The modern office is a quickly evolving one. Technology, digital media, multi-generational work forces and socioeconomic factors are driving change faster than ever before. Here are five top trends coming to your workplace this year:
Trend one: Increased pace of work. The pace of work will continue to accelerate. We will all be expected to do more in less time. Although we aren't getting more hours in a day, advancements in automation and artificial intelligence are opening the door to new possibilities. From IBM Watson to Adobe Sensei, machines are increasingly capable of teaching themselves. In the office, this means the elimination of some jobs, the creation of others and a new definition for the word "collaboration." This year, we need to learn how to collaborate with machines.
Trend two: Mentorship programs. According to research, 91 percent of millennials consider rapid career progress a top priority. To retain employees and boost employee satisfaction, employers are increasing the number of mentorship programs they offer. Mentorship programs benefit the mentor, the mentored and the organization in a variety of ways, including upskilling younger workers, providing top talent with renewed motivation to stay engaged and to foster a people-focused culture at the organization. Advancements in video conferencing technology, free-address spaces and greater flexibility in work styles also affords more opportunities for mentorship programs.
Trend three: Agile workforces. The ADP National Employment Report predicts that companies will continue to shift to a mosaic of workers to meet business needs, increase their focus on employment engagement and embrace the importance of the team. Freelancers and contractors to consultants and salaried employees, spanning more generations than ever before. The open office has reduced the footprint needed per employee but has opened up room for a wider variety of huddle, conference and social spaces. Recognizing that as much as 82 percent of work gets done in teams, many facilities teams and business leaders are equipping these meeting spaces with collaborative furnishings and technologies that ensure this work is efficient, productive and effective.
Trend four: Mindfulness at work. A focus on wellness in the workplace is not new… but for years, that focus has been primarily on physical wellness. Standing desks and ergonomic chairs are certainly good for our bodies… but we're still as stressed out as ever at work. Many companies are now starting to offer meditation and mindfulness programs at work. Reports from some early studies are showing impressive results. Want to experiment yourself? Millions of users are incorporating mindfulness apps like Insight Timer, Headspace and Calm into their personal and work lives.
Trend five: Dependence on the cloud . It would be hard to find a company today that doesn't use at least one cloud-based solution. These are services made available to users on demand via the Internet. Cloud solutions from Microsoft, Adobe, Google, Amazon, Bluescape, Yulio and several other providers have made many work functions easier, but have confounded the IT landscape with complexity. As we add more and more disconnected apps into the mix (ironically in the name of connecting everything) security, performance and coordination concerns are skyrocketing.
One prediction for 2019 is that the cloud will help companies focus on centralizing communication -- combining email, chat and flow of information. Why? The average worker spends as much as 20% of the workweek looking for the internal information they need
• George Lucas Pfeiffer is executive vice president of BOS Holdings and Workspace Digital. Follow him on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/georgepfeiffer/