Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Cancel Anytime
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

The year is ending on a couple of high notes for women in the workplace, including the recent appointment of Mary Barra as chief executive officer of General Motors Co., and the Ontario Securities Commission declaration that it would take action to get more women onto corporate boards. What might the new year hold?

In this space over the past 12 months, I have explored how women navigate in a man's world, how men manage in a women's world and how older and younger workers are coping with a changing business climate.

So what can we expect in 2014? Here are five themes I touched on this year, which I expect will continue to receive lots of attention in the new year.

Story continues below advertisement

1. Leaning in

This was the year of Lean In, where Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg launched a movement to encourage women to be assertive in taking their rightful spot at the table. As the term Lean In becomes last year's motto, the discussion will need to focus on concrete objectives such as reducing the dearth of women in top executive positions and enhancing the role men play at home. Lean In didn't really get at the fact that the traditional family structure is a relic. It's time companies – and individuals – start recognizing this and stop slotting people into traditional gender roles.

2. Farewell, 9 to 5

As unemployment and freelance work becomes more prevalent, it's time to acknowledge that the concept of working for one employer from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday, is now a rarity.

A large number of functions in knowledge-based organizations will continue to be farmed out, according to Bill Waters, a futurist and business strategist based in Waterloo, Ont. He sees many companies encouraging employees to work from home to reduce corporate overhead and believes this trend will evolve into contract roles so companies can avoid the costs that come with full-time employment relationships.

This is not all bad news. Marie Bountrogianni, interim dean of the G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education at Toronto's Ryerson University, said the idea of 9-to-5 no longer appeals to many younger workers, who want flexible work schedules. "It doesn't necessarily mean working more, or less – just differently," she said.

3. I tweet therefore I am

Story continues below advertisement

Advances in technology keep changing how we work, live and communicate with one another and that will only accelerate. I alienated many when I confessed to being addicted to my phone but I see my device as a social outlet and productivity tool. As mobile devices overtake computers, that trend will become more widespread.

Employers will continue to try to use advances in technology to boost collaboration and productivity. Last year, Deloitte predicted that more than 90 per cent of Fortune 500 companies would have a business social network. Duncan Stewart, director of technology, media and telecommunications at Deloitte Canada and the co-author of TMT Predictions, said he has not come across one major company that doesn't use some sort of enterprise social network.

Eventually, every worker will need to get on the social networking bandwagon, as it evolves from specialized role to core skill for every employee, according to Ms. Bountrogianni.

4. Millennial adjustment

Generation Y, or millennials, continued to baffle other generations in the workplace, who often dubbed them lazy and disloyal. Maybe an attitude adjustment is in order since, by 2014, millennials are set to comprise 36 per cent of the U.S. work force. While much more ink (and angst) will be spilled about how to engage, retain and motivate this group, it is time to acknowledge that maybe older employers should conform and learn to embrace their inner millennials.

5. The happiness factor

Story continues below advertisement

My final theme for the coming year is happiness. As the term "success" is continually redefined, organizations and employees will keep looking for ways to inject happiness into the workplace.

In 2013, only 13 per cent of workers globally said they felt engaged at work, with the rest sleepwalking through their days or, worse, poisoning their workplace environment for their few happy colleagues. Emphasizing the value of happiness in the workplace will become an important point of discussion in the coming year, because it makes for healthier and saner employees. That boosts productivity and, ultimately, the bottom line. Who couldn't use just a little bit more happiness in their day-to-day lives?

Leah Eichler is founder of r/ally, a mobile collaboration platform for enterprises. E-mail:

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Tickers mentioned in this story
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies