5 Ways to Prepare Your Workplace for 2024
The landscape of work is always changing, and the past few years have shown that employers must remain agile and ready to adapt or risk losing valuable employees. Taking the time and effort to prepare your business — and your work environment — for these shifts and challenges will help you better weather the storm and emerge on the other side with healthy, happy employees.
Here are five ways to prepare your workplace for 2024.
Get Comfortable with AI
Artificial intelligence has been a common topic of discussion — and much hand-wringing — for quite some time. But, as we saw in 2023, businesses must make peace with incorporating AI in their operations in a way that makes sense or run the risk of missing out on valuable time- and energy-saving technology.
AI is much more than just a way to generate text and imagery; it can be used in the form of a chatbot that helps you screen customer requests, help you automate a process that frees up your human capital for other work and a variety of other options. The key to effectively leveraging AI in your business is to find the use that works for your needs.
Take some time to think about the parts of your business that could use some automation or otherwise may benefit from AI. Maybe you get emails and phone calls at all hours of the day and night from customers, and a chatbot on your website could respond to those inquiries and get customers immediate answers. Once you’ve identified a potential use for AI in your business, find a platform that will do what you need done.
The remote vs. in-office debate doesn’t show any signs of waning. While you may already have policies in place regarding how often your workers are present in the office, especially if the work you do relies upon workers being physically present, you can still embrace flexibility.
If you’re able, allowing workers to choose the time of day that best fits their lifestyle and their working style can go a long way toward keeping workers happy and healthy. Workers who are more suited to getting work started at 6 a.m. and finishing by 2 p.m., for example, will be more likely to stay employed with you long-term if you allow them to work on this schedule. The same goes for those who prefer the traditional 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule, or those who may be better suited to a 4 p.m. to midnight schedule.
This sort of flexibility doesn’t work for every business, of course, but you can still allow workers some flexibility in their schedules.
If workers need to make doctor appointments during the workday, for example, or they have an event at their children’s school they’d like to attend, give them the freedom to take some time off without eating into their PTO bank. Make it known that you trust your workers to get their tasks done even if they need to be out of the office for a bit and allow them to operate without micromanaging them.
Workers who feel that you trust them and value their contribution to your business are more likely to stick around for years, giving you their hard work and time.
Focus on Building Human Skills
Your business needs employees who know how to complete the tasks their jobs call for to be successful, but looking beyond just the technical skills when hiring and developing workers is key to longevity and overall success as a company.
Skills such as data analysis, CNC machine operation or plumbing are necessary and valuable to look for in your employees, especially when hiring for a specific position. However, the skills that will help your employees thrive in their jobs, keep your customers coming back to work with your business and take you to the next level as a company are those soft skills that aren’t always taught in college or technical training programs.
Things like empathy, listening skills and problem-solving are considered “soft skills” or “human skills.” Looking for these skills in your employees, and giving them opportunities to develop them, could mean the difference between you being able to promote from within and having to launch an expensive external search the next time a managerial position opens.
These human skills also benefit your business on a day-to-day basis. If you’ve got a workforce that’s able to effectively communicate and solve problems with very little assistance, your business is better off, and your managers can focus on all the other tasks and projects to help your business grow and evolve.
Prioritize Employee Wellbeing
Employees who are healthy and feel they have a good work-life balance are more likely to be productive and turn in quality work. Because your workers spend so much of their time at work — and because so much about your business rides on them working hard while they’re there — supporting their wellbeing is in the best interest of your company.
Providing the opportunity for flexible working hours and working conditions is one way to support worker wellbeing, as is providing a full suite of healthcare benefits. However, you can go beyond offering health insurance and include access to an onsite clinic that cares for everything from work-related injuries to routine wellness appointments. Hosting a robust employee wellness program that helps your workers set and reach health-related goals can set you apart from the competition while helping your workers stay safe and healthy.
Wellness challenges — more than weight loss challenges — gamify building healthy habits and can help you increase worker morale. If you host a challenge that encourages everyone to drink a gallon of water daily, for example, with each individual participant’s progress displayed publicly, even those who aren’t participating in the challenge can cheer on their coworkers and encourage a supportive environment that carries over into their regular work.
Leverage Data and Digitization
Without data, knowing whether a new project or improvement effort is successful is nearly impossible. And keeping records old school, with a pen and paper, just wastes time, resources and money that could be better utilized elsewhere.
Too often, companies get caught up in the “how” of data collection and digitization, spending lots of time and money finding the perfect software platform, and they lose sight of the “why.” To make data collection and digitization work for you, it’s essential to remember why you want to collect data. You want to ensure that your efforts are making a difference, so you don’t waste everyone’s time and talents on something that could have been easily recalibrated.
Thinking through the reasons why you’re capturing data, whether it’s how many more customers you’re serving, how much more quickly you’re producing a product or how many more dollars you’re saving in overhead, can help you find the right platform for data collection and analysis, and the right digitization tools. Having a clear idea of what you’re tracking, what sort of improvement you want to see and why you’re collecting the data will help you more quickly find the means to collect that data and, in the end, make it more valuable to your business.
Your Workplace Health & Wellness Partner
At Medcor, it’s our goal to help you keep your business profitable and excelling, by helping you support the overall health and wellness of each of your workers. Whether that’s through a full-time onsite clinic, 24/7 injury and illness triage or a customized employee wellness program, we can help you support total worker health for reduced medical costs, increased productivity and total worker health. Speak with an advocate today.