From employee wellness to the rise of the millennial workforce, here are three of the biggest trends in workplaces to watch over the coming year:
Increased Attention to Employee Wellbeing
There is overwhelming evidence linking employee performance to wellbeing. The most apparent measure of this is the impact of poor wellbeing on attendance, an estimated loss of 44 days per year for every 1,000 employees. When you factor in poor employee engagement and the decreased productivity of those who suffer from at least one chronic health condition (a whopping 68% of the workforce according to the Centers for Disease Control), the potential loss to employers is tremendous.
In response to these findings, many workplaces have developed initiatives aimed at increasing the physical and mental wellbeing of their staff. Example include standing desks, mandated breaks every several hours, workplace-sponsored yoga and/or meditation classes, and everything in between. Although tricky to measure, the return on investment (ROI) for wellness-promoting initiatives is estimated to be very high.
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Attracting the Millennial Workforce
With millennials on track to represent the majority of the workforce by 2020, employers are increasingly focused on attracting this younger generation. This is demonstrated by the shift of many workplaces to open-plan designs with a variety of workspace options and areas to collaborate. Millennials’ desire for convenience has also led to the increased integration of “lifestyle” amenities such as on-site restaurants, gym memberships, and access to concierge services.
Future of Business and Tech summarizes the ultimate millennial workspace as “a bright, airy space that engenders excitement and community, where they can do great work, move around, have fun and see the sun.”
2018 is expected to bring even more attention to creating workspaces that attract and retain this generation.
Focus on Open-Plan, Flexible Spaces
The modern office has undergone dramatic transformation in recent years, and perhaps one of the largest is the (literal) removal of walls in the workplace. Designs in 2018 are expected to further develop the concept of open-plan layouts, focusing on space that is flexible and has multiple uses. For instance, rearrangeable furniture to transition a business lounge to an event space, or a café to a pop-up yoga “studio.”
The development of multi-use workspaces is blended with several other trends on this list, such as the ability to offer a wider array of amenities to employees, particularly millennials.