As one year ends and another begins, it’s a good time to start thinking about what may be lying ahead for you work-wise in 2018. It’s obvious that the world is changing pretty rapidly, with advances in technology and consumer demands having a tremendous impact on the workplace across all industries. Here’s an example—it’s fair to say that the traditional routine of commuting to work Monday through Friday and punching a clock from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. is disappearing; in many professional sectors it has already gone the way of the dinosaur and in others it’s quickly evaporating, leaving many of us to wonder what’s next.
A recent article on Ladders made some interesting predictions regarding workplace changes that could possibly be in store for us in 2018. If you’re wondering about what might be lying ahead for you at your current job or if the coming year might be a good time to make a career change, then keep reading!
More flexible work arrangements
If there’s one thing that technological advances in recent years have changed it’s the ability to work from absolutely anywhere—these days, you can even get work done while waiting on line at the grocery store. More people are being more productive than ever before on their laptops, tablets, and smartphones and getting work done at home, while running errands or waiting for appointments, or wherever else they have pockets of spare time (and Internet access).
Progressive employers have already capitalized on this trend by allowing their employees to take advantage of opportunities to work remotely. This can be a real win-win situation—employees get to save on the time, hassle, and expense of having to commute back and forth from work every day, and employers get to save money on things like office supplies and have a happier staff (and potentially greater employee retention from the added perk). Count on this telecommuting trend to continue through 2018 and beyond.
Decreasing full-time positions
Modern innovations in the workplace have ushered in a new way of thinking about employee productivity. Simply put, companies are discovering creative ways to do more with less and to leverage new technology to empower fewer employees to get more work done. As a result, companies are reimagining what they need from a dedicated staff and are shifting away from hiring full-time employees and towards hiring part-time, freelance, and contract employees as needed for work projects—for better or for worse. This represents a real cost-savings for the average company, and in an economy in which domestic growth is sluggish at best, it’s a compelling option that less and less companies will shy away from in 2018.
The rise of employee engagement
As companies learn to do more with less and rely on a smaller, more valuable core group of employees to drive productivity, expect to see a greater focus on making sure that these employees are fully engaged and happy. Why is this a growing trend? Employee turnover with leaner staffs can represent a significant loss of time, money, and institutional knowledge, so doing whatever it takes to keep folks happy—and in place— will become more strategically important. This can take lots of different forms—from added incentives and perks on the job to more flexibility regarding work-life balance and life outside of work.
Greater cultural diversity and awareness
It’s obvious that most progressive societies are moving towards a greater understanding, awareness, and appreciation of cultural diversity, and this is trickling down into the modern workplace. In 2018, expect to see most companies enhancing their efforts to ensure that their workplaces reflect the rich diversity that exists in our increasingly globalized world. Furthermore, according to Amy Cooper Hakim, Ph.D. and industrial-organizational psychologist, “more companies will hold training classes (both virtually and in-person) to ensure that all members of an organization treat others with respect. This respect is vital for interactions with employees, employers, stakeholders, and clients.”
There you have it—some workplace predictions for the coming year. Although you can expect to see some variation across industries and companies, you can count on these trends continuing in the workplace in general through 2018 and beyond.
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