Five workplace trends businesses should look out for in 2019

Anneka Burrett, head of digital experience at BrightHR, outlines her predictions for next year’s workplace trends

2018 has been another year full of workplace advancements, from the rise of automation tools to the cultural awareness of gender inequality and sexual misconduct in the workplace. Looking to 2019, here is 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.

1.    Apps will revolutionise human resources

In 2018, one of the hottest topics in the HR world was the rise of artificial intelligence in the workplace. Almost every new smart app or 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.

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. Smart apps will also help workplaces transform the way businesses and employees work. At BrightHR, we have launched the Blip App which revolutionises the way employers can log their timesheets by allowing employees to scan a QR code to clock in and out and log their own break times, this allows business owners to log team’s working history and see employee timesheets with ease.

2.    Companies will offer more flexible and remote working 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 flexible 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.

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3.    Diversity to influence the workplace

In 2018, Theresa May announced plans to force companies to reveal their ethnicity pay gap and the introduction of the Race at Work Charter to help people from minorities at work, which will run until 2019 as the hope is that the UK’s biggest companies, boardrooms, and senior management teams will be truly reflective of the workplaces they manage.

After the successful first year of companies reporting their gender pay gap, women will still have an important role in changing the workplace. Women currently hold 25% and 23% of roles at Google and Apple respectively and both have committed to support more women getting into the tech industry.

4.    The perks and rewards of work

When offering perks and rewards to staff, a changing workforce has brought different priorities with it. In today’s professional workplace employees see workplace perks and healthcare as a core part of what’s on offer from their workplace.

Employees are no longer coming to work just to earn a wage, they want to be happy, thrive at work and have a good work-life balance. Extra holidays, paid sick leave and performance bonuses are all at the top of preferred benefits to employees. For companies offering these perks to work are more likely to see higher staff retention and attract more applicants.

5.    Staff receive microchips to secure workplaces

Security is a big problem for all sized business and 2019 could see the introduction of employees having microchips implanted into their skin to help this. The microchips, which will also allow employees to pay for their lunch, access the certain office rooms and login into computers, are implanted underneath the skin, between the thumb and forefinger and use the same technology as contactless payments.

With 150 implants already fitted in the UK and companies in Sweden, Belgium, and the US already offering similar programmes for staff, the potential for a global rollout for this kind of technology may be imminent.

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