The Hot 3 Work trends of 2018

1. Working from home declines as a focus on financial and mental health agendas increase

Over the past few years, there has been a push for flexibility in the workplace. Flexibility can come in the form of the relaxing of strict work hours to being able to work from home. Research conducted by large corporations has shown that most employees are more engaged with their work when they can interact with colleagues in a physical environment. This interaction has been proven to enhance creativity and help build relationships and company culture.

The idea behind flexibility in the workplace was meant to increase productivity. The research above has led to companies shifting their focus on workplace flexibility to Financial and mental health agendas in the workplace.

There is a high percentage of Australians who are living paycheck to paycheck. A report conducted by ME Industry Super Funds identifies that 1 in 2 Australians is spending all of their income earned each month. Student loan debts are also on the increase, the national student debt bill has increased to $50 billion. The effects of these debts and way of living have affected a workers mental health and productivity at work.

In recognition of the financial stress, employers are working with staff to ease financial burdens that increase productivity loss. These initiatives can include mental health counsellors and financial mentoring and advice. These services are shown to reduce about five missed days of work per year and 12 days of unproductive work days.
For more information about mental awareness in the workplace, please visit PwC’s website to get more insight.

2. The Gig Economy and the barriers it faces in today's labour market

The growth of the multinational gig economy is ready to pick up the pace again. With this comes the increasing introduction of regulations to protect its workers.

While companies such as Uber and Airtasker are open about their growth due to the lack of government regulations, there is a push from the Australian government and Unions to implement new legislation and regulations which reflect on how workers are classified.

The reclassification of workers from contractors to employees gives workers the same level of rights and protections as a typical employee. This includes the same protections of the minimum wage, holiday pay and allowances according to industry award rates. Other provisions include career development and progression paths within the company.

For the general labour market, state governments are introducing new legislation. Company licensing schemes are being introduced to individual states. Licenses keep companies in check when operating with the provision of labour. This new legislation will be highly regulated with harsh penalties to keep gig economy operators in check.

3. Artificial intelligence embeds itself in the workplace future

One of the hottest topics around workplaces is Artificial Intelligence (AI).  

It is evident that AI will directly affect how we do our work and will almost infiltrate every industry over the coming years. Both services and products will be affected. Already we see companies such as Google, Facebook and Amazon focusing on creating smarter, faster and more convenient products and services which will support all types of companies.

At the top of the list of A.I. products are Chatbots. Chatbots are software programs run by AI. They assist in the facilitation of online text conversations. These bots are predicted to save companies millions of dollars in salary expenditures and efficiencies.

The use of chatbots is on the increase and is anticipated to hit 57% of workplaces by 2021. Some other uses for chatbots will include personal assistants, On Demand company support, data mining, sorting product information and internal employee documentation.  

With increasing technology developments, adoption of AI will become common work practice.