The Biggest Workplace Trends for 2016


Employee Trends

Boomerang Employees will become accepted

  • A boomerang employee leaves a company but returns at a later stage.
  • In the past, almost 1 in 2 companies had a policy against re-hiring former employees.
  • Now more than 1 in 3 companies say they are more accepting of them.
  • Former employees are familiar with the company culture, don’t require as much training and can bring a new perspective.

Baby Boomers will make way for millennials

  • 3.6 million ‘Baby Boomers’ (b. 1946 – 1964) will retire in 2016.
  • More than 1 in 4 ‘Millennials’ (b. 1980s – 2000s) will become managers in 2016.
  • Companies will hire back some of their ‘Baby Boomers’ to act as advisors to the new generation of managers.
  • ‘Millennials’ will need regular feedback and virtual learning compared to the annual performance reviews and printed manuals that ‘Baby Boomers’ had.

Generation Z will enter the workplace

  • The 1st college graduates of ‘Generation Z’ (b. 1994 – 2010) will enter the workforce in 2016.
  • ‘Generation Z’ is jaded from the recession and suffers from student loans.
  • Like ‘Millennials’, they will seek mentors and will be even more connected through technology.
  • About 1 in 3 want to become managers in the next 5 years.

Technology and Office Layout Trends

Wearable Technology will properly enter the workplace

  • The global wearables market will grow to $80 billion by 2020.
  • It is predicted to grow at a rate of 35% over the next 5 years.
  • Wearables will be driven by ‘Generation Z’ entering the workforce in 2016, as well as by ‘Millennials’.
  • The business value of wearables to retrieve information and help workers be more efficient with their time will be recognised.

Automation will creep in at the cost of employees

  • It is predicted that machines may be able to do 1/2 of all jobs within the next 2 decades.
  • Employers will benefit by creating a more efficient production line and lowering the cost of talent.
  • Employees will have fewer jobs and more pressure to produce, or be replaced.
  • McDonald’s Europe has already installed 7,000 touch-screen computers that take your order and track your food items for example.

Office design to facilitate collaboration will be a priority

  • Office space is shrinking. By 2020 , the average amount of space per employee will drop to 150 square feet, down from 400 in 1085.
  • More employees are also telecommuting.
  • Companies will move away from open offices and create multi-faceted office spaces that give employees’ options.
  • Employees want flexible furniture, a distraction-free environment and lounge areas in order to facilitate productivity and foster good morale.

Work / Life Balance Trends

Workplace flexibility will dominate the conversation

  • Almost 2 in 3 managers expect their employees to be reachable outside the office on their personal time. Employees are burnt out.
  • More employees are willing to either switch jobs, or stay at their current job, based on their flexibility programs.
  • These include: telecommuting, co-working spaces, and new technology tools.
  • Companies have to adapt to increase flexibility options as the next baby boom happens when ‘Millennials’ will be having children in the next few years.

The sharing economy will rise even more

  • Professionals are choosing freelance jobs in order to gain more control over their lives and to have increased flexibility.
  • By 2020, about 40% of Americans for example will be part of the sharing economy.
  • Take Uber, the app that allows people hail a ride through their smartphone, which already has over 1 million drivers globally.
  • For companies, the sharing economy allows them to hire on-demand, keep costs down and increase the competition for talent.

Maternity leave will become an even bigger topic

  • More companies are expanding their maternity benefits to compete for top talent and to retain current employees.
  • We are entering a new baby room created by the ‘Millennials’.
  • 64% of employees say they want unlimited maternity leave.
  • Maternity leave differs widely from country to country and company to company, but in the USA for example, only 1% of companies offer unlimited maternity leave.

Source from Brighton School of Business and Management

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