Now that we've covered the employee-related changes, we'll take a look at those affecting technology and the workplace.
1. Social media becomes an even stronger tool for attracting talented employees
Most companies have already embraced social media as a great way to communicate with customers and show off their brand personality. In fact, according to Adweek, about 88 percent of brands utilized social media as part of their marketing strategies in 2014. To date, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn are some of the most effective forums. However, in 2015, more businesses will begin to use social media to attract and connect with top talent. Large companies like Nestle have already begun to incorporate this strategy, adding dedicated Careers profiles to their arsenal of social media pages.
2. The separation between work life and home life will shrink
Technology companies are increasingly focusing on wearable technology and mobile devices, making it easier for everyone to stay connected. Unfortunately, in 2015 this may also lead to a more "blended" work-life balance, according to the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. If workers do not need to be physically present in the office to complete their assignments, it is likely that it will become more difficult to fully step away from work in off hours.
3. Offices steer away from the "cubicle farm" design
Many companies are now reconsidering how sitting in a cubicle impacts employees, so 2015 will likely see a shift away from the "cubicle farm" office plan. Having all coworkers sit in rows of cubicles has led to less personal interaction in the workplace, as many admit that it now seems easier to just email a neighboring coworker a question rather than standing up and having a face-to-face conversation. To combat this problem and refoster a sense of teamwork, large companies are designing open floor plans with comfortable seating and artwork, giving the office a more welcoming environment. Some will also include designated areas for large meetings, group lunches or one-on-one check-ins to encourage employees to move around more during the workday.
4. A new emphasis will be placed on social responsibility
The Internet has made sharing information easier than ever, and one of the most positive effects has been the impact on raising money for different initiatives. Corporations as a whole have a reputation for being malevolent and greedy, but joining in on fundraising and charitable campaign initiatives and sharing their participation on social media can now help revamp their images. In 2015, this corporate social responsibility will become the norm. Companies will be expected to create videos for viral campaigns, start online crowdsourcing fundraising initiatives and live-blog from charitable conferences. Additionally, there could be an uptick in the number of companies sponsoring teams for events like 5K races or half marathons benefiting various health causes.
5. Employers will offer better wellness incentives
The idea that healthy employees can be happier and more productive is not a new one, but the way employers approach the subject is likely to change in 2015. One of the largest health-related trends has already begun, and it involves offering employees alternatives to traditional desks and chairs. Working at treadmill desks or standing desks and using exercise balls instead of chairs are all great alternatives that are steadily becoming more popular. Additionally, more companies may adopt offering healthy incentives to employees. This may include reducing monthly health insurance costs for nonsmokers, or supplementing the cost of wearable activity or step trackers during office-wide weight loss competitions.