The Staples Advantage Workplace Index, a study of office workers, identified several workplace trends employers and employees will implement and experience in 2017. Neil Ringel, executive vice president, Staples Advantage, North America, said these trends have significant implications for the future of the workplace.
"From implementing wellness and sustainability initiatives, to leveraging technology investments and the growing freelance economy, the priority list of issues that affect the workplace and workplace happiness is as important as it is long," Dana Manciagli wrote for Biz Journals.
Fully embracing telecommuters
"Meeting the needs of the mobile workforce continues to be top of mind for employers. The majority of telecommuters acknowledge that telecommuting improves work productivity, work-life balance, and their overall happiness. However, 66 percent of employees surveyed reported that poorly performing technology decreases their productivity."
Businesses should consider advertising their "work from home" policies when hiring and recruiting. This trend is appealing to the 4.6% of Americans who already work from home – the latest AudienceSCAN research reveals – and just might catch on with more and more of the workforce looking for change.
"So it’s no surprise that as more employees opt to work outside the physical office, employers will need to address the technology gap. “If companies want to effectively compete in the next decade, they must provide employees the right tools that are increasingly more mobile,” said Ringel. “The increased productivity will maximize the return on those investments, and employees will feel more empowered.”
Companies could even highlight the tech they offer employees in ad campaigns and recruiting campaigns. AudienceSCAN research reported 44.2% of Employees Working from Home primarily use Android mobile phones, and 31% use iPhones.
Increased investment in wellness initiatives
"Sixty-six percent of employees claim burnout is negatively affecting their productivity, so it’s critical for employers to invest in initiatives that focus on physical and mental wellness to enhance employee health and productivity."
“Increased investment in employee wellness is key,” said Ringel. “More and more employers will implement initiatives that empower productivity, with the ancillary benefit of helping to control health care costs, too.”
Hiring managers should include any outstanding wellness benefits offered to entice Employees Working from Home in TV spots. The most recent AudienceSCAN study found 48.9% of Employees Working from Home took action after watching a commercial in the past year.
Sustainability as a recruitment tool
“Sustainability has gone way beyond corporate social responsibility,” Ringel said, as employers will make it a key recruiting tool. Eco-friendly efforts will be essential in recruitment strategies this year, as 68 percent of employees consider a company’s sustainability practices to be an important factor when making career decisions."
Demand for flexibility will grow the freelance economy
"Nearly a quarter of surveyed employees freelance at least part-time today, and among those who do, nearly half say they would consider leaving their primary job to freelance full-time if it meant achieving more flexibility and better work-life balance."
"Nearly 40 percent of employees acknowledge that workplace flexibility increases workplace happiness. “This year we’ll see the freelance economy continue to grow as more employees strive for greater workplace flexibility,” said Ringel. “The pressure will be on employers to embrace both work-life balance issues and the growing freelance pool of talent.”
Placement firms and head hunters can encourage the use of freelancers and contractors in ad campaigns. 38.8% of Employees Working from Home took action after reading newspaper (print, online, mobile or tablet) ads in the past year.
Redesigned office space to meet the needs of a diverse workforce
"Many employees describe their office space as standard, plain or dull, and nearly half would like to see more attention paid to office design. Employees report that a well-designed office would improve interest in their work, creativity and their work ethic."
"As the workforce becomes more diverse and mobile, the traditional physical office will need to be reconfigured to meet their needs. Organizations don’t need a large budget to completely overhaul their office — incremental changes can really have an impact."
Small businesses can include photos and videos of their office space in recruitment campaigns. They might convince Employees Working from Home to swing by the office every now and then! 40% of home workers took action based on sponsored search results (like on Google, Yahoo or Bing) in the past year, according to AudienceSCAN data.
"It’s important for employers to be aware of these trends as they all play a significant role in helping recruit and retain top talent. By implementing strategies that help improve employees’ productivity, health, and happiness, organizations can create a culture where employees enjoy going to work."