From nap pods to unlimited vacation, I've seen quite a few workplace trends come and go. Countless companies have jumped on the work perk bandwagon as a means to attract top talent. Beer on tap, free lunch, and remote offices are all ways for a business to position itself as a great place to work.
Like fashion, not all trends are meant to last. The point is, every year brings with it new innovations and ideas that influence how companies operate and conduct business. It's important for business owners to stay on top of these changes in the workplace, and adopt the ones that best suit their company's culture.
Some recent workplace trends are worth adopting indefinitely. Here's my take on three that I think can help improve your company's productivity.
1. Zero Waste
The Zero Waste initiative is growing in popularity, and for good reason. It's not only benefiting the environment but also making staff more productive. With a sustainable initiative in place, employees can develop a deeper sense of belonging, drive, and dedication to the organization.
So what is Zero Waste? It's eradicating your workplace operations so that not one ounce of garbage goes into the landfill. That means upcycling or donating unwanted electronics, composting leftovers in the lunchroom, and forgoing printing paper.
While it may sound challenging, it's the only sure-fire way to reduce our footprint. Goals like these are what can really bring your team together to bond over things other than work. This means no takeout containers, no plastic wrap, and no disposable coffee cups. Think you're up for the challenge?
If so, remember to keep everyone involved in the progress of your Zero Waste plan. Set goals and benchmarks for the company; this will help people feel more motivated and connected to the cause.
2. Prioritizing mental wellness
Mental health is finally garnering the attention it deserves. Anxiety and stress have long been consequences of an intense workplace. With smartphones at our fingertips, we're expected to answer every message that comes our way in an instant. Evenings, weekends, and holidays are no longer out-of-bounds for employers to contact their staff.
The results? Higher rates of depression, burnout, and stress. It's time we stop pushing emotional and psychological well-being. That means leaders have to step up and stop sacrificing the mental wellness of their staff just to meet their bottom line. I've learned that there's nothing more important than the health of your employees -- after all, they are the ones running your business.
An easy way to prioritize mental wellness is to implement a 6 p.m. mandatory shutoff. This means anyone who expects a reply to an email or phone call after 6 p.m. or on weekends will be reprimanded. Another great thing to include is counselor services within employee health plans, and then allow office hours for employees to attend these appointments.
3. Permanent flexibility
You've heard of flex hours, right? Well, the newest workplace trend is permanent flexibility. For some companies, this will help attract talent whom previously they couldn't afford. Working parents are a prime example. Many highly skilled and qualified professionals would gladly take a pay cut if it means they could work flexible hours to help balance child care.
Companies that offer flexibility in the form of telecommuting, flexible schedules, and unlimited paid time off help employees maintain a more positive work-life balance. This, in turn, will keep people happy and ultimately more productive.