Top Ten Workplace Trends for 2012

Sedexo recently released their 2012 Workplace Trends report, that identifies the top ten workplace trends that will keep employees happy, motivated and productive. The trend choices are based on successful businesses own current practices regarding keeping people in the workplace satisfied. This years choices also seem to reflect the need to accommodate the influx of younger workers and their values. To better understand each trend, I wrote a brief synopsis beneath them, click here for the full report. These trends should be especially useful and relevant to those in Human Resources.

  1. “Integration of Workplace Solutions: Creating Higher Value”

Sodexo believes in order for modern businesses to achieve success, they will need to follow this simple formula for workplace integration “integrating the workplace + work style + lifestyle needs of the organization and its human capital, resulting in full engagement and maximized performance.” To put it simply, integrating different workplace, work style and lifestyle solutions for different employees will lead to more satisfied, and ultimately more productive, efficient employees.

  1. “Workplaces That Promote Sustainability”

Sustainability is a major concern both financially, and environmentally for most people in today’s world. Showing your employees and customers you are committed to helping sustain the earth, its resources, and your employees through their health and finances, will end up making your company more sustainable in the long run by creating an engaged workforce.

  1. “Inclusive Workplaces”

Perhaps evidence of the changing age and values of the current work force, having an “inclusive workplace” essentially means promoting diversity in all forms in the workplace. Of course this means including women, GLBT employees, persons with disabilities, and minorities as part of your team, but those core groups don’t define diversity alone. Having workers of all ages, and occupational backgrounds also helps add to the diversity, and value of your workforce.

  1. “It’s All About Me: Rewards and Recognition”

To put this trend simply, it’s basically just setting up rewards programs for employees. Even non-monetary rewards can work to keep employees engaged and motivated. Taking the time to recognize an employees strengths and hard-work, helps give them the drive they need to keep your company thriving.

  1. “Virtual Workforces”

One of the more straight forward trends of the list, this trend refers to businesses being more open to employing a virtual workforce. There’s many options for going about this, whether it be an alternate payment plan, paying for productivity instead of time, or a work from home situation, or both, there are options out there that can make it wok for everyone.

  1. “The Built Environment as a Driver of Employee Engagement”

A lot of research went into discovering what most of us already knew, if you put in effort to make your workplace positive, then you will increase employee engagement and thus productivity. Basically, building a positive, successful work environment will lead to happier and more engaged employees. Finally, common sense has caught up with science, or is it the other way around?

  1. “Evidence-based Space Design”

Evidence-based Space Design or EDN, has been around since the eighties and has spent the last thirty years being refined as a science. Since the hard part is already done, and the results are proven, there’s no reason not to include this information in your own workplace designs.

  1. “Quantifiable Employee Health and Wellness Initiatives”

This trend speaks to the need for health and wellness initiatives as well as the need to be able to measure them effectively. The traditional ROI metric isn’t as effective for these types of initiatives, and it may be more useful to use VOI, or value for investment. While it’s hard to know exactly how much return you are getting on the new office gym, it may be easier to measure the health and over-all performance of the employees using it. All of those things will add value to your company, and are much easier to measure than the return on your investment.

  1. “Psychological Health in the Workplace”

Sedexo names five basic elements to keeping a mentally healthy workplace, they are: employee involvement; health and safety; employee growth and development; work-life balance; and employee recognition. While there is no easy cure-all remedy for keeping your workforce psychologically healthy, if you attempt to incorporate those five elements into your workplace, that’s certainly a good start.

  1. “Flexible Workplaces”

This trend speaks for itself simply referring to a companies need to embrace a flexible work policy.  With technology where it is, more work can be done from home, or at different hours. With flexibility a common theme among the most successful businesses there’s really no reason not to adopt a flexible workplace when it allows.

All of these trends point to  new era in business. Technology, and a new demographic are helping shape the ever-changing, modern workplace. Perhaps these changes are for the better, seeing as they are working for some of the most successful businesses around. As Human Resource professionals, we must keep up with these changes, and understand why they work and why they don’t.


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