11 Trends Shaping the Future of Work in 2023

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The way we work is always changing, but in 2023, things are moving faster than ever. Remote jobs have tripled since 2020 (1), the success of the 4-day week is forcing us to rethink productivity (2), and employee experience is finally becoming a top priority for leaders all over the world (3). So what exactly does the next evolution of work look like? Today, we’re going to find out, by exploring some of the key trends shaping work in 2023.

Whether you’re a leader, manager or employee, it’s important to understand the shifts in the work landscape, so you can make informed decisions about whether to embrace or challenge them. Identifying the trends that will shape work in 2023 and blindly following them is not the goal here. Instead, take this list as an excuse to reflect on some of your existing perspectives and practices, and explore whether these trends could help you fast-track your personal, team or company goals.

The Biggest Future of Work Trends 2023: The List

1. Flexible Strategy

2. Hybrid-at-Will

3. Career Pathways

4. Work-Life Integration

5. Meaningful Wellbeing Support

6. People-Centric Performance Management

7. People Analytics

8. Digitised Goal Setting

9. Accelerated Digital Transformation

10. Re-Entry Plans

11. Focus on Belonging

Frankli’s goal-setting and engagement tools can help you transform your team’s performance

11 Trends Shaping the Future of Work in 2023

1. Flexible Strategy

Public health crises, technological advancement, climate change, economic turbulence and talent shortages have all prompted unprecedented changes in the way we work, which also means unprecedented challenges for leaders. In order to grow and thrive in uncertain times, the company’s business strategy needs to be flexible enough to evolve alongside these changes. Experts like Michael Mankins and Mark Gottfredson recommend moving from a “static plan” to a “living strategy” that can be adjusted as new information becomes available (4). 

2. Hybrid-at-Will

For the 42% of remote-capable employees currently working hybrid schedules, the 3:2 model - 2 days in the office, 3 days from home, vice versa, or a combination of both - is the most popular (5). It’s the model that the largest number of employees prefer, according to a recent study by Gallup (5), but it’s important to note that we’re talking about just 38% of employees here. The other 62% have different ideas about what hybrid work should look like. For this reason, employers may embrace a more flexible approach to hybrid work, with employees calling the shots on how many days they’d like to spend in the office per week or even per month. Sometimes known as “hybrid-at-will”, this model allows teams to maximise the potential of in-person collaboration and off-site focus time as they see fit. Logistically, it can be challenging for employers, but the rewards - higher employee satisfaction and increased productivity - are certainly tempting.

3. Career Pathways

Savvy employers have been reaping the benefits of employee career development programs for decades, but in 2023, we’re seeing more deliberate efforts to empower employees to take ownership of their own career growth. Digital career pathway software, like the Careers tool in Frankli, help people explore, map and visualise the next steps in their journey with the company, leading to lower turnover, increased loyalty, and skill development. It also helps with the kind of people-centric succession planning that leads to high-performing, resilient teams (6). 

4. Work-Life Integration

For half a century, employees and employers have been talking about work-life balance, but in recent years, many have come to view the concept as unrealistic (7) - a Google search throws up over 80,000 articles on this subject. Achieving a healthy work-life balance requires us to keep our work and personal lives separate, which is increasingly difficult at a time when 57% of employees check work emails on their personal smartphones (8). Work-life integration is a more forgiving concept that encourages employees to find their own rhythm when dividing attention between work and personal life. Employers can help with this by facilitating flexible working and investing in tools to support high performance, so employees have more time and energy to spend on the things that matter outside of work.

5. Meaningful Wellbeing Support

In 2022, Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace report found that employee stress had reached an all-time high (9), as did Google searches for the term “burnout” (10). When it comes to employee wellbeing, experts warn that even considered supports like employee assistance programs and paid mental health days need to be combined with daily rituals that contribute to employee engagement and job satisfaction, e.g. regular performance-based 1:1s, and praise and recognition. 

