The modern workplace: What has changed in the last 10 years? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Anabelle Smyth | 20th February 2017

Massive change can occur within a single day. So, how much transformation can take place over the course of a decade?

A recent survey by BambooHR, Then and Now: How a Decade Changed the Workplace, has revealed that there have been significant changes in the workplace – ranging from leadership trends to mobile work and flexibility.

It can be easy to forget the past as we embrace modern technology and attitudes. Take a moment to compare your current job with a role that you held a few years back. How many differences can you list between the two?

If your company is like most, your workplace is probably less structured and confined, the dress code is more relaxed, and there is increased flexibility to work and collaborate remotely.

Outdated policies and expectations are being discarded for environments that support employee engagement and satisfaction. These workplaces offer more than a place to toil away at a desk. They provide a space that caters to the unique needs of the people that make up these organisations.

What has contributed to this change?

While it would be impossible to peg down every factor that influenced changes in the workplace over the last decade, there are a couple reasons that stand out.

The emphasis on employee engagement has been more of a focus over the last few years and has resulted in businesses increasingly catering to their workers as people first. Workplaces are being designed to offer a more holistic space with places to meditate, play games, exercise, etc. These non-traditional workplaces are serving to support happier and more motivated employees.

Technology has also changed the workplace and contributed to some of the changes over the last 10 years. Mobile devices, video communication, file sharing, pulse surveys and a variety of other technological advancements have enhanced our ability to collaborate. They have also increased the potential for remote work opportunities.  Virtual teams are becoming more commonplace, and competition has become fiercer as access to new pools of talent has expanded.

So, what are employees saying about today’s workplace that they weren’t saying 10 years ago?

Then and now: A shifting workplace perspective

Workplace change quote

The workplace survey mentioned above extracted data from a 2016 survey that compared questions and responses from several related 2006 surveys. The findings were then organised in an infographic that you can check out below.

A few of the results include:

Increased growth opportunities:

When the 2016 survey results were compared with the responses from 2006, it became apparent that more employees are satisfied with the growth opportunities available to them today than they were 10 years prior. Approximately 14 percent more employees stated that they agreed or strongly agreed that their present employer offered the potential for career advancement.

Enhanced leadership:

There has been a 64 percent increase in positive perceptions around leadership since 2006. Per the 2016 survey, 71 percent of employees agree that they person they report to at work are effective leaders.

Remote work:

The number of remote workers has increased from 3 percent to 9 percent over the last 10 years. These employees are spending their working hours at coffee shops and libraries rather than the traditional office setting.


In 2006, half of employees felt that they came up with their best ideas when they were working at their desks. While this is still the number one place for idea conception today, the percentage of employees who feel this way has dropped to 27 percent. As far as productivity goes, 79 percent of employees stated that they do their best work at the office, which is down 6 percent from 2006. Out of the employees that work from home, about one in 10 stated that they felt this was where their best work was completed.

Finding inspiration:

Aside from the time spent at their desks, employees in 2016 found inspiration in a variety of places. A few of these places include at their homes when they weren’t working, at informal office locations, during their commute, while working from home and places where they engaged in strenuous activity.

Reward and recognition:

Do you feel like you receive meaningful recognition in the workplace? The percentage of respondents that felt this way has increased by 16 percent since 2006, which amounts to 7 out of 10 employees.

Electronic media:

While we are more connected than ever through technology, it appears that the monitoring of employee communication has dropped since 2006. Half of employers stated that they monitored employee emails 10 years ago, but only 29 percent of them claimed to do it in 2016. This statistic likely indicated an increased level of trust in the workplace.

Stress and anxiety:

It appears that employees are healthier today than they were in 2006. Approximately 19 percent fewer employees use food to relieve their stress and 5 percent more employees work through their stress by exercising.

Employee retention:

Job satisfaction seems to have increased over the last decade, with 2 out of 3 employees stating that they would choose their current job over a similar position at another company. In 2006, only half of employees had this level of job satisfaction.

The stats above represent just a portion of the findings from the BambooHR survey. The rest of the details are contained in the infographic below:

The modern workplace employee satisfaction infographic