Workplace Changes: How Are You Staying Ahead of the Curve?

 

Workplace changes are coming at us hard and fast. Here are 3 trends I’m tracking that signal the future of work and how to not only survive but thrive in the workplace of tomorrow.

 

Trend 1:  THE OFFICE

Law Firms Loosen Up (Source: CBRE/Huff Post)

  • Law firms are reducing square footage by 27% on average.
  • 29 million sq. ft. of law firm leases are set to expire between 2018 and 2022
  • More than 70% of these expirations will include space contraction.

Strategies being adopted or considered by law firms include:

  • Shift from two-sized offices (typically 15’ X 15’ for partners and 10’ X 15‘ for associates) to glass-fronted, one-sized offices with seniority recognized by location, not size.
  • Less emphasis on grand, ceremonial client spaces and more emphasis on functional meeting spaces (see above right).
  • Orienting the reception area around hospitality, with concierge services and hosted events.
  • Transitioning cafeteria space from a place to eat to a place to socialize, in a prominent area along a window line.
  • Creating smaller, on-demand meeting rooms with interactive technology scattered throughout the practice area.
  • Adopting a paperless file storage strategy.

 

Apple’s New “Pacific” Chair Reflects a Rethink of Work (Source: Fast CoDesign)

  • Apple became the first customer for the Pacific Chair (12,000 ordered)
  • For younger generations, work represents who they know and how they socialize, offices are starting to have a more residential vibe. (NOTE: to me, the Pacific chair looks like an office chair, no more, no less but who am I to argue with Jony Ive)
  • Offices are also being designed to reflect how millennials see themselves: Not as office drones, but creative types with side hustles and Instagram followers.
  • Companies want offices to look creative and make workers feel like they’re part of a creative organization.
  • #Influencers don’t clock in. They make #impact from a lounge chair, not the confines of a cubicle.

Read on below for more on the Paperless Office and why in today’s work environment, it is CRITICAL to become a “Lifelong Learner.”

 

Trend 2:  THE PAPERLESS OFFICE (Source: ZDNet)

Workfront conducted a survey in 2017 of over 2000 workers to determine what the US office will look like in 5 years.

  • 15% of the work day is currently spent dealing with email
  • US workers have an average of 199 unopened emails at any given time.
  • Of the 68 emails received per day, 21 are junk, and 27 demand an answer or action.
  • 20% say email will no longer be used as a primary collaboration tool in the future
  • 31% say collaboration software will eliminate most conference calls.
  • 28% believe printers will become obsolete because everything will be digital.
  • 50% say mobile phones will become the mobile office
  • 28% believe fixed desk space will become a thing of the past.
  • The average worker works from home one day per week.

 

Trend 3:  THE FUTURE BELONGS TO CURIOUS, LIFE-LONG LEARNERS

Per the Harvard Business Review, fundamental human capabilities such as curiosity, imagination and leadership are becoming more important in the workplace.

Growth Mindset

  • Companies want workers at all levels to exhibit a “growth mindset” – without it, no promotions.
  • Employees, similarly, expect companies to foster ongoing learning by providing training, online courses, conferences etc.

Both Ray Dalio and Mark Cuban have written about how their success came from a commitment to life-long learning.

 

The No-Collar Workforce (Source: Deloitte)

 

 

The rise of automation, artificial intelligence, and cognitive technologies requires on-going training

  •  Organizations are rewiring talent management for the new hybrid human-machine workforce simultaneously retraining augmented workers and pioneering new HR processes for managing virtual workers.
  • The Deloitte report features case studies, perspectives from industry luminaries, and insights from Deloitte professionals. The full Tech Trends 2018 report can be found here.

 

Retail Workers: What’s In Store For 2018? (Source: PYMNTS/ US News and World Report)

Ringing up goods is giving way to customer service specialization and service offerings that digital retailers can’t match.

  • Best Buy employees are leaving stores and arriving on customers’ doorsteps to help them pick the right products for their homes.
  • Walmart workers are handpicking customers’ grocery orders as they move to fill digitally sent grocery lists that will be delivered curbside.

A typical retail worker has seen her/his commission rate rise to 6% from half a percent, but hourly wages have dropped from $19 to $14.

  •  The net result, with fewer shoppers in stores, is more active competition among workers for sales.
  • As many as 60% of retail jobs will evolve into new types of roles.
  • Jobs for workers will get more interesting and be more impactful on the company’s business.
  • But there will be fewer entry-level jobs and there will be more pressure to perform.

 

Marketing Skills You Need to Remain Attractive to Employers (Source: Adweek)

A recent study by Richard J. Vaughan at the University of St. Francis examined marketing job listings in the top six metro areas and found:

  •  39% required big data skills—and this number is rapidly rising.

Those who enthusiastically begin a new journey of learning will be the most sought after. Examples of learning include:

  • Reading the latest analytics news
  • Reading books
  • Taking courses and familiarizing yourself with data tools.

 

Bottom Line:  The only thing certain is the inevitability of change. And the only way to stay ahead of the curve is to commit to being a curious, life-long learner.

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