Trends are always changing – even in the workplace. While larger companies might be in the loop of what’s trending, smaller companies are less likely to be in the know. With fewer employees, small business owners may have less access to information about popular culture, especially when it comes to office trends.
However, in order to stay competitive in the market and attract the right employees, it helps to know how you can further your business as well as what employees tend to like and dislike. Plus, with technology always changing, the next big thing could well be passé before the year ends. Be aware of these nine office trends.
- The rise of financial technology.
More and more retailers will be using mobile wallets in order to increase their payment options. Small businesses looking for loans will have new options available to them. Instead of banks and other traditional loans, small businesses will be able to use alternative lending. For those with a new product or service, crowdfunding will still be a viable option.
- Attract millennials.
Millennials are entering the workforce at record paces. Since they make up the largest percentage of the United States population, many will be looking to take on management roles, especially since several million baby boomers will soon retire. Small businesses must go above and beyond in order to attract these millennials, especially since they will be competing with large companies. Millennials have many job opportunities available to them, so they’ll be looking for jobs that offer unique benefits tailored to their needs, such as assistance with student loans and a valuable company culture.
- Focus on cyber security.
While corporations are more prone to cyber attacks, small businesses are not fully protected from these dangers. New currencies and payment options, such as Bitcoin and Apple Pay, result in increased attacks. Make sure your company implements safety precautions and that every employee abides by them. Also ensure that computers have firewalls and anti-virus software in place to protect sensitive information from these threats.
- Focus on a niche.
While the investors on Shark Tank may advise you to appeal to the widest audience possible, niche companies are finding success. Small businesses will want to create marketing messages focused on the needs and wants of their targeted, niche audience. The marketing should focus on building relationships rather than getting overly aggressive and trying to sell a product or service.
- Move toward outsourcing.
Instead of paying for salaried employees who demand benefits, small businesses can benefit from freelancers. Freelancers are available to work on an as-needed basis so that small businesses can pay for only the work they need done, whether it be on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
- Use of video will be important in marketing.
Video will be ubiquitous this year, and every small business should consider utilizing video if they want to succeed in the marketplace. Look to different marketing tools that incorporate the use of video, such as video series, YouTube, Facebook Live, Instagram and Snapchat. The more tools you use, the better.
- Increase in virtual and augmented reality.
Virtual reality will continue to be big but following close behind will be augmented reality. The difference between the two is that virtual reality swaps a real world for a virtual world, while augmented reality uses a computer to supplement reality. Certain elements are added to allow the user to manipulate his or her real world. While these forms of reality are often used for entertainment purposes, they can be used in the workplace. For example, learning aides for employees or a map of your office for potential employees and customers.
- Exercise caution when offering benefits.
Recently, more lawsuit against sponsor of 401(k) plans and IRA are being brought up by spurned employees. While it’s a nice gesture to offer benefits to your employees, make sure you’re able to follow through with them before you commit. If you can’t offer them for now, try to incentivize them another way. As you begin your small business, benefits have the potential to hurt your company financially. These plans can also be complicated, so make sure you understand the various rules and regulations.
- Create a digital office.
In the past, everything was printed. Documents were then signed, scanned and emailed to the appropriate parties. This process is not only damaging to the environment, but it’s also detrimental to employee morale and productivity. Resolve to stop printing so much. If you must print on a regular basis, use refurbished ink cartridges and 100 percent recycled paper. These supplies are made using materials that are better for the environment.
Printing less may seem challenging, but it’s not impossible. A fully digital office is now a reality. Thanks to improved security and an ever-growing number of software options, it’s now easier than ever to store everything online, which is more cost efficient for your business. Many companies have implemented paperless offices for quite some time, and this trend will likely continue in 2017.
New trends mean additional challenges for your company. Making money while staying relevant is not an easy task. Perhaps 2017 will be the year that you expand, or even begin, your small business. These trends can help you take your small business to the next level.
Tania Longeau serves as the Head of Services for InkjetSuperstore.com. Tania oversees a team of Operations and Customer Service Reps from the Los Angeles headquarters. Before joining InkjetSuperstore, Tania was a team leader and supervisor working for one of the biggest mortgage and real estate companies in the country. She is a happily married mother of one who enjoys spending time with her family and reading in her leisure hours.
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