9 Workplace Trends That Can Make (Or Break) Your Career


Those times – they are a’changin’. Can you believe it was almost 13 years ago that we were living amidst the Y2K kerfuffle? Or 10 years ago that American Idol crowned Kelly Clarkson as its very first winner?

On a personal note, I can’t believe it’s already been one full year that I’ve been out of school. Or three full weeks since I last ate bacon.

It’s no secret that time is passing at an alarming rate and as time passes, things change. It went from Justin Timberlake to Justin Bieber. BlackBerry to iPhone. Pokemon to World of Warcraft.

Alongside the world of popular culture, the working world is ever-changing as well. Therefore, it is important to be on top of both current and foreseeable trends in the workforce in order to ensure your employability is as strong as ever.

This article outlines nine trends looming ahead in the working world. We’ve outlined some simple dos and don’ts to keep you up-to-date on how to handle these changes.

9. Global partnerships

Companies continually invest in economies across the globe and as technology constantly expands, people will be expected to work with people from all over the place via email, telephone and video chat.

Do: Be willing to accept new approaches and focus on clear communication.
Don’t: Become set in your ways and unwilling to adapt to a changing office environment.

8. Multiple generations in the workplace

Plain and simply, an unsteady economy means people are waiting longer to retire. According to The 2020 Workforce: How Innovative Companies Attract, Develop, and Keep Tomorrow’s Employees Today, by the year 2020, the typical workforce will include five generations – Baby Boomers to recent grads.

Do: Showcase your ability to get along with others and integrate with peers of all ages.
Don’t: Be cliquey with your own age group.

7. Millennial invasion

As Baby Boomers retire and the demographics of the workforce begin to change, the emergence of millennials – people born after 1980 (like you) – will be evident. Many of your fellow millennials will hold leadership roles, and expect others to subscribe to their value systems and behaviors.

Do: Demonstrate your team-player attitude, knowledge of technology and innovative ideas.
Don’t: Fall behind in your performance speed or be unwilling to look beyond your own views in order to see what is most beneficial for the company.

6. Mobile workforce

Our increasingly global economy and dependence on technology means 2020’s workforce will be on the move. Work will be done less “in the office” and more wherever it can get done – in a satellite office, at home, or on the commuter train. This initially seems convenient, but also makes it next to impossible to “leave your work at work.”

Do: Have a schedule for yourself even if working from home. It is too easy to stay in your pajamas all day and work at a slower pace.
Don’t: Be unwilling to work beyond your 9-to-5 schedule if need be.

5. Technology as part of life

Today, we’re still at the point where emerging technology (another new iPhone?!) is exciting. By 2020, it will be a natural way of life. However, as technology allows organizations to get things done more quickly and efficiently, there will be more pressure on people to “keep up” themselves.

Do: Keep up with technology and ensure your own working pace is quick and efficient.
Don’t: Depend on technology to the point that you feel like you don’t need to do anything.

4. Environmental awareness

As more organizations commit to being green, work behaviours and expectations will change. For example, efforts will be made to reduce gas-usage so for those with work that can be done at home will be encouraged to do so.

Do: Be self-motivated, disciplined and independent.
Don’t: Demonstrate poor time management or an inability to work alone.

3. Social responsibility

Everyone wants to “do their part” nowadays, so social responsibility is becoming quite the workplace trend. Employees will be expected to not only be on board, but actively participate in social responsibility programs within the workplace.

Do: View social causes as a priority in your work life and be willing to put in the time.
Don’t: Criticize or make fun of social responsibility efforts at your workplace even if you don’t agree with them. You can discuss any serious issues you have privately and professionally with a manager.

2. An ever-changing economy

When it comes to the economy, the only thing we can count on staying the same is change, fluctuation and unpredictability.

Do: Adapt to change quickly and stay organized.
Don’t: Demonstrate frustration with changes or a lack of inspiration.

1. Talent shortages

A growing economy and the retiring of Baby Boomers is bound to leave a labour shortage. Organizations will heavily focus on recruiting and retaining highly skilled, education workers.

Do: Highlight your education, experience and skills, and be willing to brush up on all of these things (i.e., by taking a course).
Don’t: Assume that previous experience is all that matters. Organizations are looking for the best so you need to stand out in more than one aspect.