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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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?