Future of Work: The Top 5 Trends to Track

May 17, 2023
The Top 5 Trends to Track in the Future of Work

In the past few years, companies and employees have completely changed the way they work. It’s becoming increasingly clear that in the face of increasing technological changes, the adoption of advanced data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI), ongoing geographical disruptions, and the current economic headwinds, continued changes in workplace trends are not static. 

But are organizations aware of or even prepared for the top five workplace trends that have the potential to impact the future of work? Gigster’s Cory Hymel recently did an interview with Authority Magazine and pointed out directions to alert companies and assist them in preparing to build more progressive workplaces.

Table of Content

The Rapidly Changing Workplace 

Organizations need talented people more than talented people need organizations. With technology changing the way workers meet, share knowledge, or plan tasks and projects and employees demanding flexibility to focus on their work-life balance, companies can no longer wait and see what happens. 

According to a study by Microsoft titled “The Next Great Disruption Is Hybrid Work – Are you Ready?” at least 54% of Generation Z workers, mostly aged between 18 and 25 years, were considering resigning. A similar survey in UK and Ireland showed 38% of employees planned to quit within six months.

In the US, research showed 42% of workers would leave if their employer failed to offer remote working options. As employees begin driving conversation and decisions on how, when, where, and who gets work done and the technologies that make it happen, companies must align themselves with the following five emerging workplace trends and reimagine the office space to build resilience for potential future disruption.      

What Does the Future of Work Mean? 

The future of work is a term used to describe the changes expected to happen in the world of work in the coming years. Several factors, including technological advances, globalization, and demographic changes, are driving these changes.

The future of work is not set in stone, but it's evident that significant changes are on the horizon regarding the way we work. By comprehending the trends that are molding the future of work, we can equip ourselves for the challenges and opportunities that are yet to come.

1. Remote and Hybrid Work

A 2021 McKinsey report on the future of work stated that several businesses, including Google and Dropbox, have permanently migrated to decentralized, remote, or hybrid work models after the pandemic. Hybrid and remote work models are expected to continue trending wildly in the tech sector because a new cohort of Generation Z workers seeking employers who understand their career path is worth more than a paycheck. 

Remote work not only offers workers flexibility and autonomy but also saves companies money in terms of utilities, office space, and other expenses to the tune of up to 30% for middle-sized IT service companies. 

However, we expect to see hybrid work environments fail enterprises. While some options of remote work are becoming the norm, too many companies are choosing to keep one foot in the office door with hybrid work arrangements. This creates a divided workforce where the in-office employees are seen as the “real” workers and the remote employees become irrelevant. Expect more companies to reevaluate their hybrid work policies as the future of work continues and organizations start to realize the negative side effects of splitting their workforce.  

2. Automation and AI

The advent of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning has taught us that a significant percentage of jobs can be automated and will continue to cause immense scale upheaval in workforce trends in the coming years. According to estimates by the IMF, automation, which accelerated after the pandemic, will displace over 85 million workers by 2025. Most companies are expected to decrease their workforce over that time and increase technical integration such that machines and humans will share work responsibilities almost equally.   

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As automation takes up repetitive jobs and displaces some workers from existing jobs, a World Economic Forum (WEF) report states that technology integration will simultaneously create over 97 million jobs, mainly in AI, software development, engineering, and content creation. As this trend evolves, companies will turn routing jobs over to machines. To remain relevant, human workers will have to reskill and up-skill to oversee machines in tasks like maintenance, reasoning, decision-making, data analysis, and creation.  

3. Gig Economy and Freelance Developers

Thanks to global internet penetration, the gig economy has ballooned exponentially and covers almost every facet of the service industry. Emailing and telecommunication have brought people together no matter how far apart they are geographically and created flexibility, causing the traditional workforce to undergo significant changes. While staying at home and minimizing contact during the pandemic may have accelerated the gig economy’s growth, a new generation of workers no longer fancies the 9-to-5 work model. 

A recent MasterCard report predicts the gig economy will grow by 17% to over $445 billion in 2023. The success of this trend will see an introduction of labor rights, benefits, and worker protections in the sector as companies view freelancers and temporary contractors with unique skills as more viable than constantly hiring and retaining permanent employees.

The need for software development outsourcing will continue to soar among companies and startups that specialize in custom software development. By outsourcing to platforms like Gigster, organizations will be taking advantage of the company’s expertise, increased efficiency and productivity, cost savings, access to specialized skills, faster turnaround times, and increased flexibility and scalability.

4. Lifelong Learning and Skill Development

According to a WEF report, the increase in automation, technical developments, and the dynamic nature of the evolving workspace means that over 50% of employees will require learning new skills and remaining engaged in lifelong learning to retain their current positions for the next five years. The business of employee reskilling and up-skilling will become a critical imperative as only companies that invest in their human capital and have workers with the right skills and competencies will remain competitive in the marketplace.   

5. Employee Well-being and Mental Health

The hectic modern lifestyle has been blamed for the rise in anxiety, burnout, and depression. Remote work can increase the feelings of isolation while also making it more difficult for employees to disconnect from work. It can also make it difficult for employers to monitor the well-being of employees they don’t have face time with every day.

Calls for better employee health and self-care are increasing even as a Future Workplace HR Sentiment Survey 2021 shows that 68% of HR leaders believe employee well-being and mental health are a high priority. As we advance, simple counseling programs for employees will not manage. We should expect policies and programs that foster holistic employee health as companies experiment with more sustainable working methods. 

Workplace wellness trends of the future include self-care programs like stress management, meditation classes, massages, financial literacy, and management life-coaching sessions. The right to disconnect legislation in France that empowers employees to avoid work-related communications during non-work hours is taking shape even as other countries experiment with a four-day working week.

Final Thought

The ongoing digital transformation has created a massive shift in the world of work across all sectors and is already shaping the future of work. Trends are on the rise, and technology is adding more incentive to it, such that we hope to experience tremendous momentum as newer demographics start working together.

As the key trends grow to impact the future of work, organizations must ask themselves whether they want to become part of the change or play catch-up.

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