Think about it—just a few decades ago, there was no social media, no AI (artificial intelligence), and no online collaboration tools.
Things that are normal and part of our everyday lives did not exist until recently in history. The last few decades have brought rapid technological growth and advancement worldwide. It’s shaped the business world and impacted how people live their lives.
And then came the global pandemic and technological advances accelerated at an even faster pace.
The last few years have ushered in many significant changes to the business world, but it won’t stop now. We can continue to expect an evolution of technology, culture, and work that shapes business in significant ways.
Here are some of the current and future trends we see happening. These are some of the topics we cover in the Jenji Talks videos, where we interview leaders and experts on their stories and experiences in business and technology.
Recent Changes to the Business World and Working Environment
The pandemic changed everything from how we socialize to how we shop to how we work. The last category may have had the biggest, most lasting impact on our societies, though. Our working environment can never go back to “normal” because there is a “new normal” that was developed out of necessity.
Here are some recent trends in the last few years that shaped the business world:
In Spring 2020, an estimated 557 million workers worldwide were forced to work from home. This evolution in the working environment forced businesses to rapidly pivot their operations and employees had to learn new processes.
After some growing pains, things started going surprisingly well in many industries. For example:
- Employers realized they could save money on expensive office leases
- Employees enjoyed the flexibility of their home working environment
- Hybrid, flexible schedules met the needs of people who wanted some interaction in-person
- Productivity and output did not suffer, dispelling a long-held myth that people had to work together in person
Expansion and Evolution of Technology
With the necessity to work from home, technology expansion took over every company. If they didn’t have collaborative virtual tools before, they learned quickly!
Some common areas for technology expansion in all businesses include:
- Video meeting tools such as Zoom or Google Teams
- Organization tools such as Slack or Asana
- Online “hangouts” using VR (virtual reality)
- Automation tools for managing tasks and calendars
- Gamification platforms for progress and recognition
Changing and Managing Habits
Home working environments required the expansion of technology which, in turn, changed habits. The way people worked also changed. Consider:
- Increased flexibility allowed employees to juggle personal lives with work
- More casual interactions and workplace culture because employees were at home in their loungewear
- Changing values of what’s important in work and life
Future Predictions: How Business Will Keep Changing
You’ve probably heard this saying before: the only thing that’s constant in life is change. And we believe this is a true statement because technology, culture, attitudes, and ideas all continue to change, evolve, and impact the business world.
Here are a few notable trends that will impact how businesses operate in the future.
Normalization of AI and Machine Learning
AI is becoming more and more common in our everyday lives. It can help automate processes, accurately predict online behavior, or augment our learning and development. A recent Forbes article compiled some emerging AI trends that can impact businesses:
- Natural Language Processing, or the ability of a computer to understand text and speech (i.e., using AI assistants like Siri and Alexa)
- Generative AI, or AI that focuses on generating content like images or text.
- Reinforcement Learning, or using machine learning to mimic how humans learn from the environment and adjust their behaviors
These are just a few trends to look for, and industries will incorporate them in different ways. But no matter your business, AI and machine learning will keep improving and growing.
Evolution of Talent Management and HR Practices
With the rise of technology, we need to be careful not to forget what’s behind that technology—people. Despite all the advances we’ve made, people are the heart of any organization and business.
This means that HR practices and talent management will have to keep evolving and changing, too. Here are some ways it might do so:
- Remote working environments means companies can hire talent from an international pool of applicants, which increases competition for some roles and gives employees more options
- When employees have more options, employer’s need to step up and make their workplace as attractive as possible and focus on their Employee Value Proposition.
We can also expect the broader world and culture to change, which impacts workplaces and businesses. For example:
- Social and political movements which shift cultural values
- Economic and environmental challenges and disasters
- Changing demographics in the workplace (i.e., younger employees from Generation Z)
This is such a broad category because it encompasses everything. But just think about how one event—a virus that spread around the world—precipitated significant evolution of our daily working environment.
These types of events can, and will, happen. Businesses will do well to think about risk management planning and how to be flexible and sensitive to evolution and change.
The business world has and will continue to change. There are major trends in technology, culture, and work that impact how people go about their daily lives and careers.
If you want to learn more about how the working environment is evolving, join us at Jenji Talks. Our Jenji Talks videos interview experts, leaders, and managers from all over the business world. We hear their stories and learn insights about technology, business, and people.
As we learn, we grow—and both we and our work are better for it.