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Have you noticed the work world isn't what it used to be? While traditional, centralized places of business with teams of employees working nearby are still the norm for some organizations, their prevalence has undoubtedly diminished.

Non-traditional, decentralized teams and freelance workers are on the rise. Even those who do still commute to the office every day enjoy an environment that looks much different from the standard office of ten or fifteen years ago.

As time marches on and technology progresses, the way employees engage with work continues to evolve. From business tools to office furniture, change is here to stay. Be sure you're able to adapt by keeping your eye on some of these exciting trends, straight from the cutting edge of the workplace revolution.

The Rise of the Distributed Workforce

The ability to work from anywhere on the planet is one of the tremendous shifts the workforce has seen in recent years. The United States witnessed a 159% increase in its remote workforce from 2005 to 2017, and experts expect that number to rise in 2020 and beyond. It's not just customer service jobs or IT work either — across the board, teams are becoming distributed and integrating remote workers into their strategy.

Telecommuting is on the rise for several reasons, one being that it can save money for employers and employees alike. The reduced need for office space translates to savings on rent and utilities, cleaning services, and taxes for employers. And as for employees, working remotely and cutting out the commute saves them an average of $4,000 per year.

Adopting a remote work strategy can expand your potential talent pool. With the ability to coordinate a team across continents, you open the door to a broader range of prospects than you would recruit from your immediate locale. You also become attractive to the growing number of individuals looking for jobs that they can work remotely.

Offering remote work allows you to find the best-qualified candidate for almost any job — and the benefits don't end there. Remote work might even maximize the potential of your workforce. Working from home often results in increased employee happiness, which, in turn, can improve employee retention. With an optimized work-life balance, employees are less likely to get burned out and more likely to show up when you need them.

The benefits of remote work make it a clear advantage for employers who want to stay at the cutting edge of workplace trends. Some predictions claim remote work will completely supplant the need for physical offices by the year 2030. Joining the remote work wave and taking advantage of its benefits will only be possible if you have the right tools to empower your remote workers.

The Adoption of the Cloud

A corollary to managing an expanding remote workforce is the increased adoption of cloud-based business tools. From cloud phone systems to diverse software suites, an ever-increasing number of businesses find themselves relying on resources that live in the cloud. The share of enterprises using the cloud is already at 94%, with an estimated 30% of all IT budgets going toward cloud computing solutions.

Incorporating cloud technology can afford you many benefits, including flexibility and scalability of standard business solutions. As your workloads fluctuate, you can scale your infrastructure to support your needs. Web-based, cloud technologies are mobile to the point that your team can use them wherever they are. Beyond being an "anywhere" solution that can grow or shrink to fit your needs, cloud integration also provides:

  • Reduced expenses. You don't have to buy a bunch of equipment, you won't have to build your own data center, and you can scale what you're spending on your internal Information Technology team. The cloud is a significant cost-cutting measure that doesn't skimp on the quality of service.
  • Support for remote teams. With your solutions in the cloud, having your team collaborate using the same tools and resources is a cinch. In the long run, this improves productivity and decreases the amount of time you need to progress your various business goals.
  • Consistent updates. Using cloud solutions ensure that the software and services you employ are always up-to-date. Because they're internet-based, cloud solutions are still on time with the freshest updates and newest versions — keeping you and your team at peak effectiveness.

High availability and global accessibility make cloud integration and remote work inexorably linked. As the telecommuting trend grows, so too will the migration of services to the cloud. Even without the parallel cultural shift to remote work, migrating services to the cloud can save money and improve your business efficiency, so it's a trend worth looking into.

A Shift in Skill Sets

It's no secret that artificial intelligence is transforming the business world. The AI software market generates billions of dollars, and more than a third of businesses today use AI in some capacity. Artificial intelligence can automate routine tasks, freeing time for professionals to focus on their core objectives. Depending on the industry, it can also provide additional support that helps advance business goals.

  • In the healthcare industry, AI can help track patient information and pick up on trends that might help diagnose specific ailments.
  • Banks can use AI to enhance fraud detection efforts, spotting patterns that might indicate whether transactions are legitimate or fraudulent and quickly alerting account holders of suspicious activity.
  • Artificial intelligence can even provide cybersecurity support, enhancing threat-detection efforts, and mitigating the severity of cyberattacks.

These use cases are impressive, but the capabilities of AI continue to evolve, extending the applications of this technology in the future. As AI grows in complexity, so too does the fear that its adoption will displace workers. Rather than putting people out of work, experts believe that there will be a shift in what society considers the most desirable employee skills with a greater focus on soft skills, discernment, strategy, and other competencies that can't be learned by an algorithm.

In years past, there was an overwhelming emphasis on STEM skills and a belief that liberal arts degrees' soft skills were of waning importance. Now, with artificial intelligence poised to automate many technical skills, that trend may well reverse, with soft skills in more demand than ever before.

The jobs least likely to be replaced by automation involve creativity and managing other people — both of which require generous amounts of soft skills to carry out effectively. What's more, skills like communication, empathy, and creativity will far outweigh raw technical ability when getting hired in the next decade.

Work Becomes Meaningful

Since time immemorial, people have slaved away in professional jobs that they couldn't possibly care less about, only for that all-important paycheck. Moving forward, more and more workers will be asking for some purpose with their pay, as employees have an increasing desire for their efforts to be meaningful.

More than 41% of employees say they must know what their employer stands for. Nine out of ten people are willing to earn less money to do more meaningful work, and those who find their work worthwhile tend to be happier and more productive. To adapt to the modern workplace's needs, you'll need to make the case to your workers that their work goes beyond merely generating profits for those at the top — you'll need to explain how it all fits into the big picture.

This begins with creating a clear understanding of your company's values, then hiring candidates based on how well they mesh with those values. Beyond that, you'll need to back off the micromanaging, offer increased trust and flexibility, and demonstrate ambitious leadership to keep pace with new employee expectations in the workplace.

Evolving Trends in the Workplace

If there's one thing that will stay the same, it's the fact that the workplace will continue to change. You can already see the tremendous shifts in workplace culture caused by remote work and cloud technology. You can expect advances like these to continue to force the nature of work to evolve.

Keeping pace with these trends is imperative if you want your organization to stay competitive. Arming yourself with the right tools to adapt to the workplace revolution will maximize your chances of hiring — and keeping — the best employees. Dialpad's cloud-based communications platform comes with native voice intelligence and will enable your team to scale and work from anywhere.

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