The Changing Face of the Workplace – Top 5 Trends for 2020

As technological change continues to grow at an astronomical pace, many companies are looking for ways to integrate their employees into the workplace of the future. Yet many can’t afford to wait any longer – the future is here.

Today, everything is interconnected as businesses continue to expand their operations on a global scale. To gain a competitive edge, companies will have to stay on top of current trends to attract the talent needed to help them succeed in the new business landscape.

Keeping in mind the only constant is change, here are the top 5 workplace trends for 2020:

1. Companies are Preparing for an Influx of Millennials

With many baby boomers preparing for retirement, the influx of millennials will shape the 2020 workplace. Many workplaces will see the blending of generations, something that may pose challenges to managers and HR teams.

Demographically, millennials are likely to be more creative and are willing to share their creations through social media platforms. Being keen early adopters of new technology, training programs will need to be developed that cater to their learning approach. Their insatiable appetite for learning means they will need to be engaged with their jobs or will seek out other opportunities that may offer more fulfillment.

2. Increased Focus on Employee Well-Being

As the pace of work continues to increase, employees will be subjected to more stress in the workplace. According to Kronos research, 95% of HR leaders say that stress is “sabotaging workforce retention.”

Burnout is common, and the topic of mental health is being taken more seriously at the company level. To help employees cope with increased stress, many companies are taking a holistic approach and are implementing innovative programs to help them relax and remain focused. Companies like Nike, Apple and Google have introduced programs ranging from meditation to cognitive behavioural training.

3. The Gig Economy

Technological advances have made it easier to work remotely while still staying connected to a central office. For many, gig and/or remote work is better suited to their desire for a more flexible lifestyle. Ditching long term positions for shorter project based gigs, many are choosing the contractor lifestyle. Intuit estimates that by 2020, over 40% of U.S. workers will be independent contractors.  

The trend to work remotely has huge implications for HR. Everything from the hiring process to communications procedures are impacted when workers don’t operate out of a central office.

4. Increased Integration of AI and Humans

The rise of globalization has led to the need for more data driven decisions. Since data is the new gold of the digital economy, increased automation will be needed to evaluate and make sense of all this data. Gartner research predicts that in 2020, one in five workers engaged in mostly non-routine tasks will rely on AI to help them do their jobs.

While right now AI isn’t able to integrate softer more “human” skills into the workplace, companies will be forced to strike a balance between the use of AI and humans into processes and operations. In spite of all the benefits AI can offer a workplace, it’s also important not to lose the human connection so necessary to running a successful business.

5. Focus on the Employee Experience

The increased integration of technology into the workplace will create the need for more specialized forms of talent. Since many are expecting the next decade to be full of talent shortages, companies will need to take extra steps to ensure their “employee experience” is a good one.

In Deloitte’s 2019 Human Capital Trends Report, 84% of respondents say employee experience is an important issue and 28% rate is as urgent.  

Workplaces will have to be designed as places where people want to work. Designing this experience could involve a wide range of issues from physical space, to flexible work options and programs addressing mental health and stress. Companies with the most engaged employees have recorded a 21% higher profitability than those with employees who are less engaged.

In general, more and more people are looking for companies that see them as “humans” as opposed to being dispensable employees.