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Predictions for 2019

CABA’s Kelly Feehan does a bit of crystal ball gazing on what the major workplace wellbeing trends for 2019 will be, and why employers should think about them seriously.

February 2019

CABA’s Kelly Feehan does a bit of crystal ball gazing on what the major workplace wellbeing trends for 2019 will be, and why employers should think about them seriously.

1. Evolution of the working week:

Most people work 9am–5pm, five days a week, but is this going to change? Increasingly we are hearing calls for a shift to a four-day week, to allow employees more time to relax and recharge as the pressures and strains of work become more intense. In New Zealand, a trial was carried out to test whether employees reacted better to working a shorter week. The results? Work was completed, and both teamwork and engagement increased.

2. ‘Hidden’ diseases being properly addressed:

Over the past five years, employers have become increasingly aware of the threat of ‘hidden’ diseases, such as mental ill health. Following business leaders’ calls for better mental health training and the government’s commitment to mental health first aiders, we fully expect businesses to soon be able to support mental health as comfortably as they do physical health. However, the next challenge is getting employees to speak openly about these problems.

3. The rise of the robots:

In 2018, the conversation around Artificial Intelligence (AI) ramped up. As firms become more used to automation they are starting to see how technology such as AI or machine learning can work to complement their workforce. For example, Commerzbank has started trialling AI to write analyst reports to save employees’ time. In the legal sector, firms are using machine learning to help code and sort previous cases, freeing up legal teams to add value in other places, and allowing them to take on more interesting, career advancing work.

4. Microchipping:

Another workplace trend we’re seeing is employee monitoring. More specifically, microchipping. Biohax, a Swedish company has already microchipped 4,000 employees internationally and is coming to the UK following increased demand. Ease of access to buildings, alongside making travel easier, are the benefits cited, which for many time-poor employees could be appealing. It may take a while to take off and won’t sit comfortably with everyone, but it’s already making waves and we won’t be surprised if we see more about this trend next year.

• Kelly Feehan, Service Director, CABA

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