As this year draws to a close, many small businesses are already looking ahead to emerging trends for 2018.
2018 Workplace Trends
Jonathan Webb, VP of workplace strategy at global furniture manufacturer KI, spoke with Small Business Trends about what smaller enterprises can expect. He spent the last several years studying best practices to attract and retain younger talent by studying how students learn to work while at college. Here are the 2018 workplace trends he identified.
More New Technologies
The number one trend will continue to be the advent of new technology and how it gets rolled out and used in the workplace.
“I’ve seen a lot of what we call reverse mentoring,” Webb says. This is where Gen Y and Gen Z train Baby Boomers on the technology the younger set has grown up with. Virtual Reality technology is expected to make big breakthroughs.
Work/life balance will continue to be a big trend next year. Webb’s research points out 90% of college grads felt “lost in translation” when they started that first job because boundaries to get tasks done are traditionally much more defined in the real world. Small businesses will continue to move away from the conventional 9 to 5 regiment that comes with a cubicle to a more negotiable looser set of standards that mimic college life.
“College is a 24 hour intersection of work and social interaction and work/life balance is going to be a huge trend in 2018,” Webb says. “College grads are used to working in a specific way and where they want. Give them the ability to get the work done and they will.”
To that end, he went on to suggest several subset trends that will help recent college grads toggle back and forth between work and play in 2018 and ease their transitions
One of the other trends that will gain momentum next year is about softening a business image with a name change. Many organizations and smaller businesses will start to call their buildings and other structures campuses outright in a move to make them more comfortable and inviting.
These are a proven way to boost morale and lowers stress at the same time. Webb’s research tells us a large percentage of tech companies are already using this trend with more small business across different verticals to follow in 2018. They will have everything from outside charging stations to designated paths for outdoor meetings.
“Businesses are starting to realize they own the space on the outside of the building as well,” Webb says adding there is a body of data supporting this trend and it’s positive effects on health and productivity.
This trend tied in with the idea of leveraging the entire team’s individual strengths and weaknesses. Next year will see a continuation of the idea whereby employees get to design their jobs based on capabilities, needs and wishes. More teams will be built based on fitting these personal needs with project descriptions in 2018.
There’s no reason to think the rising demand for these programs will slow in the coming year.
“These can solve so many of the health related issues facing both employers and employees today,” Webb says citing the impact of both obesity and mental health issues. “The cost of obesity among US full time employees is estimated to be $73 billion dollars.”
Bring Your Own Device
Beyond the emerging new software for smartphones that can divide personal and business sections on the same device, there’s another trend picking up speed for 2018. Many college students are used to working on a MacBook while the overwhelming number of businesses use a PC.
Next year should see more small businesses offering a bring your own device to work option as they make Apple software more readily available at the same time.
More Face Time
While the latest technologies are good and increase both mobility and productivity , 2018 will see a push for more face time between employees and team members.
According to Webb, tech firms are emphasizing personal interaction over technology now. Many of these companies devote a growing percentage of their office space to collaborative areas.
Photo via Shutterstock
Jonathan nice article. I would say you are right on the money in your observations.
A very interesting article, thank you for sharing this.
My pleasure David. Thanks for the comment.
If I were a larger company with employees, I could see implementing most of these. I have worked with businesses in placing health and wellness programs in their businesses, and have seen that they work in reducing sick days, boosting employee morale and lowering healthcare costs. I’m all for a less structured work environment also, as long as it still produces results. I often find myself in a library or coffee shop working because sometimes a change in environment helps. Being a graphic designer, I’ve tried to stay up on the technology, but admit, there are many things I could learn from recent grads. The problem might be that many baby boomers may not want to be trained by someone just coming into the workforce. Maybe set up a mentoring program where the veteran employees and millenials trade knowledge and work together. My company will be going through many changes in 2018, so we’ll see what I am able to implement, but automation and technology and apps will definitely have a big role in my growth this year and years to come.