It may still seem like business as usual back at the office, but according to many top HR analysts, 2016 is positioned to be a big year in the evolution of the American workplace! Here are some of the big trends expected to shake things up in the year ahead.

Flexibility: More Than A Perk

Yes — workplace flexibility is already a big trend and has been for some time. But some experts believe it’s likely to go from being a “perk” to a necessary move to combat burnout among office professionals.

Forbes contributor Dan Schawbel predicts workplace flexibility will become “the biggest topic of conversation” this year. Schawbel describes a discrepancy between a work culture still based on a traditional, 9-5 model and a reality in which employees work 47+ hours a week, take work home, and are expected to be reachable outside the office.

It’s a discrepancy that Schawbel suggests leads to the aforementioned feelings of burnout, leading to higher employee turnover (as it’s often given as a primary reason for searching for new positions) and may also lead to reduced productivity. Want to embrace flexibility in your office? Check out our article that breaks down the most effective approaches for telecommuting based on leading research.

Hello, Gen Z

Many Gen Zer’s have or will soon graduate from college. Chances are, you’ve received a few of their resumés — and perhaps even hired them.

According to Millennial Branding, which released a large-scale study of the generation and their immediate predecessors, Gen Y and Gen Z describe themselves as creative and open-minded. They value honesty in leaders, are more likely to be motivated by advancement opportunities than more money, and prefer face-to-face communication — although they do like to use technology to solve problems and believe it can enhance personal relationships when used appropriately.

As the New York Times notes, “Sure, millennials were digital; their teenage years were defined by iPods and MySpace. But Generation Z is the first generation to be raised in the era of smartphones. Many do not remember a time before social media.” This increasingly tech-intuitive workforce means the transition to digital, in HR and elsewhere in your company, should only get easier.

Amped Up Affordable Healthcare Act

The ACA goes into full effect this year. That means stiffer penalties for noncompliance, so it’s increasingly important to make sure your company is adequately covered given the number of types of workers you employ.

Need a little help? FingerCheck’s employee time tracking software offers ACA compliance features that calculate eligibility based on your HR data–you can learn more in this post.

All in all, it seems like 2016 is likely to be a year for finding truly innovative solutions, as we continue to create and demand work arrangements that provide efficiency and better overall quality of life.

What’s your take on these trends? What are the other hot topics you see emerging in your office?

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