Business trends to watch

Changing cultures, politics, technologies and the immersion of new generations into the workplace are shaping the business landscape and bringing with them some quite significant adjustments to the way we work. New and emerging business trends are redefining the way organisations are run, business trends which are likely to become permanent fixtures in the working world for years to come.

The business revolution is coming – are you on board?

Here are six emerging business trends that could help transform the way you work for the better.

Remote working is here to stay

business trends

It’s no secret that handheld devices are now making it easier to work from anywhere and everywhere. Sending an email on the train, conference calls from the beach and reading reports in the bath have all become common occurrences for professionals across all sectors. A recent survey of business leaders at the London Global Leadership Summit found that a huge 34% of participants said that more than half of their workforce are now working entirely remotely.

According to another study, nearly 70% of Millennials would be more likely to choose an employer who offered remote working.

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The concept of working from home has become one of the fastest growing and most significant business trends within the last decade. The traditional 9-5 working day is being phased out by many employers in favour of flexible hours and multi-platform communication. Benefits for employees include cutting out busy commutes, avoiding office distractions and the flexibility to manage childcare and other responsibilities more effectively. For business owners, a remote workforce can mean reduced office costs, improved employee retention and access to a wider pool of applicants.

As this business trend continues to grow, employees are beginning to see flexibility at work as a right rather than a reward/benefit. Indeed, the industry is shifting from a structured 9-5 day, which is more appealing for both employees and employers looking for a better work/life balance.

Studies have shown that remote workers are happier and, believe it or not, even more productive than those who work in an office but could struggle to switch off outside of the working day

Use your data wisely

business trends

As we begin to spend more and more of our time online, our consumers are growing increasingly more hesitant about giving away personal details. And it’s no wonder, considering the number of highly publicised data breaches and hacking scandals that have occurred in recent years.

For business owners, it is important to understand how to use data sensitively so that it is useful for a consumer, rather than for your own gain. Rather than implementing an irresponsible marketing strategy which could feel intrusive and impersonal, be creative and talk to your audiences with an intelligent focus. Show them that you know them and understand them. Add value. Educate. Engage.

The bottom line? Start investing in resources to create more innovative campaigns. Talk with your customers, don’t shout at them. The ‘hard sell’ approach is now an out of date strategy as consumers are becoming accustomed to a more tailored buying journey. It is no longer good enough to simply push your products onto customers and expect them to buy. Selling is becoming more about a conversation rather than a broadcast.

Ultimately, 78% of salespeople engaged in the concept of social selling are outdoing their peers who are not. Engage and cherish your repeat customers and they will trust you more than ever and buy from you forever.

Experience sells

Over the last few years, there has been a shift in the way people spend, and this looks set to continue. Generally speaking, consumer trust is built increasingly more on brand experience, rather than the quality of the product alone. This is a hugely significant change in consumer behaviour and is very important to marketing and sales strategies. Customers are now looking for more from brands than a good product.

Customer experience is fast becoming a top priority for businesses as they evolve to meet changes in consumer behaviour. And top brands are scrutinising their customer journeys to find ways to improve all areas of service for users both on and offline.

Mobile is now responsible for 63.4% of all web traffic, meaning if your business isn’t accessible via smartphone, you could be missing out on a huge portion of your target market. Read our 5 reasons why you need to make your business mobile friendly to find out more.

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Experience is a powerful differentiating factor for companies in competitive and commoditised markets. In a hugely saturated market, what makes your product different from another? Perhaps very little. However, the experience you give your customers can set you apart.

Take global super brand Starbucks as an example. They sell coffee – a common, competitive and simple product. Coffee beans are a cheap commodity shared by countless other coffee shops and vendors within walking distance of your local Starbucks at probably a fraction of the price.

Starbucks creates an engaging and personal experience in a simple yet ingenious way by writing the name of the customer on their cups, rather than the type of coffee, reinforcing the idea that the beverage has been made especially for them.

The moral of the story? Give your customers an experience that they can’t find anywhere else and they will keep coming back for more. Whether it be a simple buying process, a seamless customer service approach or a beautifully designed website, it pays to improve experience, so make sure you invest in yours.

Employee engagement

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Employee engagement is a concept that businesses are using to create a happy, stable and contented work force whilst improving retention figures and productivity.

The concept of an engaged employee culture has become a high contender in our list of business trends over the last 18 months and is a hot topic amongst recruiters and HR professionals. With more Boomers retiring each year, Millennials’ share in the UK workforce is dramatically increasing and bringing with them new ideas, business trends and influences.

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Changes in the business landscape have created a competitive jobs market as it is no longer common practice for employees to stay with the same company throughout their working life. The median tenure for workers age 25 to 34 is now just 3.2 years and nearly half of all Millennials plan to leave a job within 2 years.

In order to retain valued staff, companies must tailor their strategies to this group, as employees become more and more likely to leave a role for pastures new. Total Jobs report that Millennial workers list ‘company culture’, ‘job satisfaction’ and ‘good work/life balance’ above ‘salary’ and ‘job title’ in the most important factors they look for in role.

Want to know more about how to build an employment engagement strategy? Read our 3 Reasons why employee engagement is important

Gen Z enters the workplace

Millennials have begun to take more prominent roles in the workplace and the so-called ‘Generation Z’ (a term used to describe those born between 1995 and 2010) are starting to filter through into entry-level roles.

Forbes suggests that although similar in attitude, the differences between Millennials and Generation Z are significant enough to create changes within the job market and within recruiting organisations.

For you, this means getting to know the needs and drivers of this emerging generation and adapting your workplace culture accordingly. This will help your business gain a competitive advantage to capture the recruitment, and consequently, the custom of an emerging Gen Z market.

Green consumers

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Research has revealed that consumers are more likely to buy from a brand that they believe is committed to helping the environment.

In Mintel’s Europe: Consumer Trends report, market research puts huge emphasis on the direct correlation between a green business and its potential for growth

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For example, it found that 72% of respondents would be interested in buying products made with recycled plastic and 79% believed people should be incentivised to recycle plastic.

Purchasing mentality is changing and this needs to be something that business owners are aware of when trying to appeal to their audiences. Read more about the benefits of becoming an eco friendly business.

So, will you use our business trends to improve how you operate?

With these insights, you can go the extra mile to make sure your company is completely prepared to thrive in the ever evolving business landscape.

But before you go the extra mile, you need to make sure you’ve got the basics covered – which includes securing a good value tariff.

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