Workplace Trends

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Workplace Trends

Workplace Trends Surrounding What People Look for in an Ideal Job

#1: A Workplace that Supports Different Workstyles

  • Year after year, the way people work is steadily changing with workplace operations, technology, and operations. While looking for an ideal job, people tend to search for companies that offer a design that supports their individual work-style and meets their various needs.
  • Research indicates that people lean more towards companies that do not have open-plan office spaces so that they might avoid over-stimulating, noisy, and distracting environments. According to a study published by Harvard Business School, communications via messaging and emails increase by 50% in open-plan offices while in-person interactions decrease considerably by 70%.
  • Several tech companies in the United States have developed office spaces that enable socialization and collaboration, while also providing their employees with quiet spaces designed for independent work. Such infrastructure helps people choose their ideal comfort zone. They can either go in for spaces that encourage socialization or choose to define their own area.
  • Technology professionals prefer working in a collaborative environment, laying a specific focus on teamwork. According to the CEO of The Herman Group, Joyce Gioia, people are found to find more satisfaction in a company’s working style, leadership, and culture, than job titles, perks, and pay.
  • According to Insights Dice, companies are catering to a wide range of work-styles for technology professionals. While some people prefer to work independently or remotely, others prefer working with a hands-on manager and constantly surrounded by co-workers.
  • Companies are increasingly working towards offering work flexibility by providing specific days to work from home and “work respites at the local coffee shop”.
  • In terms of the various workplace designs present in the United States, over 70% of the country’s workforce work in companies with open floor plans, 76% of Americans work in cellular offices, and over 50% of employees hold jobs that allow telecommuting.

#2: Professional Development

  • People identify their preferred work environment to enhance their abilities and strengths while helping them climb their professional ladder. According to a study conducted by SurveyMonkey, over 86% of employees lay importance to job training while 74% of them are prepared to spend time after working hours to amplify their work performance. This need for professional growth is widely observed among younger generations.
  • A Qualtrics survey indicated that millennials consider adequate training to be the top requirement at a new job. The survey also revealed that over 67% of millennial respondents are prepared to give up a part of their pay if the company provides quality mentorship opportunities. It was also found that 69% of millennials are looking to become leaders in their industries within five years.
  • Along with millennials, employees and candidates belonging to Generation Z highly value educational and training opportunities at work. According to a study conducted by Deloitte, over 44% of Gen Z individuals value on-the-job training more than the skills they acquired in college.
  • Companies are increasingly recognizing the importance of developing professional growth for their employees, and are thus, creating career development programs for existing employees and a personalized career path for new employees within their organizations. By offering a means to achieve professional goals, companies will improve their employees’ sense of loyalty and at the same time, improve employee retention.
  • In 2020, experts believe that large tech companies will invest heavily in resources that will help candidates and existing employees climb the ranks. A leading tech player in the concept of “upskilling” is Amazon. The company announced its investment of $700 million in committing to “retain one-third of its workforce to fill technology jobs and other advanced roles”.

#3: Financial Development

  • According to a study conducted by Insights Dice, millennials consider financial growth to be a key attribute in choosing an ideal job or employer. The study revealed that financial growth was just as important as the office environment for a millennial technology professional. While choosing their ideal job, millennials essentially want to believe that “they are hitching their wagon to a star”.
  • Technology professionals, particularly millennials, prefer to work for an organization that has paved a successful path in the industry or has a favorable future. These individuals want to engage in a workplace where they can make a difference within the organization and actively participate in its corporate social responsibility initiatives. Technology professionals also look for businesses whose values match their own in terms of innovation, purpose, and financial growth.
  • The Insights Dice study also indicated that strong leadership is a key factor for technology professionals like choosing an ideal employer. Over 80% of these professionals claim that transparent and open communication is a vital factor for an ideal job.
  • People are increasingly looking for transparency in payments in the United States. Based on a report titled “LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends 2019”, over 27% of employers share a payscale with their candidates while 22% of them plan on providing pay transparency in five years.
  • Organizations that have developed a salary formula can then easily expand on setting the required standards for raises and promotions. By doing so, companies will be able to bridge the pay gaps and eliminate any subjectivity that would go into hiring new employees.

