Whilst there are some positive signs that the economy is slowly improving, this alone won't be enough for businesses to succeed in 2014, warns workplace services provider PHS Group plc. Increasingly, customers are putting pressure on businesses by demanding services which lead to better productivity and higher revenues, while keeping costs to a minimum.
Following an investigation into the top trends for next year, PHS has identified a number of elements set to play a key part in 2014 business practice. PHS says businesses should be proactive in developing a strategy to implement some of these trends.
Andrew Johnston, group head of marketing at PHS Group plc, said: “It's common sense for businesses to keep upcoming trends on the radar. Undoubtedly, 2014 is going to be challenging for businesses but if our 10 key trends are considered wisely, they could give companies a clear advantage over competitors. Business is constantly evolving and businesses, big and small, must embrace change or face the prospect of being left behind.”
PHS says the following 10 trends should be considered throughout 2014:
• Bitcoin - this virtual currency was launched in 2008 and is traded within a global network of computers. It's set to gain momentum in 2014, following the opening of the first Bitcoin ATM in Canada in 2013.
• Speed - if you think things are fast-paced now, wait until 2014. Technology is getting faster, and with that, so are timeframes from customers.
• Clever data - 2013 was all about 'big data', 2014 will move toward 'clever data' due to increased demands for personalised, real-time data, delivered safely and securely.
• Little things - tiny enhancements to businesses will build up to bigger bottom line improvements. Look out for business leaders focusing on micro-improvements in every area of their business.
• Super-clean - the spread of diseases and infection, teamed with society's paranoia about cleanliness and hygiene, will lead to the demand for highly clean working conditions.
• Helpful - businesses must bend over backwards in 2014 to please demanding customers - whether it be through products or services.
• Natural workplace - getting teams in the right frame of mind will be a core strategy for HR departments, encouraged through greener workspaces, with more plants, fresh air, and better ambiances.
• 'In-outsourcing' - 2012 brought outsourcing. 2013 brought insourcing. 2014 will mark the birth of the hybrid as business will mix in-house staff and outsourced service providers to combine the skills of a number of experts and create an even tighter service.
• The Internet of Things (IoT) - the concept that if all objects were equipped with identifiers they could be wirelessly connected to the Internet of Things, and from there, managed and inventoried by computers. This could lead to the transformation of many businesses.
• 'Freemium' - perhaps one of the biggest trends for 2014, more brands and businesses will invest in free content to forge direct relationships with customers and create increased loyalty and brand awareness.
To read about these trends in full, download PHS' free 2014 trends guide by visiting: www.phs.co.uk/news/group/PHS-Group-plc-publishes-key-business-trends-for-2014.