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Several experts on workplace technology, data, and compensation offer predictions on the likely-but-not-obvious trends they believe will take hold in the office in 2019. Carol Sladek, who leads Aon’s work-life consulting program, believes more companies this year will start to extend “family leave” to non-parents who want time off to care for an aging parent, grieve for a lost family member or help with a sick spouse. In addition, as companies have to offer more to lure in new workers, pay disparity is on the rise between established employees and those who’ve been newly recruited. As pay transparency grows, the problem could lead to morale issues between workers and headaches for managers, meaning that companies will need to make more-frequent adjustments, said Brian Kropp, the group vice president for Gartner’s human resources practice. Third, employees will grow more concerned about the use of their personal data, predicts Kristina Bergman, the CEO of Integris Software. Bergman anticipates more pressure for employers to provide some of the same options to their workers that customers have, such as being able to request access to information that companies have about them. Furthermore, offices will increasingly have “phone booths” or “privacy pods” for people to have private conversations without taking up an entire meeting room designed for a larger group, says Jonathan Webb, vice president of workplace strategy at the design firm KI. The final predicted trend is that email will move past its peak in 2019 and continue its demise in the workplace, predicts Josh Bersin, an industry analyst who studies workplace technology. The popularity of messaging tools such as Slack will continue, he said, and greater adoption of workplace tech tools that “nudge” managers or employees via texts or other alerts could divert users from traditional emails as well.

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