2016 is shaping up to be a bellwether year, if forecasts from prognosticators merit any credence.
Such trends as wellness initiatives, workplace flexibility and the rethinking of office space are going to accelerate and perhaps dominate the corporate landscape in the year to come. Or so says an outlook piece from Staples Advantage.
Staples based its predictions on qualitative and quantitative materials, drawing upon surveys it has commissioned and its ongoing feedback from its extensive client base.
So, with no further introduction, here are the big five for 2016 from Staples:
Staples thinks employers are going to zero in on wellness program design and results in 2016. They’ve had enough experience to know intuitively that wellness initiatives can accomplish the double aim of a healthier, happier workforce and lower health care costs. Now, it’s time to fine-tune these programs so that true metrics can be established and outcomes can be iterative.
“Employers will invest in wellness initiatives that power employee productivity and help control health care costs, as employee burnout erodes productivity and rising health care costs continue to chip away at the bottom line. At a time when 66 percent of employees claim burnout is eroding their productivity, wellness efforts that focus on physical and mental wellness enhance employee health and productivity,” Staples says.
In its forecast, Staples addresses an often-overlooked body of workers: freelancers, who comprise an ever larger portion of the workforce. Freed by health care reform from the bondage of employer-sponsored health coverage, this segment is now growing as more employers embrace flexible work options.
Flexible schedules have been shown to make people happier, and employers who integrate more freelancers into their workflow benefit by reducing benefits costs and reconfiguring workspaces, thereby cutting real estate overhead.
“Desire for workplace flexibility will continue to drive the freelance economy. Among part-time freelancers, nearly half acknowledged they would quit their primary job to freelance full time to achieve more work flexibility,” Staples reports.
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The space race
Corporate real estate will be high on the agenda of many cutting-edge employers in 2016. First, they will be looking to “right-size” space to accommodate a more mobile workforce through such tactics as hot desking and hoteling.
Second, they will be responding to the views being expressed by employees to work in an environment that enhances productivity.