Workplace Trends in Terms of Benefits Employees Desire

#1: Creative Benefits Packages and Wellness Programs

  • Over the past few years, organizations have begun to create innovative benefits packages that provide them with a competitive advantage. By offering creative incentives such as company outings and community service opportunities, companies inspire and improve the morale of their employees.
  • According to CNBC, the most important benefit for employees is still healthcare. In 2020, experts believe that healthcare will be broadened to offer better support for employees’ emotional, behavioral, and mental health and wellness needs. Companies have begun offering health coverage packages that allow employees to consult doctors without having to visit them in person.
  • Based on the data published by SHRM, companies offering telemedicine benefits have significantly increased since 2016 and over 72% of American companies claimed to have offered these benefits in 2019. This arrangement of on-demand medical care has proven to be more flexible, efficient, and less expensive for both the employees and the company.
  • Some companies offer creative programs that help employees repay their student loans. While some programs equate an employee’s contribution directly to his/her student loan debt, others match the employee’s contribution to a retirement fund. According to the senior vice president of Global Resources, Paul Wolfe, companies are expanding their benefits packages to help employees learn about refinancing and debt consolidation.
  • According to PayScale’s 2020 Compensation Best Practices report, this year will continue to see America’s top-performing companies invest in social, emotional, and physical wellness programs to help employees improve their overall performance and engagement. Companies are also found to be investing in various wellness programs such as reflexology, acupuncture, massage therapy, and gym memberships.
  • Based on a report published by the Bank of America, over 53% of the country’s companies provide some kind of financial wellness program that contains tools to help employees better manage their daily finances, as well as obtain advice from professional financial planners.
  • To remain competitive, companies are including offers that benefit the entire family. Such holistic benefits include child care support, caregiver paid leave, adoption support, and back-to-work transition programs that include both professional and financial support. Rather than following a one-size-fits-all strategy, companies are increasingly experimenting with unique, personalized benefits packages for each individual.
  • The following are some examples of companies offering their employees attractive benefits and perks:
    • Salesforce enables its employees to give back to the community as a part of their compensation package. The company provides its employees with $1,000 each year to be donated to a charity of their choice and encourages them to spend six paid working days volunteering to a just cause.
    • SAS provides its employees with several benefits at work such as flexible work schedules, private office, subsidized employee cafeteria, on-site shoe repair, hair salon, a tailor, and dry cleaning service.
    • Zappos offers its employees some of the best benefits packages available that include free food, medical and dental insurance coverage, and over 40% discount on shoes and other accessories.

#2: Rewarding Top Talent

  • In order to retain and attract top talent, organizations across the United States are focusing on developing various career growth strategies and incentivizing approaches to reward high performance. According to a report published by PayScale titled '2020 Compensation Best Practices', organizations reward their top talent by offering various incentives such as increased pay (61%), promotions (47%), bonus (35%), career development (34%), goal-based incentives (27%), awards (27%), non-monetary public recognition (23%), flexible working schedule (17%), commissions (13%), equities (10%), paid time off (10%), and flexible work location (9%).
  • Most of the top-performing companies in the United States tend to reward their top talent with various types of incentives except for flexible work schedules. Such companies lean more towards providing variable pay along with additional perks and recognition. While typical organizations continue to offer conventional benefits such as retirement plans and medical insurance, companies are increasingly moving towards providing their employees with special benefits such as remote work opportunities and paid vacations.
  • Organizations are found to reward high performing employees rather than typical performers. In 2019, over 41% of all companies offered increased base pay that was more than 10% while 19% of companies provided at least one pay increase in the 10-14.99% range. Organizations admit that retention, recruitment, and hot skills are the top reasons for adjusting their compensation strategies.
As the technology evolves, the way companies and their employees work is also evolving. People’s expectations with work, technology, and workplaces are changing. Companies are constantly adapting to change to make themselves as competitive as possible. Technology companies are transforming their workplaces to suit the workstyles of all generations. These companies are also offering candidates, new employees, and existing employees various training programs that will help them climb the organizational ladder. Some trends in terms of benefits people desire include providing employees with creative and unique benefit packages, wellness programs, and rewarding top talent. In terms of work-life balance, companies are experimenting with offering their employees more flexibility with work and personalized programs/tools that will help them manage their family life better.
While remote working has been gaining traction over the past few years, the concept of working from home has become the order of the day due to the current novel coronavirus outbreak. The technology industry in the United States is found to be ahead in many aspects in its response to the outbreak. Most tech companies in the country have developed policies to allow their employees to work from home along with offering paid sick leaves and other necessary support, including telemedicine.

