It’s the Future, Man! 2019 Workplace Trends To Watch

I spent the last few days binging Future Man on Hulu. I won’t geek out too hard about the show in this introduction but I will say this one thing. The beauty of this show is that it does a great job of thinking about the future in a cultural context. It really made me think about how the workplace culture of today will shape the future of the workplace. In honor of the show, I thought it would be fun to make some predictions about the future. Here are the top workplace trends to keep an eye on in 2019!

Robots…Robots Everywhere

We saw the whispers of AI in the workplace turn to reality in 2018. We’re really seeing automation taking form and some industries have been able to automate complete jobs. It was a pretty scary moment in history for people who felt like their jobs might be in danger with the rise of automation. In 2018, it seemed that the “Robot Takeover Panic” slowed. The reason? Workers began to realize that automation doesn’t always have to be the scary ‘job killer’ that we make it out to be. In fact, using AI to streamline can actually be a job creator. The perfect balance is actually a mix of human intelligence and artificial intelligence (as demonstrated in the Microsoft line in 2018).

2019 will be be the year of ‘finding the mix’. Companies who haven’t already adapted to include AI in everyday operations will begin to fall behind. This will lead to more robots doing simple tasks and more human workers handling the higher level thinking. This is a partnership we can get behind!

Remote Work Solutions

Organizations who have embraced remote work rave about it. We’ve come a long way in understanding that remote work (and shorter workweeks) actually lead to higher levels of productivity. Just google “digital nomad” and you’ll see the obvious popularity of the trend. I’m 100% on board with the trend, but I don’t think it’s going to be a smooth ride to adapt on an operational level. My prediction is actually that we’ll see some bumps in the road for remote work in 2019.

Example: My Sim has been working from home since 2016 (the release of Sims 4). The problem with working from home is that my Sim keeps getting distracted and wandering off. As long as your Sim meets the Work from Home goals, he still gets paid but that doesn’t mean my Sim is contributing at the highest level possible. <–this is the crux of issue #1 but it’s not the only issue I think we’ll have to address as remote work becomes more common.

As with every great revolution, we will need to innovate solutions.

  • Employee investment in company goals will become more important. (Engagement and Investment are driving forces for productivity by operational remote workers)
  • How we manage teams will evolve
  • Using AI to manage productivity or track hours worked will become super important
  • Collaboration in the Cloud will become even more essential for the functioning of virtual teams
  • The need for virtual offices will increase (We call our Microsoft Teams Space our “virtual office”)
  • Cloud Security will continue to be key

The Workforce Is Changing

The entrance of Millennials into the workforce has certainly driven change. In fact, most of these changes are a result of trying to manage Millenial needs in a changing workforce. Millennial workers value advancement and work-life balance. As Millennial workers begin to move into organizational leadership, we see these values reflected in workplace structure changes. In 2018, there was a huge movement for a shorter workweek for eligible workers (32 hours in most cases). This is certainly a reflection of the Millennial need for work/life balance and the ability to mix tech with process (the best way to streamline). Workers in today’s environment are finding it easier to kill dead time, thus completing 40 hours of ‘work’ in a 32 hour workweek.

It’s really great that Millennials are starting to settle into and make a positive change in the corporate environment. That doesn’t mean that the evolution of the workplace will slow or stop…because:

Move over Baby Boomers and Millennials; Gen Z is entering the workforce. Generation Z (or iGen) is the generation born after Millennials (get the T from this Wiki Page). My predictions for what will happen as iGen enters the workforce are:

The technology revolution will be accelerated.

Every time a new generation enters the workforce, so every 10-ish years, they bring the technology of the age with them. The iGen generation are tech natives (even more so than Millennials). Specifically, iGen are mobile tech natives so we’ll see a bigger move toward mobile work. The use of mobile tech will be a beautiful way to help organizations mitigate remote work problems. Mobile tracking will help companies gauge what is being done and from where, while the ability to work on the go will help with access issues. Of course, we won’t immediately see this change because the iGen generation will need to be “mentored in.”

“Mentoring in” is, quite frankly, a term I just made up. Here is what it means, says I: “Mentoring in is the process by which new generations are shaped by the previous generation(s) as they move into the workplace. It is a process that is painful for all involved but it allows the new generation to reach peak contribution status. Mentoring in is the only way to fully realize workplace evolution.” Feel free to quote me!

Millennials Will Mentor and Mature

Millennials will be the generation closest to speaking the language of the iGen generation so this makes them the best mentors. Don’t worry, GenX and Boomers, this is a good thing. The best thing about this process is that Millennials will mature as they move into this role. Comically so, Millennials will probably have some of the same gripes about iGen that GenX had about Millennials (and thus, the circle of life).

But I Digress

These are just a few observations and predictions I have for the year. Who knows what will actually happen this year. One thing is for sure: this year is already speeding by! We’ve been super busy over here and hubley has undergone some pretty substantial changes. If you have some time, drop by our LinkedIn and share your 2019 predictions with us; we would love to hear them.

And if you still don’t have an intranet, check out our page and request a demo!

Ciao,

~A & M