My favorite workplace trends for 2018

Eva Del Rio’s perspective published on the The Gainesville Sun website. 

During the last week of every year, I scout business articles and professional journals for next year’s workplace trends (so you don’t have to). Here are the three I found most interesting for 2018:

More human interaction

Consider this a backlash/adjustment to the “remote working” trend. IBM stopped its program, bringing thousands of employees back to the office. Apple is redesigning its workspace to promote worker relationships, idea-sharing and collaboration. Google Cafés encourage interactions between employees across departments and teams. Companies find that when employees bump into each other in real life, it sparks creativity and relationship-building that leads to good things.

IMPLICATION: Nothing beats face-to-face communication. According to Harvard Business Review, researchers found that one face-to-face conversation is equivalent to 34 emails.

Retraining current workers

There’s a focus on bringing manufacturing jobs back, but we actually don’t have a lack of jobs, we have a skills gap. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics there are currently 6.2 million unfilled job openings. Companies can’t find workers with the right skills. In addition, we not only lack the right set of skills, but those we do have are becoming less relevant quicker. Change is happening so fast that the half-life of a learned skill is only five years. And, this sentence blew my mind: “As our youngest Generation Z enters the workplace, they face an even greater skills gap, where 65% of the jobs they will need to fill don’t even exist yet.”


Companies are adapting and training. AT&T is investing 1 billion through its Workforce 2020 initiative, to help create a more skilled employee base. Develop your staff.

Artificial intelligence

At Overstock, the HR chatbot called Mila (yes, there’s such a thing), notifies managers when employees are sick. At Intel, an HR virtual assistant answers questions about pay and benefits.


Almost half of all paid tasks are likely to be automated. This is expected to save companies over $79 million yearly in salaries. On the bright side, some forecasters anticipate that humans will be “upskilled” to work alongside artificial intelligence, not simply be replaced by it.

Now, dazzle your friends with trivia and consider yourself “in the know.” Happy 2018!

About Timmothy Boettcher

Business Career Originally recruited in 1998 as a software engineer to design and develop cutting edge technology for new products, Mr. Boettcher assumed leadership for Research and Development and then Engineering before being named President of Realityworks in 2005. Responsible for total operations, he has driven significant understanding of market opportunities, gatekeepers, and funding in education, healthcare, and public service markets; bolstered production and supply chain efficiencies; acquired and launched new age technology; rebuilt leadership competencies; led growth into the Company’s over 65% US school system and over 90 country presence; and led the implementation of the Company’s ESOP to build on the societal mission of the Company and further the family oriented culture to reward employees for their success in achieving the mission and efforts to drive growth. Focused on high market growth, he has led the Company’s turnaround and achieved double-digit top line growth simultaneously with dramatic profit and cash flow improvement. Mr. Boettcher brings more than twenty years of engineering, product development, and global operations experience in education, advanced technology, manufacturing, and distribution industries. Prior to joining Realityworks, he held positions at Cray Research, a leading manufacturer of the world’s fastest supercomputers and Wal-Mart Distribution, the world’s leader in distribution and logistics. Professional & Community Activities Mr. Boettcher is passionate about building effective connections between our countries workforce development system, economic development programs, and education infrastructure. A solid connection between these systems is needed to ensure our youth and workforce are prepared to be global competitive and ready to take on the challenges and needs faced by industry. In delivering on this passion Mr. Boettcher: - has presented workforce development strategies on the national level for Harvard’s Pathway’s to Prosperity, U.S. Department of Labor, and at many Career and Technical Education events. - established and currently chairs the Industry Workforce Needs Council (IWNC), a national level group of industry leaders that works directly with education to increase support for Career and Technical Education in the country in alignment with industry needs. - served on the Board of Directors for the Association for Career and Technical Education. - chaired the Western Wisconsin Workforce Development Board (Chair) to help establish and lead regional workforce development initiatives. - established and led the Innovation Foundation of Western Wisconsin (Chair) to help bring critical C-level talent to start-ups and small to mid-sized companies to help them grow. - served on the Board for the Eau Claire Economic Development Corporation (President). - and provides guidance to institutions like the International Business Programs Advisory Council of the University of Wisconsin (Eau Claire). Mr. Boettcher also holds seven U.S. and foreign patents.

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