Now, more than ever before, business leaders need to keep a sharp focus on the year ahead, says Jason Downes, MD of Powwownow.
Following an unprecedented twelve months for UK businesses, it’s key that leaders remain aware of trends occurring in both the local, and global business environments. With innovation, growth and productivity all key considerations for organisations when planning for the year ahead, what are the key business trends business leaders should be watching out for?
Collaboration has long been linked to creativity, innovation and progress, but as we move into 2018, encouraging collaboration will become absolutely crucial for organisations looking to evolve. Cross-team collaboration not only promotes a greater sense of self-analysis, but also challenges employees to think about tasks and solutions more creatively.
By actively bringing together people and encouraging them to collaborate wherever possible, leaders will give teams the chance to appreciate how their colleagues work, think, and solve challenges. This will also encourage employees to utilise these new skill sets within their own teams.
Flexible working and remote teams
The rapid evolution in workplace technology over the past decade has had a staggering impact on the workplace, fundamentally changing the nature of our work and how we carry it out. Forward thinking companies looking to increase employee motivation and productivity over the next twelve months should be thinking about how they can use technology to develop their traditional workplace, and implement a flexible working policy.
It’s common for companies to be reluctant to allow their employees to work away from the office, but those who put trust in their employees will benefit from improved productivity, and ultimately, profitability.
In an increasingly digital world, success and growth are only possible if leaders have a strong understanding of how technology can benefit their company. It has become clear that businesses that strive to embed technology into their core strategy, not only benefit from increased productivity and efficiency, but are also far more likely to experience rapid growth.
As consumers begin to get on board with the trends in technology, and employees begin to lead the way by introducing new tech, like instant messengers, collaboration tools and chatbots into their own teams and daily routines, leaders can no longer afford to overlook the importance of an ambitious and holistic technological strategy.
AI driven organisations
There was a great deal of debate about how AI will disrupt traditional offices, and long-standing professions in 2017, but the technology is actually already encouraging innovation and increasing efficiency levels in many industries for a number of years now.
From simple tasks such as scheduling meetings and making reservations, to more complex document analysis, AI-enabled tools and assistants are already being widely used by businesses across the globe.
Over the next year it’s likely that a great deal of repetitive, labour-intensive tasks will be automated to reduce overheads, increase efficiency, and give employees more time to complete complex cognitive tasks.
AR and VR make a mark
We’re already starting to see the benefits that virtual reality and augmented reality are bringing to businesses of all sizes, and there’s still an endless amount of potential opportunities these technologies will present to employees and businesses alike in the next five years.
However, one of the most important ways that businesses can utilise these technologies now are as tools for collaboration. Instead of requiring all members of a team to be physically together in one place for meetings, planning sessions and day-to-day catch ups, these visual tools enable teams to talk and collaborate on important projects from anywhere in the world.
Generation Z driven workplaces
2018 signals the first time that Generation Z will begin to enter the workplace on mass, so for business leaders hoping to attract these young professionals, ensuring that workplaces are attractive to this new generation will be absolutely crucial. It goes without saying that technology has become part and parcel of young professional’s lives – in both a personal and professional capacity.
For most, if not all of this generation, fast, reliable and industry standard technology is an expectation of any modern workplace with two thirds (66%) considering up to date technology as important or very important in allowing them to work effectively. This generation are also becoming more averse to rigid corporate hierarchies, and favour open collaborative environments. For businesses looking to make the most of these ‘digitally native’ individuals, and harness their unique skillsets, creating a workplace that aligns with Generation Z’s attitudes towards work.
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