this doesn’t stop at higher profitability. Due to the host of benefits companies are reaping by letting women hold more top positions, organizations are striving to close the gender gap. Of all the latest workplace trends, the gender equality trend is gathering steam fast. We will see more organizations assigning executive posts to women in 2020.
Focus On Soft Skills
With digital transformation on the rise, change is bound to be constant. New Workplace trends will see some job roles disappear altogether, while others will evolve into something completely different. While the focus was more on hard skills before, it is fast shifting to soft skills now.
With advances in technology, it is predicted that the focus will shift to soft skills, such as leadership, verbal and written communication, and analytical skills. While these skills are rather harder to quantify, they are key indicators of an employee’s productivity and performance. Not to mention, they critical to creating opportunities for advancement, building relationships, and gaining visibility.
In a nutshell, these skills are gathering steam since they strengthen human connection, which is important for high-performance teams.