Workforce trends change with each generation, and we’re seeing tremendous shifts with younger people entering the workforce. What do these trends look like, and how do they impact company culture, employee engagement, and how business leaders run the workplace?
Here are a few important workplace trends to think about and adjust to accordingly!
The Present and Future of Work
Employee expectations are changing drastically with these modern workplace trends — and there are no signs of them slowing down.
This means that leaders have a corporate responsibility to pivot.
Work-Life Balance is More Important than Ever
The pandemic taught us many things, one of which is this: Many employees no longer live to work. They work to live.
Spending time outdoors, being with family, recharging their batteries — these were some of the things professionals had time to finally do when reporting to the office was no longer a requirement.
And we’ve had a hard time returning from this.
Remote Working is the New Norm
The pandemic is also the reason why remote work made an appearance and never really left. Sure, some companies eventually told their employees to come back to the office. Others have chosen an in-between arrangement, making room for hybrid employees. However, many businesses went fully remote, even getting rid of their office space… and stayed that way.
Desk-based employees have completely changed their mindsets. Professionals now know that they can (mostly) do their jobs from home. So, employee expectations have changed. Right up there with generous PTO and health insurance is the opportunity for remote work.
If you want to reach a competitive talent landscape, remote work (or at least, hybrid work) is something you should consider offering, if you aren’t already.
Mental Health Matters
It’s not only professionals’ physical health we need to be aware of. Mental health has also been thrust into the spotlight.
This might come in the form of designated mental health days, “no-meeting Wednesdays,” discounts on therapy, or mental health coverage as part of their insurance benefits.
Work-life balance means giving more consideration to how employees feel and not just how they’re performing — which makes sense considering the two are linked! Consider employee health from a holistic standpoint, and employee engagement will improve.
Flexible Working Hours
Employees don’t only want to work remotely. They also want to work when they want.
Our exhausted workforce is looking for a more adaptable and personalized work schedule. This was another side effect of the pandemic.
Parents want to be able to take their kids to school or make their soccer games. Night owls and morning birds want to work when they’re most productive.
A flexible work schedule allows someone to work a bit more on their terms. If you can offer this without it negatively impacting operational efficiency or employee performance, then it will likely improve your company culture.
Technology is Waiting for No One
Machine learning, artificial intelligence, and other emerging technologies have completely changed the business world — from hiring processes and talent acquisition to marketing and how companies collect data about their audiences.
This is only going to become more exaggerated.
If you haven’t already started experimenting with artificial intelligence, you should do so immediately. Explore this with your employees. How can it help them do their jobs better and more efficiently?
Remind your team that technology isn’t here to replace them. It’s here to support and empower them!
Gig Workers are on the Rise
With companies tightening their budgets, gig workers like freelancers and contractors are more in demand than ever. The gig economy is 100% part of the future of work.
Freelancers can fill in the caps and bring new skills to the table if you’re not in the position to hire someone in-house. They can serve as a sort of supplement and provide employee support, particularly if you’re experiencing a skills gap somewhere on your team.
New employment models aren’t solely about employees. The gig economy is on the rise. Have you made it a part of your strategic vision?
People Want to Work for Companies They Can Get Behind
We’ve seen this with younger generations, and it’s not slowing down.
More and more, we’re seeing employees refusing to speak up for companies that don’t align with their morals and values.
For instance, professionals want companies who make an effort to be more eco-conscious. They want to work for employers who care about giving back.
And, as we’ve already discussed, they are actively seeking out businesses that prioritize things like flexible work arrangements, better work-life balance, and the general well-being of the people helping keep the lights on.
Companies who want to keep up with the future of work have to clearly define their values and not be afraid to talk about them.
Frontline Workers Need Your Support
Frontline workers are professionals who work directly with your customers/clients. These positions can be the most rewarding, and also the most mentally draining. Looking after the well-being of these folks is a non-negotiable.
Remember that they sometimes deal with high-demand working periods. Even though they’re sometimes just the messengers, they often bear the wrath (or, ideally, the praise) of your customers.
Frontliners are in a unique position and fill critical roles. Work trends have shown us that these professionals need companies to rally around them. Employ frontline workers who are eager to be the face of the company, and empower them accordingly.
Employees Care About Career Development
While you as the employer might care most about what your team is producing and how much revenue they’re generating, is that what they care most about?
I’m sure these are some of the things they care about, but they’re also thinking about their career trajectories.
How can you invest in their professional growth? Can you teach them new skills, mentor them, enroll them in online classes, or send them to conferences?
I understand that furthering their careers might not be your priority. However, investing in people is what helps turn them into loyal, hard-working employees.
The Future of Work is Here
Talking about the future of work is kind of misleading because the future is here and now. Working practices are changing, and we need to keep up.
If these work trends have taught us anything, it’s this: The days of forcing employees to churn out work until they’re completely burned out are over. We have to stop looking at them as machines and start looking at them as humans.
This means offering them opportunities to work remotely, caring for their mental health issues, and furthering their careers. It means looking after our frontliners, being clear in our values, and providing a better work-life balance.
Do these things and your company will thrive.