Workplace is evolving and organizations are fostering a more employee-friendly environment. With greater technological advancement, it is easy to communicate and collaborate with people all over the world. To encourage effective participation, organizations are incorporating entrepreneurial programs that help employees think and act like entrepreneurs, undertaking complete ownership of their projects.
Key workplace trends of 21st century are co-working work practices, startups work approach, collaborative environment, human cloud, rise and acceptance of millennial and boomerang employees and most importantly, sustainability of workforce.
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The traditional hierarchal model is being replaced by the new Lattice Model. Companies have consciously flattened their structure by 25% over the past 25 years, thus enabling flow of ideas horizontally, vertically as well as diagonally. The new generation (Generation Z) is witnessing a shift from hierarchy to community, giving rise to harmonious work atmosphere.
Start-ups, which have become the new backbone of economy, are the source of many recent trends. Appointing multigenerational, diverse staff and promoting collaboration at the workplace are some of the trends introduced by startups. Making the workplace a communal gathering facilitates easy collaboration and crosspollination of ideas. Also, there is an increasing use of gig workers and human cloud (freelancers, consultants and independent contractors) that has redefined the way we work. Today, Upwork has 10 million freelancers from 180 countries. This human cloud platform provides instant access to a pool of desirable talent without going through traditional lengthy recruitment processes. The market is evolving so rapidly that it is estimated by 2025, there would be 540 million workers using Upwork to get hired. The biggest contributors to Upwork have been U.S., India and Philippines.
Co-working spaces, due to its informal and collaborative ethos are also in great demand. There are more opportunities and possibilities. There is greater acceptance of boomerang employees as they require little training and are already familiar with company’s culture and policies. Currently, more than 1 in 3 companies are open to hiring them.
What lies at the heart of all these trends is the sustainability. There is a growing need of sustaining the workplace environment, thereby sustaining the workforce. Organizations world over are looking at different ways to encourage this. About 29 leading corporations (Coca Cola, IKEA, Pepsico) have collectively launched a digital platform to engage millennials in sustainable manner. Many companies, recognizing the impact of economic activity on the natural resources and environment, are investing in consumer engagement programs to educate them about these issues. They are also investing in ways to minimize environmental impact. Other companies provide Ola, Uber, BlaBlaCar for comfortable travel of their employees. Starbucks has pledged to fund employees’ college education. Rating tools like WELL Building Standard to check the health and wellness of workers along with energy efficient equipment for lighting and heating inside the workplace are also gaining prominence.
Companies are implementing broader drivers of well-being from flexible working hours to training programs. There has also been introduction of smart offices built to high efficiency standards. These corporate structures use sensors and control systems to monitor the changing weather conditions so that lighting, ventilation, heating and cooling inside the office is maintained. Apart from consuming less energy, it also leads to better physical work environment. A greener and healthier environment is becoming the norm corporations are working towards.
As we leave the vestiges of traditional work culture behind, we are embracing new technologies and transitions. Organizations are willingly looking for activity based choices, employee friendly workplaces and actively seeking avenues to provide a healthy work life balance to their employees.