Wearable technology, the graduation of Gen Zs, and the rapidly increasing takeover by automation—these are just a few of the major forces changing today’s workplace. With each workplace change will come challenges and opportunities, and it will be the companies that realize the opportunities—and how to harness them—that will rise above those that fail to keep their eye on the future.
While the future of work will undeniably look different in the next five years, there are a few game-changing workplace trends that companies can’t afford to ignore to stay ahead of the curve.
- The integration of wearable technology
With the wearable technology market on the rise, future-focused companies are looking for ways to incorporate wearables in the workplace. While Fitbit and Apple Watch are already being used to track productivity and wellness, over the next two years the tech sector will develop even more use cases for these devices. Wearables are a clear-cut way for companies to tap into work-life balance drivers, as well as employee efficiency. With the majority of your workforce already investing in wearable technology, finding a way to bridge the connection between work-life wearables could yield big results.
- Workplace flexibility
With connective technology and a rising cultural desire for more work-life balance, companies are now offering serious workplace flexibility commitments to their employees. Work from home arrangements, compressed time and shorter work days are becoming the norm, and with these changes companies are seeing enhanced productivity and bigger gains. North American companies are scrambling to understand Sweden’s new six-hour work-day, and major companies like Dell are setting goals to have over 50 percent of their workforce work remotely by 2020. Workplace flexibility is now a must if you’re looking to attract to talent, and it can also lead to productivity and efficiency gains if done right.
- Office space 2.0
It’s been over 100 years since the grey, small workspace, with a desk and chair for each employee was designed, and sadly we’ve barely evolved beyond that point—but thankfully that’s now changing. Companies are not only realizing the benefits of a functional, open and inspiring work-setting, but with more and more employees working from home, offices are beginning to evolve into spaces that provide diverse working experiences. With a remote workforce, the overall office footprint will decline, forcing companies to reimagine the workplace setting. In the next five years, the office space will become a decentralized space where employees can work in open spaces, isolation cubicles, or in a coffee lounge. The office space, along with workplace flexibility, will become key factors that top candidates will use to make job changing decisions.
- From automation to new tech talent
While 3D printers, drones and robotics are increasingly automating jobs and the workplace, with this new technology comes entirely new fields of technology-related roles. Research predicts that machines will be able to do half of the jobs out there within the next two decades, which means that new tech expertise is already being sought out by top tech companies. As automation gains momentum, it’s the job-seekers and companies that respond proactively to the technology of the future that will lead the pack.
- From careers to gigs and the sharing economy
The desire to have a “side-gig” and enter the freelance marketplace will continue to rise in 2017—just look at the success of Uber and Airbnb: Uber has over 1 million drivers, and many of these drivers have multiple gigs, and it’s possible to run a six-figure business through Airbnb. While some companies might become nervous that more and more employees are looking to be their own boss, this is a whole new opportunity for companies to capitalize on hiring “on-demand” labour. Instead of building a business around permanent full-time employees who have ever changing workloads, smart companies are offering short contracts to top talent to fill a job only when the workload demands it.
The reality is that the future of work is here now. The momentum of these workplace game-changing forces is only picking up speed, which means that business leaders need to start discussing how they will respond and scale to these changes to ensure that they are building and attracting the talent they need for the future success of their business. Don’t fall behind the pack—start investing in the future of your workforce today.