Workplace Trends Surrounding What Workers Desire in Terms of Work-Life Balance

#1: Flexibility in Work

  • Organizations understand that helping employees manage their life and work is a vital factor for their overall success. In 2020, flexible schedules and remote working are expected to become essential elements of productive work. This concept is a growing trend among companies to provide their employees with attractive opportunities to integrate remote work into their lifestyle.
  • In terms of work satisfaction, a report published by LinkedIn revealed that providing roles that help employees balance work and life is “most conducive to job satisfaction”. Over 69% of human resource professionals believe that work-life balance is a key factor that impacts employee’s performance.
  • According to the LinkedIn study on Global Talent Trends, the need for employers to bring about the right balance in employees’ work and life ranks higher than other workplace drivers such as benefits and compensation (67%), culture (47%), and effective management (36%).
  • Several software companies are offering flexible hours of work and remote working opportunities that break the traditional 9 am to 5 pm work structure. While companies are adapting to being flexible, they are also ensuring that overall productivity doesn’t change. Most of these companies expect their employees to clock in 40 hours a week, however, they are given the freedom to work whenever they can and from wherever they want.
  • The CEO of Unsplash, Mikael Cho, reveals that the company allows its employees to prepare their own work schedules. By doing so, Cho explains that the company helps employees find their most productive program since each employee thrives at different times of the day. This structure is not just beneficial to the employee alone but has significant benefits for the employer as well — the most important of which is the overall rise in productivity.
  • According to Forbes, the factors that define work-life balance are different for different generations. It is found to go beyond the general factors such as salary and time and will be defined further by aspects such as energy and freedom. Over the coming years, companies will be working on implementing the right balance based on the definition set by the younger generations (Millennials and Generation Z).
  • The younger workforce tends to lay importance to the freedom of work more than working at a specific time. It is also found that this demographic correlates the “time they spend working” with “the amount of energy they put into their work”. While the demand for flexibility continues to rise by the workforce, employers are actively working on finding the right strategy of control.
  • Companies have begun to experiment with various programs such as flex-time, 4-day workweeks, onsite amenities, and telecommuting. Some technology startups have taken flexibility to a different level such as offering unlimited vacation time and no scheduled working hours for its employees.

#2: Generational Divide

  • With Gen Zers joining the workforce, the current market contains the most diverse and the largest number of generations working at the given time. According to research, generation X workers and baby boomers can work well with pressure and do not make much of an attempt to keep themselves from physically and mentally burning out. However, the younger generations are found to make an active effort in preventing burnout.
  • In terms of other interests, it was also noticed that older generations are more likely to prioritize 'working for a purpose' while younger generations look for challenging roles and are drawn to companies that have strong leadership and provide on-the-job training.
  • This indicates that each generation has different needs and expectations when it comes to work-life balance. The multigenerational workforce is expected to play a vital role in helping companies balance the many factors that go into assisting employees to manage their lives.
  • According to a study conducted by Randstad, modern employees look for the following factors to ensure they receive a holistic balance with work and life — salary and benefits (58%), long-term job security (46%), pleasant work atmosphere (45%), career progression opportunity (35%), financially healthy employer (33%), flexible working schedule (31%), good training (28%), and strong leadership (26%).
  • To ensure every generation finds a better balance, companies have begun to adopt a combination of creativity, time-management, and efficiency to encourage the concept of “Work Smarter, Not Harder”.

