5 Workplace Trends to Watch

There are always new trends and themes that emerge in the workplace every year.

The most successful people catch onto these trends and ride them to even greater success.

Of course, not every office trend may apply to your situation, but that doesn’t mean they won’t in the future. It pays to know what’s on the horizon.

Here are five workplace trends that you should know about and catch onto for your own workplace success.

1. More Flexible Working Arrangements

The sad truth about the future is that the lines between personal and professional lives will continue to erode. Smartphones, Skype and the twenty-four hour availability schedule will be the norm.

The only bright light on the horizon appears to be that you can likely do more work while wearing your pajamas and bath robe.

Companies are taking a new look at telework and other working from home options as a way to reduce the cost of having to house employees in pricey downtown office towers. Some major corporations are going office-less and only offering a skeleton or temporary operating space at their headquarters.

The challenge for employees in this new working environment, which might be your kitchen or basement, is to maintain focus on work and to put up barriers that keep work from completely invading all of your life.

2. Accountability

Even as employers move toward allowing more flexibility in working arrangements they are also asking for increased accountability from their workers. They may not care where you work, or even how often, but they will be completely focused on your results or what you produce.

This means that you will have to find your own motivators to get the job done while working fewer hours at the office and more at home. You will also need to monitor your own progress and results before you get a call from headquarters reminding you that you are past deadline, again.

One of the reasons that Yahoo management got so excited about their working at home cadre was that results had been slipping for some time. They did weed out the poor performers but not until they cancelled all telework for its entire workforce.

As a part of this trend toward accountability employees are being asked to take control of their own professional development. That means you will also have to research, plan and execute your own personal training plan, because it is unlikely that your employer will do this for you in the future.

3. Leaning In Farther

The push to encourage women to ‘lean in,’ led by business luminaries like Sheryl Sandberg and practiced by new General Motors Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra will continue to gather steam as we move forward into the future.

Women who aspire to leadership roles in business will be asked to demonstrate their willingness and even aggressiveness in order to break the glass ceiling and move into the executive suite. If you want to get ahead you will be expected to challenge the status quo and prove that you belong with the best.

For men your biggest challenge might be to accept the equal ascension of woman into the corporate boardrooms and to actually do a little bit more at home to facilitate their smooth landing.

4. Freelancing

According to an article in Forbes magazine the Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimates that by 2020 as many as 65 million Americans will be freelancers, temps, independent contractors or owning their single employee business.

In the United States and in developed countries all over the world we are moving towards a society where 40 percent of more of the working population will fit into one of these categories versus a traditional job in a brick and mortar or even a virtual company.

As an employee this opens up a whole new world of possibilities whereby you can build your own mini-company or become a solopreneurs. Or you could offer your skills and services on a freelance or project basis to a range of companies that might be located in your hometown or halfway around the globe.

But remember that if you choose this employment route you will also have to look after your own health and security benefits. And sorry, but you will have to make sure that you pay your taxes too.

5. Technological Changes

Technological changes will continue to change and in many ways improve the modern workplace. This is particularly true when it comes to social interaction and communication.

But employees should be aware that this may also mean new technologies to track your attendance, performance and productivity, including how much time you spent on what your employer might see as ‘personal’ social networking.

You should also know that employers will be using social networks far more in the future to recruit so if you want to be on their radar you have to build a good profile on sites like LinkedIn.

As we move forward your ability to function on all existing and emerging platforms and programs can make or break your career so stay on top of this workplace trend if you want to catch the next wave to success.

What workplace trends have you noticed? What else should we be watching?


Mike Martin is a freelance writer and consultant specializing in workplace wellness and conflict resolution. He is the author of Change the Things You Can (Dealing with Difficult People). For more information about Mike please visit: Change the Things You Can


  1. Jonathan Clift on the 5th August

    I honestly don’t see why so many companies continue to resist flexible working arrangements. Too many are stuck in this old school 9-5 mentality and anyone who breaks that arrangement is harshly frowned upon.

    A lot of it comes down to average middle management who feel they need to micro manage all their team members but also companies themselves with there legacy policies.

    The reality is that if you offer some kind of flexible working from home, employees will often work harder anyway to ensure they earn the right to do it again. Those who abuse the flexible agreement will soon get found out, so to me, it’s a win win for companies and employees.

    In an idea world you want to be in a company work everyone wants to come into the office and be around their colleagues but flexible working can be beneficial to both employees and the companies when managed appropriately.

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