As we enter a new year, it’s customary as business owners to start thinking about what might lie ahead, and although the word ‘trend’ is somewhat overused in modern society, it arguably serves a purpose at this time of the year.
What’s on the horizon? What can small business owners expect from the next twelve months? What should we be planning for?
We think there are four trends to look out for this year:
The ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) phenomenon isn’t new, but it’s likely to pick up pace in 2018.
With virtually everybody now in possession of a smartphone, the likelihood of employees wanting to use theirs for work purposes will only increase. Likewise, employee-owned tablets and laptops are likely to begin appearing on office desks across the country.
A BYOD policy is something most companies should have. If your business is considering one, it should certainly take the necessary security precautions, but this is a phenomenon that can be embraced, because it’ll likely increase staff satisfaction and productivity.
The ease with which video conferences can now be held and the abundance of messaging platforms to which we all have access has spawned countless ways workers can collaborate.
Unfortunately, it has also resulted in good, old-fashioned face time being shunned for digital communication.
Expect to see businesses pushing for more personal interaction between teams, be they remote, based in-house or a mixture of the two. And this is for good reason; technology shouldn’t rule, nor should it get in the way of traditional human contact.
Have you implemented flexible working patterns within your business? If not, it’s something you might find yourself considering during 2018.
In 2015, it was revealed that just 6% of job ads offered flexible working, despite over fourteen million British workers wanting it.
This thirst for a better work-life balance is understandable, and unless your business demands traditional working hours from its employees, there’s little reason not to explore the merits of allowing staff to work more flexibly.
It’s not for every business, and you may well find that your staff are happy to work a 9-5 week, but as flexible working continues to proliferate within organisations across the globe, it’s likely a topic that will begin creeping into performance review meetings.
Technology moves at a rapid pace, and keeping up with it is often a challenge for those who remember a time before the internet.
Generation Y and Z live their lives through technology - it has become an intrinsic part of their existence. For this reason, these younger generations are likely to continue the trend this year of providing ‘reverse’ tech mentoring for Baby Boomers.
This isn’t a slight on older generations, either, just a natural progression of learning as technology continues to become the dominant force in both our personal and working lives.
What are you most looking forward to during 2018? We think, based on the trends above, it’s set to be a fascinating, productive time for small businesses.
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