Workplace Trends Focused on Remote Working

#1: More Companies are Embracing Remote Working

  • Large companies with traditional working structures have taken the initiative to incorporate remote working in a slow but progressive approach. These companies have begun to offer working from home opportunities to their employees for a few days each week and steadily working out the corresponding communication challenges. Although several companies in the United States are yet to fully integrate remote working into their infrastructure, it is expected that all organizations will adapt to remote working in some form this year.
  • According to a study conducted by Global Workplace Analytics, telecommuting has increased by 115% in the United States over the past decade. Several tech service companies have converted to hybrid work environments that have both in-office and remote work.
  • In-office workdays are observed to be different for different companies. For example, some companies arrange their in-office workdays to constitute weekly team meetings and office update sessions, while others arrange for an annual meetup by flying in all their remote workers from around the globe. A good combination of in-office and remote work schedules can “become a productivity booster and reduce the feeling of isolation”.
  • Research by investment company Betterment, reveals that 33% of the American remote workforce are currently freelancers and is expected to reach 43% this year.
  • According to a study conducted by Upwork, over 16% of all workplaces were fully integrated into remote work and the figure is expected to rise significantly in the coming years. By the end of 2020, over 75% of all professionals will be engaged in some form of remote work. Some companies that are known for their full remote integrations are InVision, Brave, Buffer, GitHub, and Zapier.

#2: Increasing Use of Online Collaboration Tools and Automation

  • Companies are increasingly utilizing collaboration and communication tools to facilitate virtual workplaces. Several companies have begun using remote-friendly collaboration software that is designed to help team members communicate from any location, connection type and device, and timezone.
  • A rising trend and a key development in the business industry is the creation of digital workplaces and the shift of business infrastructures to the cloud.
  • Most technology companies lean more towards developing their own technologies, software, and tools that help them manage their remote operations. However, several companies use remote-friendly integrations such as G Suite, Dropbox, and Slack to manage their collaborations effectively and efficiently.
  • Experts predict that companies will begin to use chatbots to facilitate useful communication between remote workers and human resources. For example, chatbots would be used to offer automated responses to general requests such as processes, work-load scheduling, and leave management. Apart from chatbots, other artificial intelligence-based systems are expected to be developed to cater to routine tasks for remote working such as onboarding, interview scheduling, analytics, and holiday requests.

#3: Growing Number of Digital Nomads

  • Digital nomads are people who enjoy working while traveling across the globe. Remote working is a great way for people to visit exciting places and work at the same time. Remote working also offers people the advantage of not needing a country-specific work permit. The only challenge that digital nomads might face is a proper internet connection at all times.
  • Over the past few years, the remote workforce has witnessed a steady rise in the number of digital nomads. Several companies from different industries are taking advantage of this particular aspect by providing various location-based amenities that support remote work. Some examples include hotels providing a holistic environment with a safe internet connection, cafes, co-working spaces, and “Airbnb-style rentals that are catered specifically to meet the needs of digital nomads”.
  • According to Pieter Levels, a serial entrepreneur, the number of digital nomads around the world will reach 1 billion by 2035. The prediction was made considering several factors such as internet speed rising to 100 gigabits by 2035, adoption of 5G technology, lower marriage rates, lesser travel costs, and lower homeownership due to increased travel.

#4: A Growing Concern for Cybersecurity

  • With the workforce shifting more and more into the online world, organizations are aware of the importance of updating their cyber-security systems. Technology companies and non-technology companies alike would have to develop new and better protocols that suit the current and future demand for safe remote working.
  • There are several issues for organizations to consider while integrating remote work such as accessing data via unsecured networks, viewing sensitive company information, and using personal devices for company work. Most companies, especially small businesses, are at risk of security breaches. Experts reveal that companies are actively implementing organization-wide cyber-security protocols and policies, which ensure appropriate safety measures for all their remote workers.
  • To ensure secure working systems, companies will work on providing their remote employees with the necessary training regarding cyber-security along with other updated company regulations.

