Workplace trends in 2023 continue to be shaped by the paradigm shifts brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as long-term dynamics.
Here are 8 major trends to watch this year as well as tips for how to adapt to these developments.
1. A Flexible Working Model Has Replaced the Office Commute
The beginning of the pandemic saw a significant increase in the number of employees working remotely at least part of the time. This trend has continued and looks to become a permanent part of the modern workplace.
The new workplace model is geographically flexible, with both on-site and remote work figured into the mix, if not 100% remote.
Clearly, many employers and employees support a flexible hybrid of on-site and remote work, though they may differ on how much of the workweek should be allocated to remote work. A January 2021 survey by professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers found employers tend to favor workers coming to the office 3 days a week or more. However, many employees prefer to work remotely at least 3 days a week.
Preference for remote work remained strong among employees in a June 2021 survey by the World Economic Forum. When asked what they would do if employers told them to come back to the office 5 or more days a week starting in August 2021:
- 57.8% of workers said they would comply and return
- 35.8% said they would return but start looking for another job that allowed them to work from home
- 6.4% said they would quit even without another job
The changing values of the workforce with respect to virtual workplace trends suggest a flexible workplace is here to stay. Employers who can offer workers the opportunity to work from home 3 or more days a week will enjoy employee recruitment, retention and productivity advantages.
2. The Flexible Workplace Includes Flexible Hours
The new workplace will be flexible concerning time as well as location, research firm Gartner predicts. The research found that whereas employers who followed a conventional 40-hour workweek saw only 36% of their employees delivering high performance, this rose to 55% among employers offering flexible work hours.
Gartner sees this signaling a trend where employees will be evaluated in terms of their productivity rather than the number of hours they put in. This trend dovetails with the shift toward remote work. Employees who work from home continue to be productive during hours outside the normal 9-to-5 office schedule. As a result, employers who can offer remote workers scheduling flexibility will find it easier to attract and retain talent.
3. Digital Transformation Is Reshaping the Workplace
A remote workforce depends on a digital infrastructure that allows employees to work online. This parallels a digital transformation of commerce that has advanced as consumers shop more online. Both these developments are aspects of a broader digital transformation of business, which ranks high among the new trends in workplace dynamics.
To keep up with these changes, companies have accelerated their adoption of digital technology. Digital adoption took ”a quantum leap” forward in 2020, according to a survey of executives and senior managers by management consulting firm McKinsey & Co.
4. Upskilling Workers Will Continue to Be Key
Upskilling is a key consideration for employers as well as employees.
A new study has found that nearly three-quarters of Gen Z and Millennials may quit their jobs if they aren’t provided sufficient skills development opportunities soon, according to Workplace Intelligence.
Additionally, a McKinsey survey found that 87% of companies are experiencing skills gaps within their workforce or expect to within the next few years. Indeed, one of the most efficient ways to address a skills gap is by upskilling current employees, which bypasses the long and expensive talent search needed to find new workers.
Review the skills and aptitude of your current staff to see where you can improve your team members’ skill sets.
5. Work-Life Balance Is Taking Precedence
Work-life balance was a perk many employees started experiencing more of during the pandemic, and it’s something they’ve now come to expect.
Additionally, among human resource leaders, 68% consider employee mental health and well-being a top priority, according to a survey by health-care software provider Lyra Health, Boston University and human resources training organization Future Workplace.
6. Soft Skills Are Increasingly Valued
Soft skills are qualities and traits people possess that aren’t technical in nature. They provide another layer of depth beyond any training or education a candidate has. For example, a person may have hard skills in engineering and mathematics and soft skills exhibiting empathy, time management and problem-solving.
Key soft skills in 2023 include the following:
- Critical thinking
- Growth mindset
- Emotional intelligence
- Cultural and social intelligence
- Customer-centric attitude
7. Social Purpose Is High on People’s Minds
Corporate social responsibility are buzzwords in today’s business climate. In 2023, many people are looking to work for companies whose mission they believe in and whose values they can stand behind.
While social purpose is important for the larger community, from the hiring and retention side, it’s also key among employees. This is particularly so among Gen Z and Millennial workers, who are often interested in more than just earning a paycheck.
8. Diversity and Inclusion Are as Important as Ever
Diversity and inclusion are key to marketing efforts but are also significant in a company’s workforce. Diverse and inclusive companies have been shown to have greater innovation, increased profitability and more employee engagement. They also attract more candidates, with 76% of people saying it’s a factor they consider when evaluating job offers.
Track Today’s Workplace Trends to Thrive in Tomorrow’s Economy
Over the years, the pandemic and changing expectations, largely from younger generations, have evolved workplace trends.
Just as employers are looking for flexible and adaptable workers, employees are looking for the same in hiring companies. This takes form in flexible work schedules and locations as well as work-life balance.
It also means being adaptable to social issues important in today’s culture as well as helping employees gain the skills needed to meet changing workplace demands.
Needless to say, companies that proactively adopt these 2023 workplace trends will enjoy an advantage moving forward.