Six trends set to change your workplace in 2016
cycle desk

We like to think of Firehead as being a modern, innovative employer – we are an agile, remote-first business; we collaborate daily across countries and continents recruiting for our clients in Europe, the USA and beyond; and we hot-desk, stand-up-desk and even stepper-desk while we work.

Workplace trends are changing as our work evolves so we’ve rounded up some of the key changes forecast for 2016 that may affect those working in digital communications.

1. Video killed the PowerPoint star

If we had a euro for every time someone proclaims the death of PowerPoint… But, according to the Fast Company, the standard presentation tool since the 1990s may finally be reaching a tipping point where static info slides are losing ground to video, animations and other motion graphics via platforms such as Prezi. Falling costs and ease of production – and, we suspect, the negative response around ‘not another PowerPoint presentation’ – are likely to be fuelling the shift.

bar chart on a meeting room table animation

2. Rise of the freelance consultant

A skills shortage is leading to more talent moving out of large organisations and offering their skills as highly specialised freelance consultants. This is something we’re seeing at Firehead in terms of recruitment, especially in areas such as content strategy, where high-level strategic thinking and years of digital experience can command high pay rates and salaries.


3. Remote-first businesses

Remote-friendly businesses are on the rise and they are enabling a number of workplace efficiencies. For example, in our field, digital recruitment is significantly reducing the time it takes to find and place hires. The Fast Company quotes research by online freelance marketplace Upwork which suggests it takes an average of 43 days to find and place talent in the traditional bricks-and-mortar world versus just three days in the virtual world. But while digitally based recruitment has speed and agility to adapt to hiring needs, this is no substitute for doing due diligence on prospective hires. The good news is that technology is making due diligence faster and easier, too (you can read more on this in Is Christmas the best time to look for a job?)


4. Hot-desking for permanent staff

A large and traditional corporate client we know is about to bring in hot-desking for its marketing department. Freelancers and other contractors are used to not having a desk of their own but the trend is also spreading to moveable employees with laptops. The fluidity of staff moving between offices for meetings or events means that having a permanently assigned desk or cubicle for each executive is becoming impractical so rather than have desks sitting empty, they are being offered out to shifting staff members. The idea is to use the desk for a period of time before shifting to a meeting room, sofa area or stand-up desk. The downside is goodbye to personalised desks, family photos and having a dumping ground for your stuff.

personalised office desk

5. Active working

More flexible workspaces are also encouraging different ways of working. The trend for stand-up or standing desks, for example, is going global following growing awareness of the health risks of sedentary office work. Advocates stand, or alternate sitting and standing, while they work; some are taking this to the next level by using treadmills, steppers, bicycles and surf-style balance boards, such as the Fluid Stance, to help them keep fit while they work.

cycle desk

6. Work-life balance backlash

According to Forbes, the biggest conversation in workplace trends is one that affects us all: workplace flexibility. Not only are we working longer – a 47-hour week according to this Gallup poll – but many employers are expecting us to be reachable after hours.

The backlash is starting, however – Forbes reports that: “With the rise of telecommuting, co-working spaces, globalisation, and new technology tools, workers are demanding flexibility. In the next few years, nearly every company will have a policy, especially because we are getting ready for the next ‘baby boom’ when 80 million millennials have children.”



Images (CC): Benny Wong (cycling desk); Channy Yun (office desk); Rosaura Ochoa (apps people); Psyberartist (corporate consultant); (bar chart boardroom graphics).

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