The world of business moves quick, especially when it’s supported by new and emerging technologies. There are a number of trends that will be shaping the modern workplace in the coming years. The following six changes are expected to show up in workplaces over the next few years. Prepare for them now so you can easily adjust later.
1. AI is going to replace us or work with us
The future of work is going to rely heaving on artificial intelligence (AI), which could mean a lot of employees will be out of a job. Automation is becoming more and more important for modern businesses and customers are enjoying the self-service aspects of AI as well.
While this technology stands to increase productivity and offer faster, more personalized customer support, it may make some jobs or even entire professions a thing of the past.
Businesses have to be prepared in many ways when incorporating AI into their process. Knowing what can be automated versus what still needs to be handled by a live rep is integral to increasing productivity instead of hindering it.
Management will also need to determine how to better use employees once AI is able to handle some of their workloads and if certain positions will need to be cut altogether.
2. Enhanced specialties will be in demand
The workplace of the future will be hiring employees with highly specific skills and expertise. These “nano jobs” are a necessity because it’s becoming increasingly difficult for any one person to master every aspect of a technical field, including hardware design, software engineering and security. The skills necessary to handle these departments well are simply too varied for any one individual.
Businesses will need to further segment their departments to understand the micro-specialities each one requires. They will then need to seek out applicants who specialize in these specific areas. Furthermore, businesses should supply regular training to their employees in order to make sure they’re always up-to-date on the latest industry information, trends and technologies.
3. Corporate wellness will be more important than ever
Thanks to new technology, companies can now monitor how their employees are feeling. They can determine if employees are tired or stressed and whether or not they’re getting enough exercise and sleep outside of work.
Some employers are requesting that their staff wear health trackers so they can keep an eye on their stats. The idea of tracking stats like sleep, physical exercise, and water intake is to determine what an employee is doing outside of work that is affecting how they perform while at work.
Companies are asking their staff members to wear Fitbit or Jawbone trackers. Earpieces are being used to track both downtime and on-the-job performance. Amazon workers are asked to rate one another and deliver feedback online.
Recently, with the help of a feature on the WeChat app that tracks the number of footsteps, the tech company in China is making their employees walk at least 10,000 steps a day.
These adoptions of health-related technology could imply that employees stress and health-related issues have been quite a big deal for businesses.
Whether it’s the rising of a number of workers seeking for workplace stress and illness compensation claims or it’s the interference to employees productivity and performance, businesses experience a variety of negative effects as a result of stressed employees.
In order for businesses to harness the power of health tracking, they need to first get clear about what outside-of-work habits and experiences truly affect on-the-job performance. In order for employees to feel supported by their job and not spied on, management will need to clearly communicate the benefits to the employee.
4. Job seekers will be pickier
One major, and possibly unexpected, change in the workplace is going to be the choosiness of job seekers. Modern employees don’t just want a nine-to-five schedule and a paycheck.
They want a job that inspires them and uses their abilities; that fits with their lifestyle, routine and future goals; and that they can grow with over time.
Compensation is still important, but other aspects of the career-life balance are also becoming priorities. If employees don’t get the things that they’re after, they’re likely to look for employment elsewhere.
This means that businesses are going to have to think about ways to support employees and remain flexible. Offer flexible schedules, work-from-home opportunities, extra sick or vacation time and additional breaks may help employees feel more supported by their job.
5. Corporate ladder will not be the same
Climbing the corporate ladder, at least one that goes straight up, is a thing of the past. Today, employees are taking a different, less direct approach to advancing in their job.
Talented workers are finding that if they work together and focus on specific projects that enhance their expertise, they’ll be in a better position to grow within their company.
Seeking the next promotion and then the next has been replaced by seeking out challenges and opportunities, whether or not they come with a new job title or a raise.
For businesses, this means that employees need to feel empowered to try new things, experience different aspects of their job and have the freedom to try (and fail, because it happens to everyone).
Management should encourage free-thinking and collaboration, creativity and openness. Employees should feel free to speak with one another and all levels of management, even if it means going “over” their direct boss’ head.
6. Entrepreneurship and Freelancing will keep increasing
It seems like more and more people are turning to self-employment, entrepreneurship, and freelancing. Though this is by no means an easy path, it does give the individual a ton of freedom over their job, schedule and lifestyle.
Freelancers tend to specialize in specific niches in order to offer clients high-quality services. Also, even creative entrepreneurs who are skilled in areas like photography, writing, and graphic design have a certain degree of business savvy, because that’s what it takes to work for yourself or run your own business. This combination of creativity and professionalism is hard to come by.
For business owners, this means that specialists may not be available for traditional hire. It’s possible that management will need to consider working with some specialists on a contract basis in order to take advantage of their expertise. Companies may also opt to call in consultants from time to time to train their in-house teams.
Business is ever-changing. Keeping up with trends will put you in the best position to be ready for the next change that takes place.