2019 Workplace Trends You Should Know About
The workplace in the 21st century is rapidly changing. What it may resembled a few years ago is no longer the case today. And what it may look like today will change very quickly in the future. A critical factor driving this ongoing evolution of the workplace is technology. For businesses seeking to succeed in this economic climate, the following are some of the key trends that are taking place:
1. Flexibility of Work—Time and Place
One of the dramatic changes that took place at the close of the past century and the beginning of this one is the end of the 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. workday—and for that matter the five-day work week. Workers—particularly white-collar professionals—no longer compartmentalize work into an eight-hour window that occurs five days a week.
Rather, due to the proliferation of high-speed internet access—both wired and wireless—use of mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, and maturation of web and video collaboration and project management tools, work now extends outside of the office and into our personal lives. Yet, at the same time, work flexibility, including remote work, has quickly become the norm at many companies—and in a time of low employment, such becomes a key to recruiting and retaining talent. Businesses are even finding that their remote workers put in more hours each week.
2. Diversity Prevails
Research shows that diverse workforces—from gender and sexual orientation, to multiracial, to multigenerational—perform better than those that are more uniform. Diversity unbounds teams to think more innovatively, make better decisions, and approach problems and opportunities from a greater set of perspectives. And while much of what we read about the new workplace centers around millennials, part of the emerging story about the workplace also involves the fact that many workers are working longer, stretching their work careers into the 70s or even 80s. In addition, while millennials will continue to dominate the workforce for many years, Gen Z workers, who also are often called digital natives, are beginning to enter the workforce in growing numbers.
3. The Virtual Office
From large enterprises to small businesses, the use of permanent office space for all employees is evolving. Small businesses are opting to forego permanent office space, electing to use coworking space and day offices, such as Davinci Meeting Rooms, or a hybrid model where employees work some days from their home offices and work from coworking spaces or day offices on other days.
And while nearly all midsize and large businesses maintain permanent office space, many now offer workers workspace flexibility—providing them with a space to work when in the office, allowing them to work in coworking and day offices some of the time, and permitting them to work from their home offices on other day. This flexible work model is key to enabling businesses to recruit, hire, and retain high-quality workers.
4. Digital Communications
For years, businesses have been moving away from email to messaging and other communications tools. Experts believe momentum will pick up this year. Messaging tools such as Skype and Slack are showing themselves as more efficient and effective. Microsoft Teams is also gaining traction. But messaging tools aren’t the only communications mechanism supplanting email. In-app messaging within various software solutions used for customer support, project management, and other functions also are shrinking email volumes.
5. Social Mission
Millennial and Gen Z workers have a greater interest in working for businesses that embrace social causes that are important to them and offer them the ability to get involved in philanthropic activities. These workers indicate they are more likely to join a company that is socially responsible and actively contributes—in terms of financial donations, sponsorships, and giving workers time to support nonprofit organizations of interest. Over three-quarters of millennial workers say they are willing to take a pay cut to work for a company with social responsibility programs that align with areas of concern and interest to them.