As we get closer and closer to 2020, it is interesting to reflect on the workplace trends that we have seen starting to emerge in 2019. And, these trends show no signs of going away anytime soon. In most cases, these trends are about modifying work environments to account for the merger of personal and professional lives. With more and more workers moving to a flexible work model, or a remote work environment, employers need to adapt in order to keep high performing individuals on their team.
Trends We’ll Continue to See in 2019 and Into 2020
Perhaps one of the greatest trends that we’ve seen in 2019 is around an increasing obligation to employee health, inclusive of both physical and mental wellbeing. Though fitness centers have been popular in office environments for decades, now employers are offering access to health and wellness coaches, additional support for those looking to lose weight or quick smoking, and more. Additionally, buildings are being designed to provide more visibility to outside spaces and to enable more natural light, which is highly associated with decreasing workplace-related depression and anxiety.
On the Job Training and Skills Improvement
We’ll also see an ever-increasing shift to enhanced on-the-job training and skills improvement. As employees can easily shift from company to company, organizations are looking at ways to keep their strongest employees motivated and loyal. While training in the past was often focused on filling gaps for lower-performing or ‘average’ employees, we’re seeing a shift towards training to help hone and enhance the skills of top performers. This access to skills improvement is a morale booster for most, and will help retain talent.
Ongoing Shift to a Remote and Contract-Employee Workforce
Though ‘work from home’ is not new, organizations are now investing in technology to make these environments even easier. These changes to the traditional work model allow employers access to a far larger candidate pool than they had in the past, as geography is no longer a barrier. Further, the shift towards fractional and contract-based employment models have been popular for start-up organizations and other small companies that don’t need certain roles filled with full-time staff. This unique model, similar to the adoption of the remote workforce, provides employers with access to highly-skilled employees who can often get the work done faster in less time, or who can get it done but don’t require full-time work.
Greener Work Practices
Employers are also looking to adopt greener work practices, which involves far more than just recycling beverage and food containers and used office paper. Today’s employees are asked to drink out of recyclable containers. And, kitchens are being resurrected in the workplace to allow employees to make their meals onsite, vs. the need to leave over the lunch hour to pick up unhealthy fast food (that comes in an array of plastic wrap or greasy papers). Aside from meal practices, organizations are adopting digital filing systems and are working tirelessly to ‘go paperless’ by having all important records digitized and available in the cloud vs. in traditional file cabinets.
The role of automation has been one of wonder for the last decade. But now, automation in the workplace is a reality. From chatbots on company websites that can answer certain questions for customers before employees get involved to actual robotic process automation (RPA) for repeatable tasks, automation is freeing up human workers for work that can only be done via a human, thus increasing productivity overall.