No one can deny that technology is transforming nearly every aspect of the workplace. It’s helping ease communication across distributed teams, improve the physical aspects of workplaces, and increasing productivity.
However, in order to adapt and continue to thrive in these ever-changing conditions, companies must stay one step ahead of the trends for success both in the short-term and the long-term.
Here are four key trends revolutionizing the workplace and how companies can prepare for them.
As Baby Boomers (people born 1945–1960) begin to retire, Generation X (people born 1961–1980) and Millennials (people born 1981–1995) begin to move up the leadership ladder. Also, Generation Zers (people born 1996 or later) are about to enter the workforce, which means companies need to prepare for a new, multi-generational workforce.
With a multi-generational workforce comes significant changes to workplace dynamics, as each age group needs to bring together the valuable skills and seamlessly work together. Many organizations are beginning to question their “Gen Z readiness,” or how prepared they are to start attracting and managing this latest generation of workers.
Fortunately, companies that recognize the advantages generational diversity brings to the table, regarding fresh ideas and new perspectives, will find a multi-generational workforce very beneficial when it comes to reaching their goals. Baby Boomers can share their knowledge and experiences, especially management skills. Millennials and Generation Zers can offer their advice on how to meet the demands of the new digital age. This collaboration allows companies to integrate new strategies with their existing methods.
When both the shared beliefs across generations, as well as the gaps, are fully understood, business leaders can make better decisions about training processes, leadership roles, and even culture-building activities.
“Historically we worked in very linear ways — one step leads to the next step leads to the next step in defined teams and hierarchies. Now we live in a world where we work in teams that form and reform around projects and ideas.”
– Michael Gretczko, principal at Deloitte and general manager of ConnectMe
The rapid advancement of technology is creating a higher demand for more flexible and collaborative workplaces. Over the past few years, the concept of “flat” organizational structures has taken hold and gained traction among a broad range of business leaders. Workplaces are eliminating barriers between executives and employees, and hierarchies are becoming less and less common. So what’s driving this change in organizational structure?
Instead of aiming to climb the corporate ladder, a new generation of workers is instead drawn to constantly acquiring new skills and maintaining a versatile arsenal of capabilities that can be applied across many vertical, diagonal, or horizontal paths in the workplace. Workers are finding this approach to be much more valuable for their careers.
The shift to a focus on transferable skills allows employees to easily move across different roles at a company, rather than be stuck in one place. The advantage for companies is that it allows teams to bring on the best person for the job when needed and create a more flexible and collaborative work environment.
Often, hierarchies in the workplace can slow decision-making and act as a barrier when it comes to responding to and changing with the demands of the digital age. As more companies recognize this, we now see flatter and more open workplaces becoming the new norm.
The Internet of Things (IoT) can be described as a large network that collects data from connected devices and allows them to communicate with one another. According to Intel, the quantity of IoT capable objects will go from around 2 billion in 2006 to a whopping 200 billion by 2020. This is equivalent to approximately 26 smart objects per human.
The technology is entering the workplace and providing companies with incredible new ways to automate certain processes and everyday tasks. While it’s unlikely that we’ll see a significant shift in the roles workers have now due to a rise in IoT, the technology does have the potential to make everyday tasks easier for workers, and therefore, to improve productivity in the workplace.
IoT has the potential to enable companies to see all of the moving parts of their organization in real-time. For example, companies can monitor how employees are making us of their office space with IoT lighting fixtures that track activity and show where workers are spending the most time.
With these insights, organizations can adapt their workspaces to support greater collaboration, efficiency, and productivity. The technology will allow companies to be much more tuned into to both the smaller and grander details of their operations.
Thanks to technology and the rise of the on-demand economy, companies are becoming much more flexible with policies surrounding the hours and locations of their workers. According to Deloitte’s 2016 Global Human Capital Trends study, 51% of global executives surveyed said their organizations plan to increase the use of flexible and independent workers in the next three to five years.
As more and more companies integrate remote, freelance, and gig workers, there is also a significant change in the role of human resources and talent management in the workplace. As companies are growing accustomed to outsourcing more of their projects, managers still need to ensure that they can measure certain performance metrics for workers outside of the traditional office space.
Thankfully, innovative technologies, like Shortlist’s Freelance Management System, are helping to solve the challenges of talent acquisition and management. Freelance management systems are one of the primary tools companies can use for effective hiring and collaboration with freelancers or temporary workers. And while companies may not be ready to incorporate such extreme versions of flexible work options like Dell, it’s still a good time to consider how flexibility fits into current work environments and how to manage an increase in flexible, external workers should the need arise.
These are just a few of the key trends that are dramatically changing the workplace. To meet the demands of the workplace of the future, companies must look ahead and make decisions about what types of workers are best suited for each task or project, rather than focus on specific titles. Additionally, those that are tuned into how technology is changing the workplace, and how their organization can be structured in a way that is flexible and encourages a blended workforce, will be better positioned to achieve their objectives.
To find out how to build, scale, and manage your workforce, be sure to check out how Shortlist can help.