Different work trends are reshaping organizations from bottom to top today.
The pandemic, the turbulent economy, the uncertain supply chain — the past few years have seen several events that have resulted in major disruption to the way businesses function. However, unlike other times of unrest which have seen only short-term change, this one seems likely to have lasting effects on business operations.
The COVID pandemic, in particular, has changed how consumers and employees view businesses. Months upon months spent at home, with their predictable routine thrown into mayhem, people have all but been forced to spend time reflecting upon what they want from the corporations they interact with.
As the world slowly but surely recovers from the pandemic, employees and consumers are deciding to act upon their expectations — and businesses that do not conform to those expectations are likely to be left in the dust.
What are the work trends changing the world today?
Executives need to consider large scale modifications to their operations to address the changing needs and wants of consumers and employees. Here are some of the most significant work trends that should drive executive decision-making in the coming years:
The pandemic forced countless businesses to make major changes to their processes and practices — and most of those changes were not planned for.
Now, it is time for business leaders to assess how their hard pandemic pivots have affected business performance and reinvent their companies strategically and intentionally. Some of the most common reinventions occurring in the post-pandemic world include:
- Digital transformation: adopting a platform and marketplace model to leverage the power of tech.
- Personalized products: giving consumers more control over production with bespoke products.
- Artificial intelligence: combining human and machine intelligence to improve performance.
Panic buying interfering with supply and demand, transportation issues disrupting the supply chain and the Great Resignation leaving a record number of jobs unfilled — businesses have faced the threat of scarcity for years now.
Unfortunately, the inability to attract and maintain a stable workforce is perhaps the most dangerous, as, without talent, businesses cannot execute their post-pandemic plans. Some effective ways for business leaders to battle staff scarcity in their organization include:
- Better incentives: offering updated compensation packages to new employees.
- A diverse workforce: prioritizing acquiring talent of different ages, ethnicities, gender identities etc.
- Appropriate accountability: recognizing the impact of management on employee retention.
Workers at every level want to feel like individuals who are contributing their unique skills and knowledge to reach personal and shared goals.
Unfortunately, too many organizations utilize outdated models for assuming what employees want and need, with the result that workers continue to feel that their interests are being ignored. Executives should find ways to give their workforce more autonomy to make choices regarding where, when and how they work.
Some ways to improve the sense of individuality in the workplace include:
- Deeper relationships: spending time learning more about individual employees.
- Less bureaucracy: eliminating lengthy and complex compliance-driven exercises to improve flexibility.
- Cooperation: working with employees to develop personalization opportunities at work.
Illness is bad for business — and illness takes more forms than the common cold. Greater flexibility during the pandemic encouraged many employees to recognize the importance of mental and physical health in their work-life balance.
Fortunately, organizations benefit by looking after the wellness of the workforce; businesses that provide proper support for worker well-being experience positive staff retention, lower absenteeism, higher productivity and greater workplace satisfaction.
Some topics business leaders should cover with their workers to develop strategies for boosting vitality include:
- Mental and emotional health: ensuring workers do not feel overly stressed to the point of burnout.
- Social health: providing remote workers with a sense of community inside and outside the workplace.
- Career and purpose: giving workers opportunities to improve their skills and boost their careers.
For decades, the call for increased environmental accountability from corporations has increased in volume, and it is beginning to reach a fever pitch.
Executives need to think critically about how they can integrate real environmental sustainability into their business processes — or else they could face extreme backlash from consumers. More than 85 per cent of consumers are looking for green alternatives, and roughly one-third of consumers are willing to pay more for products from sustainable companies.
Some ways for executives to front the sustainability issue include:
- Board evolution: altering leadership to ensure the organization can develop and reach green goals.
- New talent: hiring job candidates with experience and passion for sustainability.
- Green mindset: integrating the value of sustainability into the corporate culture.
The world is changing, and the workplace needs to change, too. For executives struggling to understand not only how to track ongoing work trends but how to implement effective change, short courses for executive education online can be exceedingly useful.
What are the biggest work trends today?
The biggest work trends changing the world today are:
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I am Adeyemi Adetilewa, a media consultant, entrepreneur, husband, and father. Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Ideas Plus Business Magazine, online business resources for entrepreneurs. I help brands share unique and impactful stories through the use of public relations, advertising, and online marketing. My work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Thrive Global, Addicted2Success, Hackernoon, The Good Men Project, and other publications.