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6 Trends That Will Define The Workplace In 2015

Photo: Getty Images

As the working year begins, it’s worth thinking about what to expect in the year ahead so you apply some thinking to how to navigate the changes.

From a huge increase in job-hopping and the bizarre trend of working from petrol stations, to a worldwide Gen-Y takeover, corporate life will see some significant shifts this year.

Understanding these is imperative to success in the corporate world, both as an employee and an employer.

This could be the year that many traditional companies are left behind and smaller, more mobile businesses excel. Here’s what to look out for.

1. Third space working environments will become the norm

While we have been hearing about flexible working arrangements and telecommuting for years, it will become mainstream in 2015. A recent Global Workforce Survey by Cisco found that 89% of the company’s employees worldwide telecommute at least once per week. Cisco calculates that this saves 3 million employee hours a year in commute avoidance, which equates to more than $370 million to hours a year in commute avoidance, which equates to more than $370 million to the company in productive work time. It has also saved $1 billion in real estate costs over 2.5 years.

In the public sector too, remote working arrangements are becoming commonplace with the Federal government setting a target to have 12 per cent of the Australian Public Service regularly working from home using high-speed broadband by 2020.

More than simply “working from home” however, 2015 will see remote working done in “third space locations”. In Germany, for example, Regus has launched offices co-located at Shell petrol stations to enable drivers to conduct meetings, access printing and internet facilities, and mail and collect packages whilst on the road. Regus is the world’s largest provider of “third-space” work solutions. The company uses a card-based system to allow members to occupy workspaces and access services as and when required.

Michael McQueen. Image: Supplied

2. The revolving door is back

While job-hopping may have slowed in recent years, the days of a revolving door in staff looks to be back. 86% of employees are already looking for work outside their current occupations and nearly one third of employers expect workers to job hop. The only thing that companies can do to increase retention rates is to create a superior work culture in which employees have friends, are engaged in their work and get perks.

3. More Gen Ys are running the show

A study by CareerBuilder found that 38% of the workforce is managed by Gen-Y and that it’s already caused a few problems such as favouritism towards other millennials and them thinking they know more than older workers. The problem these new managers are having is that they are unprepared for these positions. They were never trained on how to be good managers and are being pushed into these roles out of necessity; companies are losing older workers and positions are opening up fast.

4. New kids on the block

Just as Gen-Ys move into leadership, their younger cousins are just entering the workplace. Born from 1999 to 2012, Gen-Zs are more tech-savvy, empowered and educated than Gen-Ys were at the same age. That said, Gen-Zs do pose some challenges when it comes to a lack of resilience, interpersonal skills and attention spans.

5. Employer branding will become more important than ever

69% of Gen-Ys will consider a company’s social policies when choosing where to work. As such, a key to hiring talented workers will be the way employers ‘brand’ themselves in the market. Technology is a key way to do this.

Whether we like it or not, employees will be taking a page from the Yelps and Trip Advisors of the world and will rely on using tools like Glassdoor and social media to describe and evaluate their company’s true employment brand. With today’s social-enabled consumer technologies, disengaged or disgruntled employees, like customers, can immediately express their dissatisfaction, and prospective employees and customers can immediately see what those disengaged employees have to say.

58% of people are more likely to want to work at a company if they are using social media and over 20% are more likely to stay at their company if they are using social media. People want to work for interesting companies and when they see social media posts it gives them a better sense of what they are about. They are sick of seeing press releases and corporate websites and want something that is more “real”.

6. The Freelance Economy

Companies are looking to hire more temp workers and consultants because it’s cheaper and they don’t have to pay them benefits. Freelancing is also seen as a more legitimate and obtainable career path these days due the Internet and the accessibility it has given people. A recent study by Elance-oDesk shows that 53 million Americans are now freelancers, which is 34% of the American workforce. 69% of them say that technology is making it easier to find freelance work, and since technology is always improving, these numbers are going to grow year over year.

30% of Australians are now undertaking some form of flexible freelance work.

If we follow US trends, by 2020, this number is expected to rise to 50%.

Technology has been one of the main drivers behind this trend, making it easy for businesses to connect to talent on demand.

“Owner” is the fifth most popular job title for Gen-Y because they are an entrepreneurial generation. Even though most of their companies won’t succeed, they are demonstrating an unprecedented entrepreneurial spirit. Companies need to allow Gen-Ys to operate entrepreneurially within the corporation by giving them control over their time, activities and budgets as much as possible.

2015 will be a ground-breaking year in the workplace, with the environment as we know it changing dramatically.

This is due to the recovering economy, which opens up the job market and leads to employee empowerment. Gen-Y is becoming more and more powerful as they move up the ranks to higher management positions, and the business world is becoming more aware of the benefits of telecommunication.

Michael McQueen has spoken to over 150,000 people across 5 continents since 2004. He has shared the stage with some of the biggest names in the business including Bill Gates, Whoopi Goldberg and Larry King. You can find him on Twitter.

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