As we head towards the end of a great working year, a recruiter’s mind naturally turns to how our clients will grow and evolve in 2016 and beyond. The ‘trends’ we’ve spotted have been quietly developing for some time – but they’ll bring massive shifts in work practices and how we see the working day.
Bend but don’t break: why ‘flexible’ is the new buzzword
We used to call it ‘work-life balance’, but ‘flexible’ seems to be, well, a more flexible term. The idea of allowing employees a more open work schedule can terrify those of a more traditional mindset, but the reality is that your employees need it.
We’ve already discussed how productive people can be when their work arrangements suit their lifestyles, and instead of changing, that will only grow. Valued employees are more likely to show up, and for longer. You can expect potential recruits to be carefully eyeing your flexitime policies – they’ll be expecting more say in their hours and remote access, to better balance work and their lives.
Tech will make some jobs disappear – but will also create new ones
There’s a lot of pressure on companies, large and small, to streamline their processes and create a fulfilling work environment for employees. The minimum wage has become a major talking point, with Forbes estimating that raising it could cost UK businesses £1billion.
Automated services will phase out some jobs, mainly customer-facing. On the other hand, it allows enterprising people to create ‘virtual companies’ from scratch and work remotely – and by remote, we mean literally sat on a beach somewhere far-flung.
For the rest of us, it means co-working spaces will continue to come into their own. It also means that freelance or contract consultant roles will be on the increase, especially as technology disrupts the status quo in older, more established companies.
You’ll be applying user experience (UX) principles to your office
Everything, from the fixtures and fittings to the tables and chairs, will be looked at differently. In Susan Cain’s ‘Quiet’ book (about introverts and how they relate to the world around them), it was noted that open-plan spaces weren’t actually that conducive to collaboration and ideas.
Where tech has created multiple opportunities for communities and teams to grow on their own terms, expect the layout of your office, and the way certain ‘pain point’ teams, like HR and IT work, to change. A Harvard Business Review article highlighted that office space is shrinking (think of all the flexible/remote staff who don’t need to be in it!), but the quality of that space will grow.
And where the internet has created expectations that user journeys flow with the greatest of ease, the same will be expected of your office. Reducing noise and distractions will be key, along with paying attention to creating well-thought-out systems for producing work. If you can use those principles to persuade people to buy more stuff, then you can apply them to persuading people to produce even better work.
So if you notice your company’s UX team shuffling furniture around and taking measurements, you’ll know why.