Business woman working in a green hot desk flexible office spaceAs 2014 gets underway and everyone’s schedules gets back to normal after holiday vacation and extended snow days, many people are looking ahead to what the year will bring. Between President Obama’s State of the Union address and predictions for a slowly improving economy bringing hope to millions of out-of-work Americans, people are closely watching jobs numbers.

Along with the economy’s comeback, there are also other changes afoot in Corporate America. There are many new trends that are dominating workplaces across the country, as employers are trying new strategies to attract and retain quality employees. By anticipating the needs of employees and future employees, employers can create an accommodating environment that encourages growth, happiness and productivity.

Here are the top workplace trends which will dominate the country’s workplaces in 2014:

Flexible Work Hours: Many offices are willing to be flexible instead of sticking to the rigid 9-to-5 work schedule. More employers are offering the opportunity to work from home. They are also much more willing to adjust hours to accommodate childcare or school requirements. While it isn’t quite the new “norm,” flex schedules can help give a work/life balance that many employers are hoping for. Flexibility such as this is a must in today’s economy as most homes require a dual income in order to function, and employers have to adapt as their workforce changes.

Wellness Incentives: Health care costs are rising and employers will place more emphasis on preventative care and programs that urge employees to maintain a healthy diet or lifestyle. Many companies are also offering benefits for employees who regularly hit the gym or who show improvement in their cholesterol and glucose levels. People might also expect to see vending machines with chips and soda to be replaced by vending machines that tout healthy options and water and juice choices. Late-night meetings might now feature salad and heart-healthy foods as opposed to greasy takeout or Chinese delivery. Some companies are even investing in an on-site gym.

Social Media Screening: With social media continuing to be an important tool for businesses, more employers will be screening potential employees’ online presence before extending a job offer. The days of anonymity are truly over, and anyone who posts on Facebook or Twitter should do so with extreme caution. Even a comment on a YouTube video could back to haunt you in the future.

Emphasis on Internal Training: The job market is as competitive as ever and employees are shopping around for new jobs as soon as their current job stops being fulfilling. To combat the trend of increased turnover, employers are focusing on investing in the future of their current employees with management training, mentoring programs and career development incentives.

Reputable Workplaces: A strong, positive reputation for a company can have a huge impact on the type of employees who apply. Employers are doing more to encourage a facilitative environment that engages employees and promotes productivity. Employees will be happier and more likely to boast about their employer, and that means more positive word-of-mouth to attract future employees as well as new clients.

Overall, the corporate workplace is becoming more flexible and more health-focused, both as it relates to physical and emotional health. That’s good news for everyone…let’s just hope job numbers continue to show improvement so we can all reap the benefits of a happy, healthy workplace!

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