Guest post: The top five trends impacting the workforce next year

Companies are now under greater pressure than ever to juggle multiple goals related to boosting employee productivity, enhancing employee wellbeing and becoming an employer of choice. In order to achieve this, workforce strategies must continue to rapidly evolve and promote forward-thinking new approaches to support the modern office environments in order to remain competitive.


Organisations are having to rethink their workspaces in order to meet the increasing demand from employees for a better work experience. Top of the agenda is to facilitate a greater variety of collaborative interactions and autonomous work activities. Additionally, they must adapt the office in such a way that makes it possible for employees to use spaces according to their own individual requirements: the only way of doing this is to drastically change design approaches to support these various ways of working.


With that in mind, here are my top five trends that are set to shape the workplace in 2020.


  1. The evolution of the open plan office 


Despite its popularity and success in enabling better communication and collaboration, research has shown that, conversely, it can be detrimental to workers’ productivity, attention spans and creative thinking.


As a result, businesses have begun to push back on the notion that ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to office design. Instead, they’re offering employees a choice of diverse and adaptable spaces so they can choose the type of space they need for any given task.


The first step is to introduce separated private and collaborative areas in offices. A growing number of companies are also aligning space, interactions and behaviours to create performance workplaces that optimise people’s productivity and engagement.


Whether that’s offering quiet areas designed for workers that need to get out of the hub-bub to focus on solo activities, or providing more social areas where people can come together at will to collaborate and co-work, reconfiguring furnishings and desks to suit the group’s immediate needs.


  1. Ushering in hotdesking 


A hotdesking or ‘hoteling’ seating policy, whereby workspace is unassigned, may be the next big move for some innovative organisations. Instead, employees dynamically reserve workspaces such as desks, cubicles and offices dependent on their requirements on a day-to-day basis.


Being granted greater flexibility and control over their personal work environment, including who they sit next to, gives employees a more positive relationship with their personal work environment. Indeed, according to research by Gensler, organisations that empower employees with the ability to work when and where best suits their work needs are more likely to perform highly and more likely to unlock creative innovation.


Flexible furniture and layouts are being utilised today by companies as large as Google and venture capitalists, who are seeing the benefits. Whether that’s introducing standing and height-adjustable desks to counteract sedentary lifestyle risks or encouraging different forms of interaction in the workplace.


  1. How the workplace presents itself 


The workplace has now become an outlet for companies to express their cultural values and demonstrate their care for and value of their employees. Companies now view the workplace as an opportunity to express their cultural values and demonstrate how much they care and value employees. By carefully evaluating how people really interact, and what employees need to get through the day, they’re creating adaptable workspaces that boost employee engagement, morale and commitment.


From quick touchdown spots that serve the needs of digital nomads that like to move through the office and situate themselves where they’ll most benefit from chance interactions, to using natural materials and plants to create focal points that lower workplace stress and stimulate creativity, they’re enabling unique workplace experiences that are designed to attract and retain employees.


  1. Life in the gig economy 


In recent years there has been a decisive shift in the formula of the workforce, as freelancers, contractors and mobile road warriors now make up a large cohort. As a result, the workspace is having to adapt fast to cater for highly diverse workforces that can flex at a moment’s notice.


In a world where co-working spaces and subscription-based offices are now the name of the game for organisations that want to remain fleet of foot and keep budgets under control, the search for ways to enable more flexible and productive workplaces that suit the needs of a whole range of different types of workers is on the rise.


  1. Welcoming Generation-Z 


As the next generation entering the workforce, Gen-Z ranks workplaces that support collaborative working and human interactions very highly. The next generation entering the workforce, Gen-Z, highly rank workplaces that support collaborative working and human interaction. But they also expect to encounter more formal private spaces designed specifically for heads-down work.


It is only the start of the challenge attempting to accommodate these seemingly conflicting workplace needs is just the start of the challenge. This free-thinking cohort of workers also wants greater control over their environment and value flexible work arrangements that incorporate task-oriented features that enable to them to curate how, and with whom, they work. Less accepting of the limitations of the physical spaces they inhabit they’ll expect to find adjustable desks and mobile furniture that makes it possible to dynamically transform their working spaces as they see fit.


2020 will bring about a jump towards agility and flexibility being at the forefront. Organisations will be reimagining the dynamics of their workplace, supporting how employees function throughout the day by catering to their evolving needs and the overall changing demographics of the workforce.


Author: Kleopatra Kivrakidou, Channel Marketing Manager at Ergotron EMEA

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