33909355_sHR consulting firm Kushner & Company president and CEO Gary Kushner says the way we work today is impacted by trends in technological advancement, outsourcing, changing attitudes and values of workers, changing demographics and diversity, and globalization. He explains that workers today experience a much different workday because technology has blurred the lines between work and personal life. Outsourcing has replaced a big section of the workforce, and changing attitudes toward work and career mean that people look at work differently than they used to.

 

Flex-Place

Flex-place, telecommuting, or working from home is an option made possible by advances in technology. Workers can be productive from anywhere with a computer and an internet connection with collaborative software and cloud services. Business News Daily staff writer Brittney Helmrich says even small businesses benefit by offering flexible work options. They save money on overhead expenses for office space, utilities, and equipment, reduce turnover by creating more engagement with flexible work options, and attract more candidates with a flexible work options benefit.

Online jobs listing board FlexJobs analyzed job postings of 30,000 companies to compile its second annual list of the top 100 companies for remote work in 2015. Topping that list are companies including Teletech, Amazon, Kelly Services, and IBM. Coming in at a close second are companies including Dell, Xerox, Intuit, and Humana.

Global Workforce Analytics reports companies can save more than $11,000 per employee per year by implementing telework options. WorldatWork Telework Trendlines 2009 found that 79 percent of U.S. workers would like to work from home. It’s not difficult for candidates to look for companies that offer flex-place options. Will they find it as an option at your company?

 

Hot-Desking and Hoteling

The new office is no office according to professional services firm Deloitte. Their new 2015 Toronto headquarters will not have offices or assigned desks, even the managing general partner. Instead, all 3,500 employees get an assigned locker and free range of the meeting rooms and collaborative spaces in the building, and reserve a desk or meeting room when they need one, called hoteling.

An alternative form of hoteling without reserving desk or meeting space is called hot-desking, or using a workspace on a first come, first served basis. This new way of working exchanges permanently assigned spaces for collaborative spaces, enabling employers to get more use and return on investment out of their overhead space and expense. According to commercial tenant representative Cresa Partners, the usual amount of space per employee has decreased from 500-750 square feet in the 70s to 150 square feet.

 

Gamification

Rajat Paharia is the author of “Loyalty 3.0: How to Revolutionize Customer and Employee Engagement with Big Data and Gamification” and founder of social gaming company Bunchball.  In his book, he describes how forward-thinking companies use the huge amounts of data generated by online activity to create gamification systems that drive engagement, high-value activity, and loyalty in customers and employees alike.

He discusses how gamification trends in training and employee engagement change behaviors, cut through time to learn, and make it fun for customers to learn how to use new products and employees to learn new skills, business tools, and technologies, or quickly work through complex processes. Because games are intrinsically motivating (the title of one of the chapters in the book), they create engagement, which keeps employees and customers loyal. Processes and activities such as onboarding and training that used to be tedious and time-consuming become fun and quick for everyone involved.

Paharia predicts that in a few years, gamification will continue to grow and will become a more common business practice driven by Big Data.

 

Alternative Work Styles

Staffing and recruiting agency Spherion’s survey of U.S. workers found that work/life balance and fulfillment are top priorities for 86 percent of them, and they reported being more attracted to employers and work that offers alternatives such as flextime and telecommuting.  Alternative work styles give workers many options to work how, when, and where they want and need to work to get their jobs done besides the traditional nine-to-five Monday-through-Friday work week.

Alternative work styles include teleworking but also encompass much more, such as job sharing, flexible schedules, and virtual work. Technology makes alternative work styles possible and globalization makes them almost a requirement to compete with companies across the world available around the clock to customers and markets.

Interior furnishings design company Hermann Miller, in reviewing alternative work styles, notes that “choice seems to be the watchword for the future of work.” In “Corporate Agility: A Revolutionary New Model for Competing in a Flat World,” authors Charles Grantham and Jim Ware predict the increasing use of “third places,” temporary or as-needed business facilities for conducting business.

These are some of the current choices available for the new ways we work. Are you using them in your company?

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