Why should you reshape your workplace?
From talent acquisition to a business model framework to office culture and environment, 2018 marks an exciting and innovative period of transition for companies nationwide.
Whether it’s a growing startup or an established brand, organizations across-the-board are embracing changes and advancements to upgrade the work experience for both current team members and inbound recruiting new hires alike.
To sustain that goal, many businesses have integrated new workplace trends into their daily operations, and the result is often a culture of progress that not only attracts sought-after talent - but develops and retains them as well.
7 key workplace trends
Here is the list of 7 key workplace trends that will shape organizations in 2018:
Workplace trend #1: Outsourcing to freelancers
More organizations are capitalizing on the surge in freelance workers for a variety of reasons.
One advantage of outsourcing projects to independent contractors is the financial gain.
It’s expensive to recruit, onboard and maintain a nine-to-five staff, whereas freelancers don’t come with the expectation of health insurance, a retirement plan and other full-time benefits. They receive direct compensation for the services they perform without the additional costs accrued by an in-house employee.
Another benefit is the accessibility of outsourced talent to choose from.
The Freelancer’s Union predicts the majority of the American workforce will be freelance by 2027, and about 50% of people are already pursuing careers in freelance writing, coding, design and what not.
This large bandwidth means that businesses are not limited by geographic proximity which enables them to find the ideal candidate to execute a project, regardless of distance, time commitment and other factors that need to be considered when hiring a full-time employee.
Workplace trend #2: Recruiting Millennial talent
This emerging generation of professionals now accounts for 35% of all employees in the U.S. which, according to the Pew Research Center, makes them the dominant age bracket in this nation’s workforce.
Millennials aren’t just becoming more integrated in the business sphere, however. They’re also redefining the expectations of traditional corporate settings, and more companies have transitioned their areas of focus in response to how Millennials function.
For example, this generation does not thrive in a structured, hierarchical framework. Instead of being managed by a conventional tier of leadership, they want a more collaborative approach where relationships, transparency, dialogue and creativity are embraced.
They want to be treated as active, contributing members of the team with ideas, visions and opinions that are taken seriously. And businesses are making internal adjustments to ensure these Millennial voices are heard in the workplace.
Workplace trend #3: Enhanced work-life balance
Along with this Millennial-centric shift, comes an increased emphasis on personal wellness over high-stress demands. More employees are advocating for onsite programs and amenities that counteract their everyday job pressures with an opportunity to unwind their brains and bodies. Instead of feeling chained to a desk for eight hours straight, people want the freedom to recharge periodically throughout the workday.
Some wellness initiatives that companies have introduced in order to avoid burnout and retain their employees are group meditation and yoga practices, nutritious catering for lunch, relaxing break rooms and communal spaces, quarterly team-building events or retreats, and staff-wide fitness challenges. This wellness trend creates a stronger work-life balance which, based on the findings of a recent Gallup survey, can improve employee retention by 53%.
Workplace trend #4: More diversity and inclusion
From racial and ethnic minorities to women in management positions, to those who identify as LGBTQ, companies are recognizing the need for underrepresented groups in their workforces.
In order to promote an environment of equality, more businesses have confronted social biases and systemic issues (like the wage gap), engaged the voices and viewpoints of people on the margins and sought to form a diverse team of mutual respect and camaraderie.
As organizations become more inclusive, their growth in productivity and profitability has increased too. In fact, the consulting firm McKinsey & Company which measures the global impact of business, has found that teams comprised of racial, ethnic and gender diversity tend to exhibit a work performance of 33% above the national average.
Workplace trend #5: Flexible hours and workspace
The nine-to-five schedule might have been universally accepted in decades prior, but today’s workers often perceive this structure as too rigid and confining.
As more people decide to pursue both a career and family, there is a greater need for businesses to accommodate those dual priorities. In response, many organizations now give their employees the choice of flexible hours and, in some cases, even remote work locations.
These flexible hours might include a compressed work week of 10-hour shifts from Monday to Thursday, with a lengthier weekend starting on Friday. Another option is only requiring employees to work onsite during the peak hours of 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., then finish the remainder of their assignments remotely. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, the majority of Americans prefer having freedom in their schedules over earning a larger paycheck.
Workplace trend #6: Automation of certain tasks
Technology is ubiquitous in most office spaces, as these mobile devices offer both efficiency and convenience. But a new digital trend is beginning to replace the need for an actual human in certain job functions.
For example, modern HR professionals can choose between a wide range of different HR tools designed to automate, fasten and streamline operations which have traditionally been executed manually.
Many HR professionals use tools such as Recruitment Marketing Platforms that help them attract candidates, Applicant Tracking Systems that automate the selection process and Automated Employee Time Tracking Systems.
These tools help HR professionals save time and money, improve their productivity, reduce the errors and achieve better results in shorter time.
Workplace trend #7: Preventing sexual harassment
Given the magnified cultural awareness of gender inequality and sexual misconduct in the workplace, organizations are scrambling to restructure management dynamics that have lead to harassment or abuse of power.
A poll conducted by Quinnipiac University revealed that of all the American women who have reported sexual harassment, 69% state the incident took place at the office. That statistic might appear bleak, but more businesses are making positive strides toward safer environments for women.
From training their male employees to exercise appropriate boundaries, to creating policies that protect women’s legal rights, to facilitating conversations around the issue of gender equality, these efforts to rectify injustice and objectification are projected to shift the male-dominated ideologies that no longer deemed acceptable in Corporate America.
The right workplace trends to adopt
If you aim for your company to be on the front burner of the business, do your best to adopt the latest workplace trends of flexibility, equality and protection.
People nowadays look for more than just paycheck in their job. You need to nurture and engage your talent to stop them from leaving.
Give your employees the comfort, self-accomplishment, align with their life values and you will upgrade the work experience not only for them but for yourself as well.
About the author
Samantha Engman is a proficient writer from the marketing background, hitting the keyboard hard in the city of Hong Kong. When not writing, she is probably running another 5-miler. Check out more insights from Sam on her Bid4papers blog and Twitter.