2015 has been a roller-coaster of a year. There have been soaring highs combined with twists, turns and a strong dose of the unexpected.
Business and technology continue to thrive, rapidly advancing and creating an ever more connected world, driven by data and processing power, where the possibilities for growth and advancement appear to be endless.
There is genuine excitement, not just in being able to change the way we work but also the way we consume products, information and services. Through using technology, data and software we’re able to change the shape of the world by putting the focus on the individual.
From wearable tech helping to optimise the body’s performance to the investment we’ve seen in employee health and wellbeing, the trend has been, not just to focus on being able to do more, but being able to do more while being better at it. Improving productivity has been key and the main driver for increased productivity is employee engagement and happiness.
To this end, we’ve seen the following trends emerge in 2015:
Optimisation. Optimisation has been a buzzword of 2015 and is being applied by businesses on a macro and micro level. Businesses who are optimising their workforce are seeing huge returns from a more efficient way of working. Naked Juicebar, who use Quinyx to create and optimise their schedules, have managed to save a day of their time each week which they now invest back in their business and customers. This comes from business optimisation on the macro level. The use of intelligence for optimisation is also happening on an individual level, especially when it comes to health and wellbeing. Through fitness trackers, smart watches and other wearable technology we’re now becoming more aware of how our body functions and this is directly related to performance.
Health & Wellbeing. Knowing performance is related to mental, physical and emotional health means the importance being placed on health and wellbeing has reached unprecedented levels. Big businesses are putting the employee first, from 91% of bosses thinking employees return to work recharged and refreshed after a vacation to the added value of wellbeing schemes being a core component in staff retention. This ties in with a wider trend we’ve seen in both ‘wellness’ and ‘mindfulness.’ Employers are encouraging this and reaping the benefits from their employees who, as a result, are performing better.
Technology & Data. This year has seen an explosion in connectivity and the rise of the internet of things. Alongside this, our smartphones are turning into the devices where we increasingly expect to be able to control all aspects of our lives, from our daily schedules to the temperature of our homes. This is being powered by more companies adopting what ZDNet call a ‘cloud first’ approach which is now the ‘de facto standard delivery model for software and enterprise infrastructure.’ This in turn is fuelling big data with the amount of data being stored globally growing at an exponential rate. In business, analysing and using this data is allowing us to make smarter and more effective decisions, again helping us to optimise the way we work.
A changing workforce. Millennials now make up the largest demographic of customers and employees. They will soon make up the largest demographic of business owners. Millennials expect a number of things; they want to work for, and buy from, a businesses they care about and that cares about them in return, they want to buy into a clear vision from the business they work for, and they want to be able to see their progression without being pigeonholed to one role. The changing demographic in the workforce is seeing businesses adopt a flatter structure with managers being replaced by coaches and mentors.
Connecting customers. Forbes claims we now live in a Connection Economy, where the biggest taxi company in the world (Uber) owns no taxis, the largest accommodation provider (AirBnB) owns no property and the largest media company (Facebook) creates a minimal amount of it’s own content. What they all do is bring people together, using technology and data to power the connections. Users seek to connect with other users because this transcends the product and becomes inherently more useful. The lesson for all us is to keep delivering even after the sale of our products to deliver a better experience for our customers.
The dynamics of our industry means we’re always fast paced, always pushing boundaries and always searching for solutions which can be delivered more effectively and efficiently while at the same time enriching people’s lives. That’s our challenge and one we always strive to meet both now and in the years ahead.