5 Workplace Trends for the Next Decade

As we start a new decade, if one thing is for sure, the pace of change we’ve experienced over the past 10 years will only increase. And, as it's human nature to look ahead, we thought we’d share some insights that have caught our eye from the world that we all have a stake in - the world of work.
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The 4 day work week will boost productivity

Few organisations would turn down the chance to become more productive, lessen their environmental impact, reduce the gender pay gap and improve employees’ mental health. But not many would think that working less time is the key to making it happen. Welcome to the benefits of the 4 day work week. The way we are working is changing, as are our responsibilities to our people and indeed the planet. A 4 day week has been found to decrease stress levels, boost engagement through a better work-life balance, create more flexible working for women which helps them move into leadership positions. As we work the longest hours in Europe in the UK, will this be the decade where we make adjustments and see the benefits?

The future is about more than qualifications, think skills

As the workplace becomes more diverse, organisations are going to have to increasingly look beyond the traditional graduate intake to supply the skills they need. More inclusive ways of hiring are required which means looking at apprenticeships and partnering with education providers to design bespoke, skills-based qualifications that deliver candidates that make a more immediate impact. Organisations are also going to need to be more accommodating towards skilled women with family responsibilities who feel excluded from the workplace as well as being better at attracting and retaining older workers.

Human or Bot? Will we even mind?

Will you soon be unable to notice the difference between human and robot, real voice and computer generated – and will you really mind? The 2020s will be the decade when we stop asking, because we’ll be increasingly used to it, and OK with it too. After all, when you chat to ‘Katrina’ online who resolves your IT problems, do you mind if she’s a bot? Not if she can solve your problem quickly. We’re already getting used to talking to ‘Alexa’ after all. Human-like technology is becoming increasingly more authentic – but there is a down side. Last year fraudsters managed to generate the voice of a UK executive’s boss – so convincingly that he agreed to send £200,000 to the fraudsters’ account. Unfortunately, he is unlikely to be the last, so we should all be on our guard.

Women will change the workplace for good

Those old boardroom photos of white male executives is going to be a thing of the past. The 2020s will see more women making decisions and influencing opinion. From business to political leaders, more women will be in positions of power and responsibility. Indeed, this was one of the objectives of our recent Paving The Way event which featured inspiring female leaders sharing their tips as to how to progress into senior roles. It will happen because organisations bring down barriers and institutions that have blocked change are persuaded to embrace it. It won’t just mean more visibility in senior roles, change will come in the form of more intolerance towards workplace discrimination and sexual harassment. As Melinda Gates of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation puts it, ‘These interactions, multiplied every day across millions of women, will change everything.”

A sense of purpose - your most valuable asset

By 2025 Millennials (or Generation Y), born between 1891 and 1996, will make up almost 75% of the global workforce according to Deloitte – and the equally ethical Generation Z, born 1996 onwards, will follow. Therefore, it’s critical for business leaders to understand, attract and retain this ever-expanding talent pool of principled digital native workers. And what motivates Millennials most of all? A sense of purpose. They need to feel they are doing something worthwhile in their work with a broader meaning, reward alone is not enough. Working towards a sense of purpose does not exclusively motivate Millennials, it is a good way to engage all generations. The Glassdoor Mission and Culture Survey 2019 found 77% of adults would consider a company’s purpose before applying for a job. So, those organisations that will retain and get the best from their people in the 2020s are those that work to create a sense of purpose and progressive culture – it could well be your most valuable asset.

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