2017 Was A Year Of Reckoning In Hollywood. Will 2018 Be The Year Of Change?

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2017 was been a disruptive year from a workplace standpoint and there are no signs of the trend slowing down. As technology continues to evolve, the state of the workplace will too as employers hustle to stay ahead of the curve writes, Zach Holmquist, Co-founder & Chief of Workplace Experience, Teem

2017 was a year of breakthroughs for much of much of the tech industry. Artificial Intelligence finally became mainstream with almost every business vying to showcase some tenant of machine learning in their product offerings. Silicon Valley’s ‘bro-culture’ encountered a reckoning, forcing tech behemoths to reassess their diversity and HR programs. While baby boomers started to retire in greater numbers, paving the way for millennials in management.

These reverberated across the tech landscape and will, of course, have repercussions for the workplace experience throughout 2018.

Realizing an Automated Office

Virtual home assistants like Alexa have entered the workplace, resulting in more personalized interactions, voice- and sensor-activated meeting scheduling, and sensors automatically adjusting temperature, meeting check-ins or anticipating lunch requests.

It is projected that by 2020, there will be 6 billion AI-connected devices and over half of CMOs believe that AI’s impact on the business world will be more pivotal to the future of work than social media’s shake up one decade ago.

Scheduling meetings, booking rooms and reserving resources is a job in and of itself, and 80 percent of executives believe AI will eliminate this issue in the near future. For example, it will allow us to connect AI to existing technology such as meeting room booking and calendar-syncing platforms.

Stolen conference rooms, unused tech tools and the like will be dated issues in 2018 as AI will spur convenience, efficiency, and productivity.

Millennials Take the Lead

In 2015, millennials took over as the largest generational group in the United States workforce and it is expected that the group will make up over half of the workforce by 2020.

While ranging in age, millennials are now as old as 36, meaning they aren’t just outnumbering others in the workforce, they are moving up the ranks and are becoming leaders within organizations and teams.

In recent years, employers have been working to attract millennials to their companies by building a workplace experience that suits them. But as this generation steps into the managerial role, they are now the ones making the decisions. As a result, 2018 will be the year of the millennial manager and it will shape workplace communication, not to mention experience. Under millennial leadership, workplaces will be quicker in accepting and implementing new technologies and more emphasis will be placed on collaboration among team members.

The Future of Office Design

Many workplaces have made the move to an open office layout in the recent years. Much of this implementation results from the common belief that open offices improve collaboration, productivity and ultimately the overall workplace experience. However, 2018 is the year that employers recognize that such a layout is not the end all be all.

The “2017 Employee Happiness Survey” by Teem, the meeting room analytics platform, showed that 38% of employees work in an open office, making it the most popular office layout.

However, 83% of millennials reported in this survey they feel the lack of privacy in open offices negatively impacts them, despite the common notion that open offices suit the generation the best. But it’s not just a millennial perception. Overall, 86%  reported problems with noise, 49% with space, and 38% with privacy.

The open office does have some benefits, too. Teem’s survey also found that 60% of respondents reported that the layout increases ease of collaboration. That being said, it is not the silver bullet employers may be looking for.

There is somewhat of a “workplace dogma” where open office spaces are where today’s employees should be working. Yes, open office spaces are highly popular, but they aren’t always the answer in providing a holistic workplace experience.

In 2018, businesses will not revert to closed offices, but rather invest in more private “huddle” spaces throughout the office to let the dogma go.

Greater Emphasis on Mental Wellness

According to findings from Teem’s Employee Happiness Survey, 48% of employees reported they are unhappy at their job. The reasons behind this could vary, but when you add that to everyday stressors employees may have (i.e. being in debt, feeling overworked, family obligations, etc.), poor mental wellness will inevitably affect an employee’s performance.

Poor mental health such as depression can result in approximately five missed work days and 11.5 days of reduced productivity every three months for an individual, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Overall, it costs 200 million lost workdays per year in the United States at a cost of $17 to $44 billion in lost productivity.

Companies have taken notice of this and are now working to destigmatize mental wellness.

When I’m not running Teem, I moonlight as a yoga instructor. With that, I realized that I can help my workforce reduce their stress levels by giving yoga classes once a week. In 2018, more companies will prioritize mental wellness, not only through meditation practices and yoga classes, but through having mental wellness as part of an employee’s health insurance package, therapists and counselors available to provide help anonymously.

A New Era for Workplace Experience

2017 was a year when technology finally ade innovations like voice control and AI a reality, and it also appears to be a year when many workers became ‘woke’ - prioritizing workforce diversity and fulfillment. These milestones are pivotal moments that will greatly impact how we work together in the future - expect to see these trends to evolve even more throughout the New Year.

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Source : https://www.martechadvisor.com/articles/collaboration-project-management/how-work-will-change-in-2018/

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