4 Workplace Trends to Watch in 2016

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What can you expect to see in the workplace next year?

Here are four workplace trends that we’re likely to see in 2016 that will heavily impact you as a manager and the way you run your team.

1. The dramatic expansion of remote work. It’s not news that companies are ever-more friendly to remote work, but look for a dramatic upswing in the practice in 2016. As technology makes remote work easier and easier, and the culture shift around telecommuting makes companies that have been reluctant to embrace it look increasingly out-of-date, the bias many managers still had against telework is crumbling. Companies that lag behind the curve are likely to find it harder to attract and retain great employees, and will be at a disadvantage against competitors who aren’t limited to a strictly local workforce.

2. Flexibility. Employees are increasingly expecting – and prospective new hires are sometimes demanding – flexible work hours.  As people look for better ways to juggle work obligations and family or personal commitments, flex time has risen to the top of the list of what many workers value most. In 2016, look for the acceptance of flexible schedules to expand even more as employers find that flexibility helps attract and retain high performers who want the ability to plan their work schedules around picking kids up from school, attending classes, managing daytime medical appointments, or avoiding rush hour.

3. Backlash against intrusions of work into “off” time. In 2015, we saw a growing recognition of the ways that work – helped by technology – is intruding into people’s “off” time more than ever before, with many people feeling pressure to answer work calls and emails at night, on the weekends, and during vacations. But the idea that so many jobs should require round-the-clock availability is increasingly being challenged, and a backlash is growing against the expectation that work hours never really end. Look for this conversation to get louder in 2016, and for companies to be forced to grapple with their own role in the dynamic and what they need to do to prevent burn-out.

4. New laws for overtime. The federal government has proposed a dramatic change to the rules governing who must be paid overtime when working more than 40 hours in a week, which, if approved, would require more than 5 million white-collar workers to receive overtime pay. The change would require workers to be paid a minimum salary of $50,440 in order to be exempt from overtime pay requirements – up from the current salary threshold of $23,600. If the new rule becomes law, businesses will be faced with either tracking and limiting the number of hours a large pool of people can work or incurring potentially large new overtime costs … or, of course, raising salaries to the new threshold, which might be the most cost-effective way to proceed for employees who work significant overtime. Anyone managing a team should keep an eye on this one, which could have massive ramifications for how you staff (and pay) your team.

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