Some predictions about life at work in 2019 are hard to know: whether the economy will slow down, and if so, when. Others seem like sure bets: The #MeToo movement will continue, while issues such as diversity, flexibility and gender equity will remain at the fore.
We asked several experts on the workplace to make predictions on trends they believe will take hold, challenges managers will face and perks employees could see.
Benefits. Family leave for non-parents will become more common. Extended parental leave — up to year off at some tech companies — has become all the rage for new mothers and fathers as companies try to recruit and retain millennials. But Carol Sladek of Aon Hewit believes more companies in 2019 will start to extend “family leave” to non-parents who want time off to care for an aging parent, grieve for a lost family member or help with a sick spouse.
E-mail. Companies have been moving toward messaging tools like Slack and Microsoft’s Teams and away from e-mail for internal communications, but 2019 will be the year work e-mail moves past its peak, predicts Josh Bersin, an industry analyst.
Compensation. A wage gap between old and new workers will create new headaches. As the labor market remains tight and people switch jobs more often, there’s a different kind of wage gap forming, said Brian Kropp of Gartner’s. Companies have to dangle more to lure in new workers, making pay disparity grow between longtime staffers and new recruits. “In today’s labor market, the best way to get a raise is to go find a job at another company,” Kropp said. Employers are “not as willing to pay more for the people they’ve got. It’s a really interesting dynamic.”
Yet as pay transparency becomes more common, with websites such as Glassdoor making such data more available, the problem could lead to morale issues between workers and headaches for managers.
Privacy. Workers will demand that employers do more to ensure their personal data are safe.
A “global awakening” about threats to the privacy of consumer data will spill over into concerns about the personal data we give our employers, predicts Kristina Bergman, the CEO of Integris Software. Plenty of data are at risk. Beyond Social Security numbers and bank account information from direct deposits, data like what movies you watched in a hotel room on a business trip (charged to a corporate credit card) or what vacation days you took could reveal other personal tastes or even religious information to outside parties.