“New year, new me,” the infamous motto of countless individuals at the beginning of each year. Individuals look to the new year as a blank slate to start over, to implement new ideas for self-improvement or to make benchmark goals for themselves. These new ideas and goals usually go along with general social trends, such as losing weight, eating healthy, improving self-care, traveling etc. Companies, too, tend to use the new year as a reset and follow general office trends for the year. According to experts, 2019 will be a year where the importance of company culture and revising current culture to be more employee-friendly, will become more of a priority.
Overall Company Culture
This is the year Generation Z will really be entering offices. Millennials are known to care about office culture, and Gen Z looks to be no different. The strict corporate atmosphere is not as popular as it once was. Today, people are leaning toward a more relaxed workplace, an office with friendship and comraderie with coworkers, a company with fun office outings and places with a generally “hip” office space. The new generation of employees and more experienced generations will be pushing companies to consider making more up-to-date and employee friendly policies and revisions to office culture.
Working at Home vs In-the-office
Companies allowing employees to work from home or work remotely has slowly become the norm in many industries, with over 50 percent of businesses adopting this trend. With almost everything we need online, the need for full-time in-office employees is not always a priority for businesses. Experts say in 2019 this trend will continue; however, reports say many people who are solely working from home report being lonely during the day. With companies on opposite sides of the spectrum of being full-time, in-office or full-time, out-of-office, this need may lead to companies meeting somewhere in the middle. Some organizations are now considering having in-office days once or twice a week to give employees the satisfaction of seeing co-workers face-to face. This will improve the dissatisfaction of workers who solely work from home, but it may also lead to team building and fostering closer relationships with co-workers with face-to-face conversations. Happy employees lead to more focused and productive practices around the office, making finding that healthy balance of in-office and out-of-office time on the to-do list for many companies in 2019.
Along with this middle ground of in-office work, companies are looking to make their culture focus more on work-life balance. Employees report that stress in the workplace is the largest contributor to their low overall well-being and is one of the most unsatisfying aspects of working in an office. Making employees feel valued is one of the most important factors in employees’ longevity at a company. The phrase that comes to mind is some employees “work to live,” while others “live to work.” The realization that comes with this phrase may be causing some companies to change their tune this year. With Millennials and now, Generation Z, entering the workplace, you can expect to see companies adopting more work-life fluidity. This means it will be more acceptable for employees to run “life errands” during work hours, work on a more flexible schedule or companies being more understanding about life events that may come up during the year. This does not mean companies will be accepting of employees being less productive. If anything, it means employees will need to find themselves more focused when they are in the office to get their work done as expected. With this new-found flexibility, companies will still expect the same amount of productivity and quality of work from employees because, if anything, technology is pushing us to work faster. The technological advances may work in favor of the work-life balance trend. Employees who are generally happier and know their work flexibility, will be likely to work more efficiently when they need to be present in the office. This establishes the office space as a productive workplace, and employees are able to look forward to their personal lives without feeling trapped.
In previous years, businesses had the challenge of adapting for their millennial staff. Now, the time has come to find a happy medium for the needs of experienced generations, Millennials and Gen Z. 2019 looks to be another year of company experimentation to find what makes their workers happiest, while still keeping standards high.