3 Workplace Trends Coming to an Office Near You

Recently, Perkbox made a series of HR predictions around workplace trends likely to arise throughout the year. Looking back, many of these came to fruition. We saw millennials turn into a much less misunderstood generation than previously, people analytics became an increasingly important asset for HR decision-making, with mental wellbeing turning into a key theme for the World Economic Forum at Davos.

So we thought we would do this all over again this year!

What are we expecting to be the main trends coming to your workplace any time soon? And more importantly, how can we address (or embrace) them to secure the best for our staff?

Let’s find out!

1. Time to tackle the presenteeism epidemic

Presenteeism is an issue creating an increasing financial burden on companies and costing the UK economy a staggering average of £77bn/year when combined with the costs of absenteeism. The CIPD has reported on the scale of the problem, showcasing that over the last 12 months, 86 percent of UK employees have observed this phenomenon in their organization – directly or indirectly. Reduced productivity and spreading illnesses to others in the office were amongst the most obvious effects reported as a result. A conscious effort to shift this trend will be required to tackle this issue.

Attempts were already seen last year with policies such as ‘flexible working’ entering the mainstream, aiming to improve work-life balance., According to a report by the International Working Group, more than two-thirds of global employees enjoyed this practice at least once a week in 2018, and over 50% did so for at least half of their working week. But this in itself isn’t enough to tackle the Presenteeism epidemic. Some people may suffer from Presenteeism more now that they know their boss isn’t always aware of what they’re up to (working remotely).

Investing heavily in mental health initiatives such as EAPs, mental health first aiders, counseling, and online GPs for staff will be a good way of pushing for more ways to tackle this issue, encouraging employees to seek help when needed. Examples of companies ahead of this trend include Innocent Drinks, who give all their employees a free gym membership enabling them to enjoy a proper break over lunch or after work. At the same time, Netflix has an unlimited vacation scheme in place offering new moms and dads up to one year paid time off (a rare thing, particularly in the US).

2. The rise of the eco-workplace

Having seen the war on plastic hotting up significantly this last year, we also predict the rise of eco-workplaces turning mainstream. We saw companies such as Wetherspoons and All Bar One banning plastic straws in 2018, while supermarkets like Iceland pledged to be plastic-free by 2023. We anticipate ‘green thinking’ playing a pivotal role in company culture with initiatives such as a
‘Bring Your Own Reusable Bottle (BYORB)’, green electricity, and paperless offices are becoming the norm. If you haven’t yet done so, thinking about introducing recycling bins and replacing plastic cups and cutlery with ceramic and stainless steel versions is a good starting point. Other examples include incentivizing green commuting (walking, biking, carpooling, or taking public transit to the office), having a paperless office, and creating monthly green challenges. At Perkbox, we’ve also found setting up our own #being_green Slack channel to share all our ideas on how to make our office more environmentally friendly really useful!

3. Creating a culture of psychological safety

We also expect to see a movement by employers toward a culture of psychological safety. This will be key in counteracting imposter syndrome as it reports epidemic levels in UK workplaces for the first time, estimated to have affected 62% of UK employees.

Perhaps we will see a movement similar to #MeToo for ‘impostor syndrome’ as the concept gains public awareness and enforcement.

Tips to help employees overcome imposter syndrome at work include sharing your own personal experiences as managers – showing that you also have your highs and lows, your strengths and weaknesses and that no knowledge is absolute, as well as providing support for employees to open to their fears through tools such as Employee Assistance Programmes and in-house mental health first aiders.

Before co-founding Perkbox, the UK’s fastest-growing employee engagement platform, Chieu Cao established himself as a tech marketing force to be reckoned with, leading initiatives for brands including Microsoft, Amazon and Yahoo. 

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