The Changing Face of the Workplace: Trends for 2019

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The arrival of a new year brings new trends! And this is no exception in the world of work. In 2018, we saw the emergence of trends such as stronger focus on employees’ financial and mental wellbeing, the rise of the gig economy, and resimercial design – a concept based on blending home elements into the office space to make it more inviting.

So, what does this year hold? Here are the 7 top trends for 2019.

1. Multi-stage careers

With improvements in medical care and life expectancy, people generally enjoy better health later into their lives. Many feel less pressed to go on a pension and instead choose to work well into their 70s or even 80s. Some do this for financial reasons, but others love what they do, or simply like to keep busy.

Take Janice and Paul Gambrill, a couple from London, UK. Back in the day, Janice was a primary school teacher and Paul was a sales manager at IBM. As the millennium came around, the couple moved to Devon to set up a hotel called Heasley House, which soon racked up 5-star reviews on TripAdvisor. 10 years later, they decided to move again. They sold all their possessions and settled on a converted boat moored near Birmingham. Now, at the age of 65, they are discovering new passions – Paul has set up a business making tables, and Janice is thinking of writing a children’s book.

Just like in the case of Paul and Janice, it is likely that careers will diversify to prevent people from experiencing boredom or burnout, as can happen when staying in the same job for too long. It is also steadily becoming easier for people to change career after they reach 50, an age that used to mark the decline of many careers just a few decades ago.

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2. Adapting to age diversity

As people work for longer, it’s clear that different generations will end up working together. It will be crucial for leadership to adapt, as each age group and generation has different requirements and expectations. For example, corporate trainer  Dana Brownlee points out that over 50s prefer face-to-face interaction, while the younger generations often opt for digital communication. A smart manager will work on developing various leadership styles and select an employee-appropriate approach “much like a club from their leadership golf bag”.

3. Creative communication

Matching up employers with the right employees is a key consideration, and two-way communication is vital. In 2018, companies took a more creative approach to employer branding. For example, Janssen Pharmaceutica came top in a study by Randstad to find the top 10 most attractive private employers in Belgium. The company’s employer branding centres on employees’ real experiences and stories, which give it a genuine and authentic feel and, therefore, a stronger impact on potential employees.


This is more creative and powerful than a marketing campaign created by an outside agency and allows the company to reach out to strong talent who are likely to share the values that lie at the heart of the business.

Candidates are also showing more creativity to make themselves stand out and give them more choice between companies. A great example of this is Belgian student Julie Foubert, whose video CV was viewed 17000 times in a month solely on LinkedIn. Almost 30 companies contacted Julie, and she’s just signed a contract to work with the one she decided suited her best.

4. Intelligent recruiting technology

Recruiters are now having to move on from strategies such as cold-calling when wanting to find the best candidates for jobs. In Belgium, just 27% of professionals are actively looking for a job, and the brightest talents are often already in employment, so more intelligent and creative forms of recruitment are needed!

Now, the talent search often begins even before someone has considered changing job. Key tools include employer branding, digital technology and inbound recruitment. These enable companies to get noticed and target those whose skills and attitude best match their company culture and values.

5. Employee GDPR

GDPR (general data protection regulation) was a key term in 2018. It was implemented on 25 May 2018 and aimed to modernise laws protecting individuals’ personal information and also give people greater control over their information.

Businesses use consumer data to help make decisions, and companies often also gather employee data for similar purposes. As employees generally use computer equipment provided by their company, this is easy.

GDPR gives employees some essential rights such as the right to be informed, the right to access and rectify data and the right to reuse their personal data for their own purposes. Most employers will handle your data responsibly, but make sure you’re aware what data they’re gathering and what they’re using it for.


6. Flexible wellness policies

Companies are now becoming increasingly aware that for employees to be happy and want to stay in their job longer, they need a healthy work-life balance. Whether there’s stress at home or family commitments like appointments or after-school activities, employers are offering more support. This may be remote working, flexible hours, sabbaticals or a cafeteria plan, where employees select their own package of benefits to suit them.

7. Digital ecology

We’ve all become used to keeping old emails, hundreds of photos and multiple versions of the same files without ever deleting anything. Now, though, a trend is emerging towards being more disciplined in this area, as the demands of digital communication lead to increased costs for companies and have an impact on the planet. The idea isn’t simply to save space on servers, but also to decrease the stress linked to the often constant buzz of communication. The concept of “inbox zero”, developed by Merlin Mann, is an example of how to achieve a more “ecological” situation in your emails. It’s about managing emails effectively by dealing with them and responding quickly, and deleting any which are no longer needed. This way, employees don’t only save space and computing power, but also reduce the amount of time and effort they spend thinking about what’s in their inbox.

To sum up…

Work environments are continuing to change and develop to meet changing needs and expectations. This means employees have to take responsibility to educate themselves, so they don’t get left behind as things move on. The key here is to keep learning new skills, be willing to have new experiences and to become aware of your place in the future of your workplace. If you do all of these, you’ll remain a strong employee or potential candidate in 2019 and beyond!


Nicolas Christidis

Written by Nicolas Christidis

Nico is a true people leader and a talent whisperer. Has been in recruitment since before you could say “1999." After work, you will see him cheering for AS Saint-Étienne or on a tatami mat practising martial arts.