ServiceNow 2018 Predictions: Work’s Breaking Point

As we begin 2018, many knowledge workers feel burned out from screen fatigue, long commutes and too much busywork. Have we hit the breaking point? Here are ServiceNow’s predictions on the future of work for 2018 and beyond:

1. Work levels will rise 20% at most companies.

People will feel like they’re working a 6th day a week in 2018. While the work pace quickens, we add more on our work treadmill from a constant flow of work requests. Business leaders already spend 16 hours per week on manual tasks. Unfortunately, with so much busywork, getting more work done will not necessarily raise productivity or our ability to deliver on strategic initiatives.

2. About half of today’s employees will hit their breaking point 
in 2018.

Employee feel like they are burning the candle at both ends. In fact, 46% said they will need greater workplace efficiencies in 2018 just to get their jobs done. The resulting employee burnout will likely spur the sales of yoga mats and hours of TV binge-watching to escape work stress. Yet, the real tension will come in 2020 when ServiceNow predicts that 9 out of 10 companies will require greater automation just to get everyday work done.

3. Firms that eliminate busywork will grow faster.

While most employees will struggle under the deluge of manual tasks in 2018, elite companies will invest in optimizing their user experience. Companies with the highest levels of process automation are 6x more likely to reach achieve growth of 15% and higher. There is a direct relationship between the efficiencies that companies inject into their workplace services and the quality of the experience they deliver. Companies like Amazon and Netflix create a sustainable competitive advantage through that investment.

4. Our work lives will become as mobile friendly as our consumer lives.

In 2020, millennials will make up a majority of the workforce, so the next two years will mark a major shift in work. Millennials are 4x as likely to request workplace services via mobile as compared to Baby Boomers. In the past, workplace mobile adoption lagged, with mobile apps used for only 1 in 20 service requests. Getting work done anytime, anywhere through great mobile experiences should be as easy as hailing a taxi or booking a dinner reservation. The influence that millennials have on everybody’s user expectations will lead to a demand for better and more mobile experiences. Get ready for a major mobile march in the enterprise.

5. Advancing soft skills will be your best career investment in 2018.

Hiring talent will be an even bigger challenge to most companies. Already 82% of executives find it difficult to hire people with skills needed to grow their business. While STEM skills will remain scarce, 94% of executives say artificial intelligence in the workplace will increase the demand for soft skills such as collaboration, creative problem solving and communication. Shoring up these skills will spur success in many career paths.

We spend a third of our lives at work so we need great work experiences for personal fulfillment and the success of our organizations. Let’s resolve to evolve work in 2018 and beyond.