For the past ten years or so, as cloud-based devices and platforms have become more ubiquitous, and a growing population of working age people have become accustomed to working on the go, there’s has been a very noticeable shift away from traditional workplace attitudes and setups.

home bizBusinesses are increasingly looking for ways to work smarter and more innovatively, relying on a new generation of workers who have literally grown up with the digital age. These people are more accustomed to flexible, collaborative work environments that often involve working outside of the office. This means more co-working spaces instead of the traditional office and cubicle set up. It means work schedules that incorporate a significant amount of flextime, and it often means allowing employees to work outside of the office. Finally, there is much more collaboration and the sharing of knowledge among employees of different departments and different functions. So, cross-training is becoming more and more prevalent

These trends aren’t something that small businesses should just push away since they can have a significant impact on worker productivity and job satisfaction, as well as the ability to attract competent employees and keep them from leaving the company.

Here is a more detailed rundown of the benefits of incorporating these trends into the way your business operates:

Attracting qualified workers. Surprisingly, approximately 30% of small businesses have job openings that they can’t fill because they can’t find qualified workers. How can this be? The truth is, these workers do exist, they are just not ready to compromise on their career development and their work attitudes to even apply for a position at company that doesn’t respect the new workplace reality. Small businesses need to recognize that maximum flexibility and mobility have to be essential parts of the workplace, or else younger workers will look elsewhere.

Increase productivity. It has been well documented that flextime improves both employee job satisfaction and productivity. It also is more in line with the lifestyle embraced by today’s workers. This means, it will not only help you get better outputs from your employees, but they’ll also be more likely to stick around as mentioned above.

Increase innovation. Creating a workspace that encourages collaboration and flexibility can actually help fuel innovation. At a time when ideas and intellectual capital are at a premium, this is no small thing. If your business involves constantly changing consumer trends, technologies, and services, then creating a collaborative works space just makes sense.

In short, the rules of work are already changing. The question is, are you positioning your business in accordance with them? In many cases, those that ignore these trends may find their businesses have fallen far behind, and it may not be so easy to catch up at that point.