New year, new you—but does that apply to the workplace, too? Of course! The start of the year should not only be a time for you to review and make changes in your personal life, but also to take stock of and see where you can do better in your professional life.
Before you proceed, it would help to see first what experts envision the workplace to look and be like this year. Then you can strategize not only how to survive, but to thrive, career-wise!
According to allwork.space, the “3 Trends That Will Dominate The Workplace In 2018" are wellness, flexible workspaces, and artificial intelligence (AI). Forbes.com agrees. Wellness and AI are also part of their list of “10 Workplace Trends You'll See In 2018”.
Already, we’re seeing these trends taking over our workplaces. Machines have replaced humans not only in factories but even in chatboxes. Human resource departments continue to push overall wellness—including financial health and mental health—programs for employees. And the rise of flexible workspaces globally shows no signs of slowing down.
How to survive (and thrive)
Instead of thinking that automation and AI are out to replace you at work at the first opportunity, think of their rise as a wake-up call. Perhaps you have been complacent for so long, and have neglected to level up your skills. If this is true for you, then it’s time for a fresh start. Think about what you do at work every day. Then imagine your job being taken over by a computer, machine, or robot. What added value can you give that will make you the better choice? Once you have the answer, make a list of skills you need to offer this added value. Then work on enhancing or acquiring those skills.
Have you noticed that workspaces are now becoming more open, as opposed to the more private cubicles of yesteryears? Have you also noticed that coworking spaces continue to sprout all around? These movements reflect one more workplace trend that will continue in the years to come: collaboration. Don’t be afraid to spend time in your work day to interact with others. Make small talk, ask question, bounce off ideas, or brainstorm! One of the biggest advantages of humans over machines is our humanity—our ability to form meaningful connections, to empathize, to read subtle cues, and so on. Take advantage of this by putting those interpersonal skills to work.
The world today is different from it once was—and it will continue to change. So it’s time to take on a new mindset. Loosen your attachments to the traditional, to your routine, to your habits, and to your comfort zone. If you’ve been conducting meetings in the same room, face-to-face with the same people, for years and years now, why not try a virtual meeting for a change? If there are new work apps that you’re not familiar with, but could potentially boost your productivity, why not take some time to learn them? Straying from what you’re used to can be scary, but it can end up fulfilling, too.
FOCUS ON QUALITY, NOT QUANTITY
Gone are the days when the measure of success is the time you spend in the office. These days, freelancers, talents, telecommuters, and work-from-home professionals can have as much chance of success as employed professionals. Whatever your career status is, whether you work from a desk or from your bed, make sure you’re working hard and turning in good quality output.
STRIVE FOR BALANCE
That said, remember to take care of yourself. If you’re not physically, mentally, and emotionally well, you’re not going to be able to work well, too. Take advantage of your company’s wellness programs, if any. Or prioritize self-care for your own good. Take steps to see if you can improve how and where you work, too. If the heavy traffic during rush hour is sucking the life out of you, check if you can have flexible time or work-from-home options. If you need time away from the office to rest, or maybe do your job elsewhere for a change of scene, say so. If working from home is no longer productive from you, look for other places where you can work better. Who knows, maybe change can do you, and even your company, a lot of good.
New year, fresh start
As technology and innovation give rise to rapid changes in the workplace as you know it, perhaps the first and biggest lesson you should take to heart this year is that what worked for you in the past may no longer be effective today.
Good thing then that we have been given the gift of a new year and a fresh start. Use it wisely!