The 15 hottest office trends of 2019

AP Photo/Laurent CiprianiArtificial intelligence use in US companies grew 270% in the last 4 years.
  • Digital business publication FitSmallBusiness released a report on 15 millennial workplace trends.
  • Some hot trends include sustainability programs, gender-inclusive bathrooms, and corporate retreats.
  • Company “Summer Fridays,” or closing offices early at the end of the week so employees can enjoy longer weekends, saw a 9% increase between 2018 to 2019.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Millennials have redefined what work looks like – and what workplaces should offer their employees.

As office norms like a rigid 9-to-5 schedule and drug screenings become a thing of the past, a new report from FitSmallBusiness looked at the 15 new and hot workplace trends that millennials love.

FitSmallBusiness, a digital business publication, evaluated third-party data sources, including media reporting, the research firm Gartner, and the Society for Human Resource Management, to analyse which trends had grown the most among Fortune 500 companies. The company released a list of the 15 hottest trends exclusively for Business Insider.

Some hot trends include sustainability programs, gender-inclusive bathrooms, and corporate retreats.

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“What once seemed to serve the average employee – including a nine-to-five schedule, open floor plans, and unlimited PTO – has been replaced by a new set of trends that lean heavily on developing technology and a generational focus on wellness,” the report states.

Here are the top 15 workplace trends millennials love in 2019:

Gender-neutral bathrooms have spread to office spaces nationwide, thanks to transgender equality activism.

As localities like Illinois and New York City are making requirements for establishments to label single-use bathrooms as gender-neutral, more offices are accommodating non-gender-conforming people by creating inclusive spaces.

Emotional-support animals in the workplace have become more commonplace to improve employee mental health.

Getty Images

As over half of employees now say work is negatively impacting their mental health, more offices are bringing in emotional support animals. The National Service Animal Registry reported an 8,000% increase in service and emotional-support animals since 2011, according to The New York Times.

Artificial intelligence use in American companies grew 270% in the last 4 years. Now, 40% of companies report using AI, according to research firm Gartner.

REUTERS/Fabrizio BenschThe humanoid robot AILA (artificial intelligence lightweight android) operates a switchboard during a demonstration by the German research centre for artificial intelligence at the CeBit computer fair in Hanover March, 5, 2013.

Companies are starting to use wearable technology to increase worker safety, like to monitor dangerous levels of radio frequency between staff and machines.

GettyImages/Guido MiethPerson using wearable technology.

By 2020, there will be over 75 million wearable devices in the workplace worldwide, PwC estimates, particularly in dangerous fields like manufacturing and mining.

There are almost twice the number of companies that offer onsite electric vehicle charging stations in 2019 than there were in 2015.

Lucy Nicholson/ReutersElectric cars sit charging in a parking garage at the University of California, Irvine January 26, 2015.

While just 7% of companies had onsite electric vehicle charging stations in 2015, the number rose to 13% in 2019, according to a report from the Society for Human Resource Management.

Company retreats are becoming more commonplace.

In 2017, a CPA Practice Advisor report found one in five companies offered retreat trips. Some noteworthy examples included a startup offering paid trips to Burning Man, and McKinsey Chinese retreat miles away from ethnic Uighurs prisons.

Mandatory time-off policies allow companies to force workers to take a break.

LaylaBird/Getty ImagesA regular sleep routine can make all the difference.

American employees log in longer hours than their counterparts overseas – and take fewer vacations than them, too. Surveys have even indicated workers feel more burned out when other people they work with go on PTO.

Not taking a vacation is bad for creativity and productivity, research has found, resulting in some companies forcing their workers to go on vacation.

Flexible work options have become the norm.

10’000 Hours/Getty Images

“Studies have shown desks are vacant 50 to 60% of the time due to staff working from home,” FitSmallBusiness reported, citing research from Global Workplace Analytics.

Recently, companies like Starbucks, Lowe’s, UPS, and Nike have begun offering health insurance plans for part-time workers.

AP Photo/Seth Wenig

Between 2015 and 2019, the number of companies offering free snacks rose from 22% to 31%, according to SHRM data.

Alex Wong/Getty

Fidelity Investments saw a 50% increase in health-saving accounts assets from 2017 to 2018, indicating more workplaces supplementing their 401(k) plans with HSAs.

Hero Images/Getty Images

HSAs are a savings account you can use to cover health costs now or in retirement. Contributions and withdrawals are also tax-free.

As Business Insider’s Tanza Loudenback reports, nearly 19% of Americans had an HSA in 2017, up from just 4% in 2007.

More companies are now willing to pay a “cost of living differential,” or higher-than-average salaries to people working in expensive cities.

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Companies offering a “cost of living” differential has increased from 12% in 2015 to 15% in 2019, FitSmallBusiness reported, citing SHRM data.

Company “Summer Fridays,” or closing offices early at the end of the week so employees can enjoy longer weekends, saw a 9% increase between 2018 to 2019.

Richard Baker/Getty Images

According to CEOs and HR chiefs across the country, letting staff leave early (or take the day off) on Fridays during the warmer months boosts productivity and employee morale, Business Insider previously reported.

Student-loan-repayment programs have become more popular as the nationwide student debt tops $US1.5 trillion.

Stephen Burns / EyeEm / Getty Images

ZipRecruiter found that student loan borrowers were struggling to pay off their debt so much that they’d give up PTO for employer repayment programs. Companies like Penguin Random House, Aetna, and Fidelity have led the charge in offering these types of programs.

Read more:
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Environmental sustainability initiatives have become commonplace as more companies ban plastic straws, promote using reusable water bottles, commit to zero emissions and investing in renewable energy, and more.

AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

For more detailed reporting on corporate sustainability programs, read Business Insider correspondent Rich Feloni’s Better Capitalism vertical.

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