Impact of the Current Epidemic on Workplaces in the Technology Industry

  • The technology industry has proven to be slightly ahead of the other industries in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The coronavirus epidemic is having a significant impact on all industries in the United States and across the globe, with organizations facing unique supply chains, workplaces, and economic challenges.
  • Over the past few weeks, technology companies have closed their offices, canceled their conferences and tech shows, and made an immediate shift to implementing large-scale digital and remote working structures. Tech companies have also restricted their employees and executives from traveling to coronavirus-affected areas and urged them to be responsible by staying home.
  • Technology companies are actively working on identifying, assessing, and managing risks as they present themselves with the continued spread and threat of the novel outbreak. Tech companies would have to take additional measures to mitigate the risks of experiencing the hard negative impacts of the outbreak.

Immediate Shift to Remote Working

  • Technology companies across the country have taken necessary measures to keep their employees safe by asking them to work from home. Tech giants such as Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Twitter have extended their policies to implement remote working for all their employees in the United States and around the world. These large organizations are leading the industry in adapting to the situation and taking immediate preventive measures.
  • According to CNN Business, Google has recommended all its employees across the world to work from home. It was found that the company’s work from home policies are intended for its full-time employees and do not apply to subcontractors and temps. However, Google announced that it would provide compensation to its extended workforce who have been affected by the outbreak.
  • While Facebook has encouraged its employees to work from home, the company has kept over 44,000 employees to continue working on their operations as usual.
  • While employees have been shifted to remote work, tech companies are taking other measures such as deep cleaning and disinfecting office spaces. Some companies have revealed that they have completely banned face-to-face interviews and most companies have shifted the onboarding processes to be conducted via teleconference.
  • According to an article published by MoneyControl, the measures taken by companies in response to the outbreak of the virus might cause a shift in workplace behavior in the long-run.
  • While large technology companies are able to adapt to the epidemic, smaller technology businesses and services companies are impacted heavily due to the lack of resources to confront the many challenges. Robert Luft, the owner of a small tech company that provides tech services to healthcare centers, claimed that his business would be at risk if the outbreak caused his technicians to stay back at home. Such companies do not have a contingency plan mainly due to the nature of the business.

Rise in Sick Leaves

  • The outbreak of coronavirus has pushed some companies to offer unlimited time off and unlimited sick leave, like LinkedIn and Netflix. The symptoms of coronavirus can last anywhere from a few days (mild) to a few weeks (moderate) and may take even months (extreme cases) for people to fully recover. Companies are thus expanding their leave policies to accommodate their employees with their health needs.
  • Amazon recently announced that its new leave policy would offer paid sick leave for all its workers affected by the virus. The company is working closely with both private and public medical institutions to take necessary measures for its employees. Amazon has announced that its hourly workers such as security, food service, and janitorial teams will be given compensation and paid sick leaves for those who are affected.
  • Google has also announced creating a fund, specifically for its part-time and temp employees, to provide paid sick leave for those who find themselves affected by the virus.

Heavy Reliance on Technology

  • With the shift of operations to remote work, companies — especially the technology industry — are relying heavily on modern technologies. Teleconferencing and telehealth are currently the two most critical elements for organizations to work on due to the rising spread of the virus in the United States.
  • Most technology companies have ramped up the use of enterprise technologies and teleconferencing tools such as Zoom, Google Hangouts, and Microsoft Teams. According to Business Insider, the increased use of such tools will further highlight the need for 5G connectivity. Companies are more likely to adopt this technology soon for 5G connection is expected to have uninterrupted and real-time communication abilities.
  • While communication and operational technological tools are currently facilitating companies’ remote work, there is still a large uncertainty on what the impact of the coronavirus outbreak will have on their overall productivity and their workforces.
  • Some tech companies like Pixar, who have laid importance to interactive workplaces, are facing more challenges in transitioning to its digital systems. The company believes that while collaborating online is an essential aspect amid the outbreak, “the magic of collaboration is sometimes lost”.
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