The world of work has evolved dramatically over the past few years so much so that businesses and employees continue to find themselves adjusting to a more flexible working environment, that is almost unrecognisable from a ‘pre-COVID’ world. Here, experts operating within the future of work sector share their thoughts and predictions on the trends they expect to make waves throughout 2023, and beyond.
Larry Gadea, CEO and Founder, Envoy
“Those promoting a return to the office have been vilified, yet 76% of employees believe that going into the workplace is good for their mental well-being. It makes sense because we’re social beings who build better relationships face-to-face. Most people don’t work well in isolation nor do they have the discipline to do so.’
Next year, companies are going to have to make a clear decision regarding office policies – whether in-office versus versus remote. This limbo that everyone’s in isn’t working. For the past year, employers have told their people they need to be in the office X amount of days, and then walked back that decision weeks or months later. This time, they’ll be more certain about their policies and stick to them. This means that leaders will be stressing collective success over individual convenience.
The challenge for workplaces and their leaders will be to make office life as easy as possible. A big trend you’ll see more of is worktech that helps people interact with the physical office, helping them plan their days, and connect with coworkers on-site.”
Pip White, Senior Vice President & General Manager, EMEA, Slack
“The “remote versus office” debate is over and hybrid is not just the future, it is the now. People have reorientated their lives with the expectation that they will no longer be in the office five days a week, and firms that don’t recognise that will haemorrhage talent. Yet most businesses are still navigating how they can realise the alignment and productivity boost needed to thrive in an economic downturn, whilst also delivering flexibility and connection.
In 2023, the companies that get it right will be thinking digital-first and prioritising their digital HQ over the physical one. Workplaces now aren’t defined by where people gather, but how they feel included in the collective shared mission and culture of a company.
But it’s not just about culture. Our survey of 1,000 UK knowledge workers found 53% of people are more productive at home, and this is only possible when businesses adopt a truly digital-first approach and connect their people, tools, and workflows in one place. This digital HQ makes work more transparent, equitable and results-driven – all of which will become more critical in what will be a challenging economic environment in the year ahead.”
Rebecca Hinds, Head of The Work Innovation Labs, Asana
“2023 will see the rise of new forms of measurement that more accurately reflect the state of work today—which is more siloed than it’s ever been before and takes place in different physical and virtual spaces, and through different workflows and technologies. In a world where collaboration is more important than ever, too many leaders are clinging to productivity and output measures to assess work effectiveness—measures that give an incomplete picture of how work is happening. Leveraging machine learning and AI, Collaborative Intelligence will unlock a new competitive advantage for businesses, empowering leaders to adopt a data-driven approach to understand how work is happening. It can also provide a deep understanding of how collaboration is happening in business—through actual behavioural data (rather than subjective survey data)—and identify hidden inefficiencies and untapped opportunities to maximise employee and business potential.”
James Mensforth, Head of UK at Aircall
“Customer-facing teams are facing increased burnout levels and attrition, and a continuation of what some coined ‘pandemic rage’ has meant teams are dealing with more pressure than ever before. This is especially important to address as businesses grapple with retaining teams that are increasingly hybrid and international.
On this theme, I think 2023 will be the year of empowerment. Business leaders who prioritise simplifying the daily work by automating manual tasks will benefit from happier and more productive teams who can ultimately focus on what matters most: delivering great experiences to customers and prospects.
It will allow teams to benefit from better coaching and learning from peers if they are less focused on delivering the basics, and more geared towards collaborating with their teams, understanding their customers and uplevelling performance.”
Joe Militello, Chief People Officer, PagerDuty
“Employees in technology and IT have seen their value to companies increase dramatically since the pandemic changed the way in which modern business works. Hybrid and remote working have put further emphasis on the need for both highly collaborative teams and solutions that enable real-time collaboration, especially in time-sensitive, mission-critical moments. Employees are working more hours, and technical teams are left to bear the weight of the increased dependency on IT systems.
Burnout has been a reality as a result of the fragmentation and growth of workplace applications being too noisy to manage. The burden of running complex IT systems 24/7 has never been higher, with the need for important upgrades in automation and efficiency a necessity for helping employees feel valued and appreciated at work in 2023.
Businesses must prioritise digital operations investment at the forefront of their 2023 planning. They’ll also need to look for ways to automate routine work, and orchestrate the interrupt work that affects impact operational efficiency + resiliency, as well as customer experience. The conversation about the future of work is no longer about “where”; it’s about what kind of work will be most important to the business, and how it will be managed.”