What to Expect in Your Office in 2019

At the start of 2018, Perkbox made a series of HR predictions around workplace trends likely
to arise throughout the year. Looking back, many of these came to fruition. We saw millennials turn into a much less misunderstood generation than previously, people analytics became an increasingly important asset for HR decision-making, with mental wellbeing turning into a key theme for Davos 2019.

So we thought we would do this all over again this year!

What are we expecting to be the main trends coming to your workplace in this 2019? And more importantly, how can we address (or embrace) them to secure the best for our staff?

Let’s find out!

Time to tackle the presenteeism epidemic

Presenteeism is an issue creating an increasing financial burden on companies and costing
the UK economy a staggering average of £77bn/year when combined with the costs of absenteeism. The CIPD has reported on the scale of the problem, showcasing that over the last 12 months 86 percent of UK employees have observed this phenomenon in their organization – directly or indirectly. Reduced productivity and the spreading of illnesses to others in the office were amongst the most obvious effects reported as a result. A conscious effort to shift this trend will be required in 2019 in order to tackle this issue.

Attempts were already seen last year with policies such as ‘flexible working’ entering the mainstream, aiming to improve work-life balance., According to a report by the International
Working Group, more than two-thirds of global employees got to enjoy this practice at least once a week in 2018, and over 50% did so for at least half of their working week. But this in itself isn’t enough to tackle the Presenteeism epidemic. In fact, some people may suffer from Presenteeism more now that they know their boss isn’t always aware of what they’re up to (working remotely).

Investing heavily in mental health initiatives such as EAPs, mental health first aiders, counseling and online GPs for staff will be a good way of pushing for more ways to tackle this issue, encouraging employees to seek help when needed. Examples of companies ahead of this trend include Innocent Drinks, who give all their employees a free gym membership encouraging them to enjoy a proper break over lunch or after work, while Netflix has an unlimited vacation scheme in place offering new moms and dads up to one year paid time off (a rare thing, particularly in the US).

The rise of the eco-workplace

Having seen the war on plastic hotting up significantly this last year, we also predict the rise
of eco-workplaces turning mainstream in 2019. We saw companies such as Wetherspoons
and All Bar One banning plastic straws in 2018, while supermarkets like Iceland pledged to be plastic free by 2023.
We anticipate ‘green thinking’ playing a key role in company culture with initiatives such as a
‘Bring Your Own Reusable Bottle (BYORB)’, green electricity and paperless offices becoming the new norm. If you haven’t yet done so, thinking about introducing recycling bins and replacing plastic cups and cutlery with ceramic and stainless steel versions is a good starting point. Other examples include incentivizing green commuting (walking, biking, carpooling, or taking public transit to the office), having a paperless office and creating monthly green challenges.
At Perkbox, we’ve also found setting up our own #being_green Slack channel, to share all
our ideas on how to make our office more environmentally friendly really useful!

Creating a culture of psychological safety

We also expect 2019 to be a year where we see a movement by employers towards a culture of psychological safety. This will be key in counteracting imposter syndrome as it reports epidemic levels in UK workplaces for the first time ever, estimating to have affected 62% of UK employees in 2018.

Perhaps 2019 will see a movement similar to #MeToo for ‘impostor syndrome’, as the concept gains public awareness and enforcement.

Tips to help employees overcome imposter syndrome at work include sharing your own personal experiences as managers – showing that you also have your highs and lows, your strengths and weaknesses and that no knowledge is absolute, as well as providing support for employees to open to their fears through tools such as Employee Assistance Programmes and in-house mental health first aiders.

2019 has only just commenced and with this, so has the opportunity to make your workplace a happier one. Take note and start the progress. Everyone has the power to create their own trends and make a meaningful difference. So what are you waiting for?

About the author: Before co-founding Perkbox, the UK’s fastest-growing employee engagement platform, Chieu Cao established himself as a tech marketing force to be reckoned with, leading initiatives for brands including Microsoft, Amazon and Yahoo. A consultant turned CMO, Chieu’s repertoire spans both B2C and B2B, from SEO to social strategy. 

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