How could global workplace trends impact your office-based business?
A recent Forbes report by Dan Schawbel, partner and research director at Future Workplace – a U.S. firm that takes a long-term view of work environments – identified some key workplace trends for 2018 and beyond.
It would be easy to think of New Zealand office environments as being immune to global influences and directions however, business “down under” does not exist in a bubble.
So let’s look at some of the findings and predictions from the U.S.
Face-to-face interaction will remain important
The rise of technology has not always resulted in the best outcomes in an office situation but the best company leaders will encourage employees to actually talk to one another rather than hitting “send” on their emails to a colleague sitting a couple of desks away.
Interaction and collaboration between staff members is seen as vital to a well-functioning business. Person-to-person communication results in a more committed, satisfied and productive workforce.
Professional development and upskilling on the rise
Those companies who recognise the inherent upside of having a well-trained, relevantly-skilled workforce will thrive.
Businesses where leaders recognise skill gaps within their existing team and seek to actively correct that by providing training and further education will have the jump on those that are slower to evolve.
Artificial intelligence will change the way businesses service their clients
Artificial Intelligence – or AI – is making waves globally and it’s creating smarter ways to do business.
Chatbots, programmes that allow conversations via text messaging, are anticipated to reduce salary expenditure and improve business efficiencies by facilitating interactive self-service functions and innovative relationship-building with customers.
Focus on wellness in the workplace
Successful and forward-thinking companies are mindful of the health and well-being of their employees.
In New Zealand, there has been recent discussion around the “banking” of sick leave days into a pool that other staff can access if necessary, while the taking of “mental health” leave days is more widely accepted – and sometimes encouraged by leading employers.
Some companies are insisting on after-hours disconnection – step away from the phone and email – to counteract potential staff burnout. Technology has stretched the work day boundaries and it is important for employees to literally, switch off.
Diversity is being taken seriously
Bias, discrimination and gender pay gaps are being confronted and addressed. Gender, ethnicity, age and inclusivity are top of mind for HR companies and employers when looking to fill positions.
The aging workforce
Businesses are facing up to the fact that people are living longer and retiring later. Thought needs to be given to how this will affect business models in the future – for instance, if the “baby boomers” retain their senior leadership roles, what opportunities will there be for younger workers to aspire to?
The message seems to be that those businesses that take a holistic view of the workplace, and heed the implications that a fast-paced and changing world have on their staff and business models, will be the ones that rise to the top.
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