The 7 Work Trends That Are Making A Huge Impact Right Now
Our work environment is constantly influenced by technological advancements, changing demographics, and global events.
In this article, let’s discuss some of the latest office and work trends that are reshaping the way we work, and how they have personally changed my business for the better.
1. Remote and Hybrid Work: The New Normal
The pandemic has propelled remote work to the forefront, marking a paradigm shift in how businesses operate.
Remote work is no longer just a temporary solution; it has become a permanent feature for many organisations.
A survey by Gartner found that 82% of company leaders intend to permit remote working, at least some of the time, moving forward. The survey also found that only 4% of current hybrid or remote employees would choose to return fully on-site as their preferred option.
The rise of remote work has created the hybrid model, combining office and remote work, offering employees flexibility while maintaining collaboration.
I work from a hybrid model with my main office inside a co-working space, and a secondary office at home. If I need to work from home, I am set up to do this. However, I like to keep work and home life separate, so even though remote work is trending, I prefer to head into the office and then head home at the end of the day.
2. Focus on Employee Well-being
Employee well-being has taken centre stage as organisations recognize its profound impact on productivity and retention. Mental health initiatives, flexible work schedules, and well-being programs are gaining prominence.
According to a report by Mercer, 90% of companies are planning to expand their well-being offerings in the coming years.
Some interesting facts published by occupational health provide Assist Group (from a meta-evaluation looking at economic return of worksite health promotion program) highlight the productivity gains that can come from an employee wellbeing programs:
- decrease sick leave absenteeism by 25.3%
- decrease workers compensation costs by 40.7%
- decrease disability management costs by 24.2%; and
- save $5.81 for every $1 invested in employee health and wellbeing.
The call for greater diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace has intensified. Companies are implementing DEI initiatives to foster a more inclusive culture.
Research by McKinsey reveals that diverse companies are 35% more likely to outperform their less diverse counterparts. Additionally, they are 15% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians. This statistic underscores the business case for prioritising diversity.
3. Rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Automation
AI and automation are transforming the nature of work, automating routine tasks and augmenting human capabilities. This trend is reshaping job roles, requiring a focus on upskilling and reskilling the workforce.
A study by PwC indicates that by the mid-2030s, up to 30% of jobs could be automatable. Companies are adapting by investing in technology and providing learning opportunities to ensure their workforce remains relevant.
In my marketing business, I’m taking full advantage of automation and AI by replacing as many manual tasks with automated processes as possible. I’m also looking at enhancing our copywriting service by providing more output for clients at the same rate, delivering better value.
My opinion on AI and jobs is that it will actually create more jobs, as people will still be needed to direct the AI to perform various tasks while simultaneously accelerating the amount of output that can be created.
We’ll become more productive with AI and will get more done, not less. Sure jobs may change – as they always have – but there will be enormous demand for AI-powered service delivery.
4. Agile Leadership and Organisational Structure
The fast-paced and uncertain business environment has led to the rise of agile leadership and organisational structures. Agile methodologies, originally popular in software development, are being applied across various industries.
According to a report by Deloitte, 94% of surveyed companies have adopted or are in the process of adopting agile practices. Agility enables organisations to respond swiftly to changes and innovate in an ever-evolving landscape.
As a small business owner in a competitive market, my experience is that you can never stand still. If you do, you are at risk of becoming obsolete or replaced by competition who have identified opportunity that takes market share away from you.
5.Sustainability in the Workplace
Sustainability is becoming a key focus for businesses, driven by both environmental concerns and employee expectations. Companies are adopting eco-friendly practices, from reducing carbon footprints to implementing green supply chains.
A study by Accenture found that 62% of consumers want companies to take a stand on sustainability issues. Integrating sustainability into the workplace is not only a moral imperative but also aligns with consumer preferences.
With my background in environmental management and local government, I am well-versed in how organisations can plan for and action more sustainable practices. We took part in planning for a local council’s sustainability strategy, water quality monitoring, bushland regeneration and followed sustainable procurement policies.
You can find out more about sustainable workplace practices and how to implement these in your workplace here.
6. Gig Economy and Flexible Work Arrangements
The gig economy continues to grow, with an increasing number of individuals opting for flexible work arrangements. Freelancers, independent contractors, and part-time workers contribute to a more fluid and adaptable workforce.
A report by Intuit predicts that by 2027, more than 50% the U.S. workforce will be freelancers. This shift requires organisations to rethink how they attract and engage talent.
The need for work life balance may have been a big contributor because more and more people are managing the flexibility of working with multiple companies. However, with this comes it’s own set of opportunities and challenges that when managed well, can be rewarding.
7. The Trends are Always Changing
The workplace is a dynamic ecosystem shaped by diverse factors. The surge in remote and hybrid work models, the integration of AI, and the rise of the gig economy collectively paint a picture of a dynamic and adaptive work landscape that is ripe for opportunity – should you have a keen eye for opportunity.
Organisations and small business owners that take advantage of these trends are better positioned to thrive in an ever-evolving business landscape.
Find out more about the importance of DEI in the workplace in this video by Gartner
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