2017 has been a year full of technology advancements from the rise of the virtual assistant to the growing use of smart devices leaving many workplaces in the midst of a transformation that will only keep gaining momentum over the next year.
Looking to 2018, BrightHR Head of Digital Experience Anneka Burnett provides a summary of the five workplace trends that may reshape the workplace as we know it and could reap major rewards in employee engagement and productivity for businesses that get it right.
1. Artificial intelligence will revolutionise HR
In 2017, one of the hottest topics in the HR world was the rise of artificial intelligence in the workplace. Almost every new device will contain AI over the next few years and it has already become a big business with Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri making this a phenomenon that it is for today rather than tomorrow. At BrightHR, we have adapted the Amazon Alexa for an office environment by considering the everyday needs of business owners and HR professionals so it can answer queries related to employee such as, “Alexa, ask BrightHR is Bob on holiday on the 23rd of January?.” AI is great for businesses that don’t have an in-house HR function or HR professional in their workplace to deal with absence related issues. For businesses that do have HR professionals, AI can improve mundane HR tasks such as absence management by increasing speed and providing greater consistency in answering frequently asked questions. With the fast-paced and ever-evolving world of business going through huge technological changes, it is important that businesses employ and effectively apply the power of AI.
2. Companies will offer more remote work options
Working remotely at home, at a local cafe or anywhere else is a growing trend in the UK, especially with the millennial workforce. One of the key drivers of this is VPN technology which makes it easy to access work systems from anywhere. As a result of this businesses can recruit internationally so it’s not surprising that many start-ups are built with remote teams. From a business perspective, it also opens up another pool of candidates and by offering remote work options it’s a way to retain current employees and boost job satisfaction through a better work-life balance. With video conferencing systems improving every year, this trend will only continue to grow.
3. GDPR will overhaul how businesses process and handle data
On-going data hacks and breaches at large businesses such as Uber has made businesses aware of the risks associated with sharing personal information. From the 25th of May 2018 the European General Data Protection Regulations, or ‘GDPR’, are set to come in to force across Europe. GDPR seeks to enhance the rights of individuals and make changes to existing data practices, including removing the ability to charge a fee to provide access to information unless the request is manifestly unfounded or excessive. Businesses should be prepared for a massive overhaul of their current processes and how they handle data by reviewing their current practices and documentation in the first quarter of 2018 to access whether this is in line with GDPR. The potential consequences for not complying are costly, with maximum fines of 20 million or 4% of annual turnover. Experts have said that Uber would have been fined £17.75m for their recent data breach under GDPR.
4. Live-work spaces will continue to pop up around the UK
The latest property/workplace trend is the live-work space that allows entrepreneurs, small businesses and professionals to live and work under one roof and to be to part of a likeminded group happy to share their space and facilities. Some of the big positives of this arrangement are that it reduces peoples commute time to seconds, avoids huge transport costs while also addressing concerns about work-life balance. The rise of people in self-employment is said to be fuelling demand for live-work properties with the number of Britons working from home rising from 800,000 to 4.2 million during the last decade.
5. Sleeping at work will become less of a taboo
Sleep deprivation is one of the biggest causes of stress and can have a negative impact on a employees health and productivity. To correct this, tech giants such as Google have installed in-company sleep pods, resting rooms and snooze friendly policies. Understandably many businesses do not have the luxury of being able to step away from their desk for an hours sleep but lunch hours and tea breaks can be a great time for employees to have a quick nap in a quiet dark room.