Want Casual Friday everyday?

RELAXED: Virgin boss Richard Branson prefers casual garb.
RELAXED: Virgin boss Richard Branson prefers casual garb. ROB HUTCHISON

IF it's good enough for Richard Branson ...

2015 will be the year of casual clothes and getting personal on the job, according to a leading employment expert.

Bridget Loudon, the emerging NAB Women's Agenda 2014 Entrepreneur of the Year, said workplaces across the country would experience fundamental changes this year.

These would include shedding collars and ties, a la the Virgin boss who famously prefers open collars and comfortable pants to the suit and tie get-up favoured by most of the corporate world.

Ms Louden, founder of freelance matching agency Expert 360, said there would also be deeper integration of home and work life, constant job searching, more young people setting up their own businesses and more staff working remotely.

"The days of staying at one company for 30 years and receiving a cheap watch on your last day are over," she said.

"Employees are constantly on the lookout for the next job.

"Networking is the new norm and the ever-present fear of missing out keeps everyone engaged.

"Smart businesses recognise this and nurture this desire to excel, realising that hoarding employees will hurt the business in the long run."

Ms Louden said casual clothes were the new black when it came to work wear.

"Casual Fridays now extend across the working week," she said.

"Ties on men are in permanent hibernation. Underlying this trend is a need to express individuality at work. Google is a star in this space, with their casual work attire, Zen zones and free food.

"Ultimately this leads to increased productivity and innovation."

Ms Louden's other predictions include:

More millennials stepping up as boss:

"It's easy to judge millennials as lazy, over-educated know-it-alls and the social-loafers of society. But beneath this facade is a generation of young individuals who crave the opportunity to take on leadership positions.

"A recent study revealed 72% of millennials would like to be their own boss.

"They have grown up amid the GFC and high youth unemployment, as well as the rise of start-ups and billion dollar valuations. The rise of young guns such as (Mark) Zuckerberg (Facebook co-founder) shows that there is a place for young people to lead."


"By 2020, 40% of the total working population will be millennials and internships are crucial in giving them that first taste of the working world."

Working remotely:

"In our super-connected world, the bricks and mortar of workplaces aren't required for employees to properly do their jobs."

Fast talent turnaround:

"Companies want to connect with the right candidate and hire much faster than ever before. It won't be long until the Tinder for recruitment disrupts the market."

Work is personal:

"Instead of trying to balance the two separate spheres in our lives, work is now deeply personal."

Cultural fit:

"Cultural fit and character are now taking the front seat as top employer considerations when assessing potential candidates, with many adopting the hire character, train skill approach."

Talent development:

"Corporate loyalty is a thing of the past and one way employers are responding in order to retail their star employees is through talent development programs."

The rise of the freelancer:

"30% of Australians are now undertaking some form of flexible freelance work. If we follow US trends, by 2020, this number is expected to rise to 50%."

Topics:  workplace

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