Workplace Trends That Impact Us

Change is one aspect of life that’s a constant.  When you think about it, very little stays exactly the same in our society.  Things evolve in one way or another, some fast and others very slowly and incrementally.  Along those lines, the workplace is always changing too.  Over the years, things have changed in many ways in the workplace, making it different than it was even a half generation ago.

Today, the workplace continues to evolve. I recently came across a piece from US News that discusses trends at work that will impact us in our day-to-day professional lives as we try to make and save money. we try to Here are the trends they identified, along with my comments:

  1. Flexibility Abounds.  I agree with this, as I’ve seen companies show a bit more flexibility in this over the years. In past days, it would have been unheard of to offer flexible hours or even occasional work from home arrangements. Today, such situations are not at all uncommon, and even the norm in certain organizations. This is a trend I like!  One thing that wasn’t noted in the article, however, is that flexibility goes both ways here. Companies often expect more flexibility as well, as technology makes you more accessible.  With smartphones, email can be checked anywhere and at almost any time. If you’re not doing it, your colleague might be currying favor with the boss by being flexible. Anyway, when you net it all together, I think flexibility can be a good thing when managed well.
  2. More People Are Working For Themselves.  To some degree, the barriers of entry to entrepreneurship have been lowered.  Get a domain name, host your site somewhere, and you’re in business!  No need to have a storefront! I think it’s important for people to focus on the most important sources of revenue first, but the way things are trending, I think that the pursuit of multiple streams of income - even if you’re trying to make extra money on the side - can be important. Plus, lifetime employment is a relic of a prior generation.
  3. Not Sticking With One Job For a Lifetime.  I know people of a generation older than me that spent 25+ years working for the same organization. Among the long-term friends I have, I can only think of one person who has kept the same job for the last 10 years. Most others have had at least 2 during that time. Some have had 5 or more during that time frame, easily.  This is just the way it is now. Personally, I like long-term loyalty and am not opposed to the concept, but the velocity of change in business has just increased significantly it would seem.
  4. Work-Life Balance is a Priority  I agree with the article, in that more workers – particularly younger ones – are expecting work-life balance. I have seen that in my experience, working with a guy 25 years older than me at a prior job who seemed shocked that any guy would want to leave work by 5:00pm to see his young child.  I have a perspective that’s perhaps more aligned with GenY workers than even my those in my own group, Gen X.  Anyway, I do think this is important to workers these days. However, with a tougher job market within the last few years than in prior decades, employers have the power back in their corner. It’s harder to make such demands on employers when they see tons of qualified candidates wanting jobs with limited openings.  So, while many of us value balance (while still working very hard, of course), I’m not sure that now is the time for pushing boundaries for many people.
  5. Personal Branding is All the Rage.  I tend to agree with the article. Personally, I think Linkedin has really taken this to a new level. Your online professional brand is right there, in a centralized place for anybody to see.  Also, your social media activity can be viewed online quite easily.  The tools are available to build a great personal brand, but they’re also there to derail your personal brand. Make wise decisions!
  6. Long-Term Unemployment Could be Here to Stay.  Have to agree on this one, unquestionably. Things do change, but at least for the the foreseeable future, there will probably be plenty of people unemployed for 6 months or longer – which is the timeframe that is used to determine long-term unemployment.  The implication here, from what I see, is to ratchet up your job performance, manage your career more carefully, and maintain a more robust emergency fund. As I’ve stated before, people should keep a bigger emergency fund than the 3 to 6 months that’s typically suggested.

My Questions for You:

What’s your take on these changes? I’ve given my view on each, including some implications – what do you think?

Are there any other workplace trends that you’ve seen?

Comments

  1. says

    Although these trends seem positive, many companies discard older workers in favor of cheaper younger workers. It used to be when you were in your 40s or 50s you were set. Now, you may end up unemployed or worse not employable! I started to see a trend over 20 yeas ago and followed a different route. The only way to avoid this trend is make yourself valuable to the company or organization.

  2. says

    It’s hard for me to really comment on this trend because I’m entering the teaching profession and teaching is a career that some choose to embark upon later in life, or stick it out 30+ years right out of college. Tenure still reigns in that profession, so the longer you’ve been teaching, the less likely you are to lose your job. And, the newer the employee, the likelier to lose your job (no matter how valuable you are – though this might change in the near future with performance stats coming into play).

    That being said though, I think that these listed trends appear more often in the corporate job sector and I agree with your thoughts.

  3. says

    I’m hearing plenty of Millenials talking about needed life/work balance. They aren’t afraid to tell their bosses how much it means to them too. I think they observed their own parents working long hours/weekends with no loyalty from their companies. Some companies still expect their workers to almost live at work, but these are well known to burn out their young workers. They intend to replace them as soon as they can’t keep up. I’m hoping Mellenials will be able to change the workplace for the better!

  4. says

    I agree that LinkedIn is becoming a force (or trend), or at least I’m rediscovering it of late. The various groups you can subscribe to provide interaction, networking and connections with other professionals in your chosen field.

    As for number 4, the power of the employer depends on the region and profession. In some areas, the negotiating balance is firmly on the side of the skilled (and scarce) professional.

  5. says

    Today’s environment is much different than yesteryears….. Wish more companies gave the option to work 40 hours in 4 days – having some people work M-Thurs and others Tues-Fri, 10 hours a day, not to disrupt the work flow. Working 4 days and having 3 off makes a world of a difference IMO.

  6. says

    Great list – those were all points I saw in a lot of businesses while I was working my cubicle job. Although my company did not keep up with the times. What would be the opposite of flexibility – rigid? And obviously I love #2 – buying my $15 domain name (www.budgetinginthefunstuff.com) 18 months ago may have been the best career decision of my life, lol.

  7. says

    I think it’s important for employers and employees not to get stuck thinking in only one way. I know a lot of people who have worked their way up and are now in executive positions, who hold on to the traditional way of doing things simply because that’s all they know.

    Unfortunately, they will fail to stay competitive and lose many good employees that way. Also, workers who fail to consider these trends can find themselves obsolete very quickly.

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