It’s almost hard to believe that we’ve already entered the 2020s, but with a new decade comes a chance to reflect on everything you’ve learned over the last ten years, and this is no different for business owners. More than any period in modern memory, the 2010s disrupted the way we work, paving the way for the millennial workforce to take control. From offering attractive benefits to giving employees the freedom to travel on the job, the changes of the last decade almost certainly had a drastic impact on the way your office is run today.
Increased focus on company culture
“Company culture” became a buzzword at the tail-end of the decade, and an increasing amount of employers began to realise that the new workforce sees work perks as an incentive to apply for or ignore a job advert. In fact, Breathe HR’s Culture Economy Report found that poor company culture costs the UK economy around £23.6 billion every year, placing a huge onus on ensuring that businesses’ corporate philosophies were perfect.
Getting your business’s culture right required exploring your brand’s values, and working out how they could tie in with what millennials actually wanted in a workplace. For example, Landmark reported that the emerging workforce was more interested in Continuing Professional Development (CPD) instead of sticking to the same responsibilities in the same role. One way to invest in your employees’ professional growth is to provide the right skills training. This will prepare them for the challenges ahead once they get promoted in the near future.
Enterprises of all sizes recognised this, taking efforts to invest in their staff. Online retail giant Amazon even announced it would spend more than $700 million over six years in order to retrain over 100,000 of its existing employees. This hints that, even in the future, employee investment is crucial for sustained success.
Boost in corporate wellness
Alongside the focus on getting the company culture right, more and more businesses looked at ensuring that employees were okay outside of the workplace. Corporate wellness really took off around the world over the last decade but, in the UK, it was found that only 45% of companies offered some form of health-focused programme. It was then found that the average number of annual working days lost to absent or unproductive staff rose from 25 to 30, which encouraged more business owners to invest in wellness.
This trend didn’t just relate to the physical wellbeing of staff, but their mental health as well. Corporate wellness strategies such as offering health and mindfulness classes like yoga or pilates, or even simply offering fruit or protein bars in the office can all go some way towards achieving this. And while these benefit staff members by boosting both their engagement and performance in the office, it also provides the companies who offer it with some excellent PR opportunities. Employees at Irish digital strategy giant Accenture, for example, have access to trained in-house counsellors, who can provide support with any issues they may have around stress, anxiety and depression.
Whether you freelance, or have been working at the same company for the entirety of the last decade, one thing all workers will have noticed is their increased ability to telecommute. According to statistics from Global Workplace Analytics, there has been a 173% increase in the number of people working remotely—whether from home, in a serviced office or at a coffee shop—since 2005. In fact, 70% of global office workers do so at least once a week.
Thanks in no small part to the improvements made in wireless internet technology, this has allowed businesses to improve their staff’s work/life balance, encouraging employees to maximise their productivity in an environment in which they feel comfortable working. The GWA survey also noted that up to 90% of staff are interested in remote working on a two-to-three day per-week basis, suggesting that telecommuting will have a profound impact on office culture in the decades to come.