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Mar 09

Kate Gardner

2017 workplace trends: how the work environment is changing


Technology and interactivity are increasingly shaping how people work as well as where, according to research carried out by ‘Quality of life services’ provider Sodexo into the business trends emerging in 2017. “As work becomes more about adding value than cranking handles and pushing food carts, organisations are learning that communicating their values is imperative as they work to motivate and engage employees,” the resulting report states. “And with a growing understanding that many subtle factors influence employee performance, smart companies are looking to disciplines such as space design, wellness, intergenerational learning and corporate responsibility to gain an edge.”

Sodexo’s key findings were:

Organisations are seeking speed plus stability

The ultimate goal is responding to new conditions, all while keeping employees agile, too, with help from disciplines like mindfulness.

Collaborative workspaces take co-working to a new level

Organisations are not only sharing physical space and resources but also intentionally structuring interactions across boundaries to encourage problem-solving approaches that combine strengths to address complex issues.

Relocating workers leads to inclusive leadership

The sheer spread and scale of the relocation of workers, in both emerging and developed economies, is driving new opportunities to demonstrate inclusive leadership by evaluating skill needs, availability, location benefits and effective cultural integration.

Robots are increasingly used instead of humans

Robots have been in the workplace for years, and advances in artificial intelligence have led to organisations increasingly using them for jobs that humans used to perform.

Older workers encourage a rethink of employee learning

As people continue to live and work longer, all workers are forcing companies to think differently about hierarchical and traditional employee learning. Employees of all generations are teaching one another from their own experiences and driving a new culture of personal development.

Personal branding is taking on a new life

Employers are looking to leverage the power of employees’ personal brands for the good of the company.

Surroundings are key to a happy workforce

From physical space and technology to virtual work considerations and amenities, design thinking can help optimise employees’ experiences so that the environment supports employees both within and outside of the workplace.

Employees are hungry for positive change

The 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) call on organisations to work together and with government toward a shared vision. The way businesses interpret and adapt practices will affect not only the progress toward meeting the SDGs but also the needs of a change-determined workforce.

We need to better understand millennials

Grasping the unique set of attributes that this generation brings to the work table gives us a view into the future of the workplace.

We need to move beyond ‘fixing’ or preventing health problems

The current approach to wellness features the workplace as a potential catalyst for healthy living for employees, their families and the community at large.



Kate Gardner

Health and Safety Trainer at International Workplace

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