• Wellness programs are on the rise. Our employer really does care if we eat that doughnut or go for the apple. In fact, he cares so much, in many instances, he’s going to pay us to lose weight or participate in a wellness program. By now, employers realize that if we engage in healthy behavior, they benefit from lower healthcare costs. Expect this trend to get even more attention because The Affordable Care Act will expand the ability of employers to reward workers who achieve health improvement goals.
• Overtime. Is stopping on the way in for doughnuts for coworkers considered on the clock time? It could be. Companies are running into trouble with workers who claim there’s a rampant disregard for overtime pay provisions. In 2012, employees filed more than 7,000 federal lawsuits commonly known as wage-and-hour cases against their employers or former employers, records show. Losing these cases proved costly for some employers, and lawyers say they see these types of lawsuits continuing in 2013 along with a new interest in management training on what counts as a violation.
• Boomers retiring. We’ve been told it is coming, now it is happening. Experts say 2013 is the year that kicks off a wave of boomers retiring from careers they held for decades. “Some industries already are very focused on how to replace those exiting employees,” says Jennifer Schramm, manager of workplace trends and forecasting for the Society of Human Resource Management. Others will have to work hard and fast to develop the next generation of corporate leaders. At the same time, retirement creates a need for older workers to find ways to stay productive. Look for retirees to seek out opportunities to find work that helps them contribute to the greater good or causes they care about, says Marci Alboher, VP of Encore.org and author of The Encore Career Handbook: How to Make a Living and a Difference in the Second Half of Life. “They will be looking for opportunities to do something impactful.”
• Newly designed workplaces. Our workspaces are changing along with our work habits. As collaboration becomes more important, we are finding that workplaces that allow for sharing ideas are the new norm — open floor plans and collaborative work environments, standing work stations and dual monitors. We also see an increasing number of co-working or shared office space and virtual offices, preparing us to say goodbye to office cubicles of the past and look forward to opportunities for better networking. And while we’re at it, we will likely be bringing our own device with us to the office of the future. A Cisco study showed a staggering 95 percent of organizations permit employee-owned devices in the workplace. This includes laptops, tablets and smartphones.
Leading organizations recognize the challenges and opportunities that these trends bring. For most, the belt tightening is over and 2013 will be the year to refocus on top talent and move forward together.
Cindy Krischer Goodman is CEO of BalanceGal LLC, a provider of news and advice on how to balance work and life. Connect with her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit worklifebalancingact.com.