Top workplace trends we will see in 2017 according to experts

Picture of Gregory Blondeau

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To start the year I asked several workplace experts in my Linkedin network what they believed was THE most important workplace-related trend for 2017.

Here are their answers:

Trend 1: Workplace as a living organism

blog-workplace-trends-2017-kati-burgant.png"The most important trend for this year is to see and treat the workplace as a living organism. By this, to see and treat the holistics of the workplace - the digital workplace, the physical workplace and the leadership/culture. And to see and treat it as a process - continuously monitoring, adapting and developing the workplace.

We want truly smart - attractive, productive, efficient and sustainable - workplaces, and we want them also to stay smart over time. And for that we need holistics and continuity."

Kati Barklund, Group Innovation Manager at Coor Service Management Group

Trend 2: Health and Wellbeing


"With the launch of Fitwel and the importance of health, to a productive workforce, Health and Wellbeing has to be the most important trend for this year. It is also 10 years since the medical community made a major push for better recognition of preventative medicine, of which Health and Wellbeing is part."

William Poole-Wilson, Principal at Perkins+Will

Trend 3: Increased openness & flexibility


"The organisations will continue on the path to increased openness and flexibility. The collaboration craze will be balanced by a growing understanding of importance of focused work. Internet of Things & workplace sensors will quadruple our understanding of how we work, communicate & use office space. Predictive analytics will start revolutionizing FM. IoT and smartphone apps will bring enhancement of employee experience.

In the workplace field, 2017 will be the most exciting in a while. Who knows? Maybe even organisational cultures will follow the trend...!"

Maciej MarkowskiHead of Workplace Strategy CEE at Cushman & Wakefield 

Trend 4: Shift to an experience-based workplace

kay-sargent.png"As we shift from a commodity based society to one that is experience based, place takes on new importance. To meet the needs of their people, organizations are looking to create a curated experience to enhance the UX, user experience." 

Kay Sargent, Senior Principal - Director of WorkPlace, HOK 

Trend 5: Fragmentation of the workplace


"Biggest workplace trend? I think it will be the continued fragmentation of the workplace. We are moving away from "single best" designs to more customized and tailored workplaces. As part of that I also foresee the continued decline of private or assigned workstations. I believe we will see people working in many places over the course of a day or a week. They will choose their place as a function of what they need to do and to accomplish.

'My office' will become wherever I am, with my laptop or smartphone and an Internet connection. Workers will be mobile, flexible, and self-controlled. They will be measured on outputs or results, not on time or other input resources."

James Ware, PhD, Chief Meeting Design Strategist

Trend 6: Project-based hiring


"A trend that has been creeping on us by stealth is the rate at which staff are being laid off and rehired by project as self-employed workers with no benefits. There are advantages and disadvantages to both the organization and the individual.

But 2017 is likely to be the year in which sleeping giants are awoken and decide to figure out what this all means: on-boarding and accommodating contract staff quickly and successfully, IP considerations, loyalty, accessing the right talent on-demand, market places for free-lancers, the self-employed, productivity considerations, access to new ideas and experience, variable work force and new paradigms of workforce value versus cost."

Chris Hood, Director at Advanced Workplace Associates (AWA)

Trend 7: People will break out of organizational straightjackets


"The single most important trend this year will be that people will finally start to break out of organizational straightjackets. They will begin to experiment, take risks, break rules (with care) and shortcut (unnecessarily complex) enterprise processes in order to create value for customers and for the workforce. I call this "freedom within a framework".

The framework is both work culture and technology-based. It is being built and already exists in some organizations. It will become more widespread over 2017."

Jane McConnellOrganization in the Digital Age: Advisor, Analyst and Speaker (Report) 

Trend 8: Personalization of the digital workplace 


"I think the most important trend for this year would be the personalization of the digital workplace - i.e. the targeted delivery of the tools, applications, dashboards, content, contacts - that people need to do their work based on their job role, location and/or business unit.

LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook already does this - i.e. every end user has a unique home page. I think this same trend will continue to evolve in the work places as well."

Andrew Wright, Founder of the Worldwide Intranet Challenge and intranet transformation expert 

Trend 9: Increase in activity-based workspaces


“The increase in shared space environments and activity-based work, coupled with the strong emphasis that has been placed on engaging the workforce, empowering employees to seek out the type of space best suited for the task, and creating a positive workplace experience, will result in a new confluence.

Organizations will be driven to quantify the impact that the physical work environment has on workforce productivity. The data most beneficial to the enterprise will be both quantifiable and qualifiable, enabling opportunities for translating the findings into actionable areas for improvement.”

Diane Stegmeier, CEO & Founder of Stegmeier Consulting Group 

Trend 10: Infinite workplace


"The most important workplace trend in 2017 is INFINITE WORKPLACE. 

Fast growing startups and enterprises alike are rejecting the constraints of traditional real estate leasing, and the cost and waste that comes with committing to a fixed location and fixed term for all work activity. In its place, companies are adopting Infinite Workplace strategies, tapping the full array of flexible space options now available from Coworking providers, Serviced Offices, Private Businesses sharing space and Landlords offering flexible terms."

Mark GilbreathCEO/Founder/Skipper of LiquidSpace


Let me thank our panel of experts for their insights. Many of them returned for our 2018 edition and 2019 edition!


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