Finding your Ideal Workplace for Now and the Future
Whether you are graduating from college this year or you’ve been in the workforce for many years, it’s always a good idea to keep a pulse on your personal priorities as well as employment trends in order to set yourself up for success and find fulfillment in your career, both now and in the future.
Before looking ahead, let’s take a glimpse into the current workplace conditions. As of August 2017, there were 6 million open jobs in the U.S. Additionally, about 10,000 Baby Boomers are retiring daily.(1) Sounds great for applying for a new job, right? Although there may be many opportunities for employment, it’s critical to do your personal due diligence in order to prepare yourself for your most ideal career path. Furthermore, keeping an eye on the future of the workplace allows you to align your priorities in an employer with your forward looking vision. Whether your aspirations include working on Google’s state-of-the-art campus, or starting a new business from the comfort of your home, here are some factors you may want to consider as it relates to your priorities in a place of work (2):
Culture – culture is one of the biggest factors to consider early on in your career. Do you enjoy collaborating with others? Or do you prefer a head down, quiet place to work? Of course office perks and benefits are a factor in your employment choice, but recent studies have shown that other areas of the workplace matter more and can have an even bigger impact on your overall sense of fulfillment at a company. Here are some questions you can ask in an interview to drill down into the culture of the company:
- What is the culture like here?
- Are there any companies that you’d compare your company culture to?
- How important is teamwork and cross-collaboration to this company?
- How does leadership foster collaboration?
- Can you explain the office layout and how that fits in with the company culture?
Flexibility – considering 75% of millennials think a “work from home” or “work remote” policy is highly important, flexibility could be one of your main considerations. It’s important to ask clarifying questions before you commit to a job so that there are no surprises and you are clear on the company policy. If you are an independent worker or have other commitments outside of work, this could be one of your primary considerations. Questions to ask in an interview so you get an overall sense of the company’s flexibility include:
- What would my work schedule look like here?
- Is there flexibility in work schedules and hours?
- Is it mandatory to work from the office?
- What is the company policy for working remote?
Tools – if you don’t have access to the right tools and resources to do your job, then you’re not being set up for success. This is highly dependent on your profession, but could be as simple as having access to reliable internet and Wi-Fi, project management tools or even productive workstations. If you are early on in your career, you may be interested in cross-training and learning new skills. Or perhaps you’re interested in a mentorship type program. Here are some sample questions you may consider asking:
- What tools, resources or programs do your employees have that set you apart from other companies?
- Do you have new employee training? What would the first 30 days look like here?
- Do you support continuing education? How?
Technology – going hand-in-hand with Tools is access to Technology. Technology is ever-changing and could determine whether you are successful in your job or not. Technology can be used for collaboration, to drive productivity or to keep organized in your project work. If you have a specific profession with dedicated technology, make sure you are familiar with the programs the company uses. You may consider asking questions such as:
- What type of technology does this office use?
- How do you use technology to drive collaboration? (such as video conferencing, instant messaging, etc)
- Do you provide training to use any specific software or programs specific to this job?
Income Potential – although salary is typically a leading factor, you should also be aware of the income potential available at the company. In other words, what does your career growth look like at the company and how can that impact your earnings over time? Although salary can be an awkward topic to bring up, it is a standard part of any new hiring process. Here are some questions you should ask at the beginning of the hiring process:
- What is the salary for this position?
- Are there other incentives, such as bonuses or stock options?
- Do you typically promote from within or hire externally for positions?
- Can I grow here? Are there opportunities to move up within the company?
Benefits – employee perks and benefits should not be ignored. Whether that includes health benefits or paid time off (PTO), it’s important to have an understanding of your employee handbook before accepting any offer. You may consider asking general questions, such as can you explain the benefits here? Or, can I please get a copy of your employee handbook? Since this is typically later on in the hiring process, this would typically be brought up once an offer has been made.
As with anything in life, your priorities may change over time. This is why it’s important to take the time to reflect on what’s important to you and how you’re living that vision currently and looking ahead to the future.
Along with changes you experience in life, there are also many anticipated changes to the workplace. Here are some trends that may continue over the coming years (3):
- Corporate Delayering – by reducing the layers of management and moving away from the hierarchical structure, it drives more collaboration and crowd-based intelligence.
- Artificial Intelligence – as we’ve already seen, robots are here and are anticipated to take over many manual-labor type jobs. In fact, a University of Oxford report predicts that by 2030, we’ll have lost almost 50% of the workforce due to artificial intelligence.
- Creation of New Jobs – but looking on the bright side of the above, this could also create many new jobs to manage technology or support it.
- Global Freelancing – having a whole network of freelancers from anywhere in the world is cheaper and often more efficient than hiring a new employee.
- Delaying Retirement – not only are people living longer, but they also continue to work longer into the “standard years of retirement.”
- Removing headquarters – instead of having a primary hub for office headquarters, companies can hire the best employees all over the world without the limitations of a specific location.
Considering a typical nine-to-five job accounts for one-third of your total day, being satisfied and finding fulfillment in your choice of employer is imperative to your overall happiness and well-being. By preparing yourself both now and in the future allows you to make the best decisions and stay on course with your life’s aspirations and goals.
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“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” – Steve Jobs