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6. People-Centric Performance Management

With employers embracing remote, hybrid and asynchronous ways of working, performance management is officially ready for an overhaul. Extensive research on psychological safety, feedback and career development show leaders what they likely already knew - for teams to grow and thrive in 2023, your performance management process has to be people-centric, and it has to be continuous. 360-degree feedback, regular, performance-focused conversations and inclusive coaching and mentoring programs have been shown to fuel better outcomes. Traditional, linear and top-down approaches have been linked to low employee engagement, which in turn has been linked to lower profitability (11). The message is clear - if you’re not prioritising your people, the business will suffer.

7. People Analytics

For many, the shift towards remote and hybrid models of work was met with concerns about virtual performance monitoring and time tracking. But there’s another, more people-centric way to use data collection to fuel success, and it’s about gathering information on employee experience. Whether you do this through surveys, 1:1 meetings, or 360-degree feedback, the challenge is putting these findings into practice. Using one digital tool for all three can be really helpful - Frankli’s automatically-generated reports help you use these real-time insights to make better, faster decisions.

8. Digitised Goal Setting

From Netflix to Amazon, the highest-performing tech teams have shifted from manual goal-setting and tracking to a digital process, using OKR software like Frankli to give people ownership of their performance. When done in tandem with an increased focus on outcomes, as opposed to inputs, the results can be really powerful. The best tools in this space aren’t designed to keep tabs on employees, but to give people clarity on their priorities, help them connect their success to the company’s success, and, ultimately, help them reach their goals faster. 

9. Accelerated Digital Transformation

It should be no surprise to see digital transformation on our list of future of work trends for 2023 - from AI to VR/AR to automation, emerging and developing technologies can transform the way we work for the better, but only if we invest the time and resources in finding the right tools for our teams. Anything that streamlines workflows and speeds up tasks through automation is gaining popularity fast. For example, Frankli’s 1:1 Meetings space automates the scheduling and structuring of regular catch-ups, ensuring these important conversations are taking place across the organisation. In 2020, Gartner predicted that 69% of routine work performed by managers will be automated by 2024 (12), so it’s not a case of if you should adopt these technologies, but when, and whether you'll do it before your competitors do.

10. Re-Entry Plans

Over 2 million mothers left the global workforce during the Covid-19 pandemic, and many of them have yet to return, adding to the stress of the current talent crisis (13). As well as offering benefits like paid parental leave and flexible hours, employers are beginning to appreciate the importance of helping parents transition back to the workforce through dedicated re-entry plans. Return-to-work programs, which can be adapted for people returning from any kind of extended leave, tend to include initiatives like enrolment in a coaching or mentoring program, dedicated 1:1s with managers, and an increased focus on praise and recognition.

11. Focus on Belonging

In 2022, many high-performing teams added a new pillar to their people strategies, and belonging joined diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) to create a new acronym, DEIB. Belonging is all about creating an environment where employees feel that their uniqueness is valued - they’re not treated like a number in the system, but an individual whose needs are heard and respected. Research tells us that belonging is more than a nice-to-have - in one report, high belonging was linked to a 56% increase in job performance and a 50% drop in turnover risk (14).

Find out how Frankli’s goal-setting and engagement tools can help you transform your team’s performance.

‍60-Second Version: Trends Shaping the Future of Work in 2023

1. Flexible Strategy

What's it about? Moving from a “static plan” to a “living strategy” that can be adjusted as circumstances change and new information becomes available.

2. Hybrid-at-Will

What's it about? Empowering employees to decide how many days they’d like to spend in the office per week or even per month in order to maximise productivity and job satisfaction.

3. Career Pathways

What's it about? Helping people explore, map and visualise the next steps in their journey with the company, often through a digital platform, leading to lower turnover, increased loyalty, and skill development.

4. Work-Life Integration

What's it about? Supporting employees to find their own rhythm when dividing attention between work and personal life rather than aiming for strict boundaries.

5. Meaningful Wellbeing Support

What's it about? Combining supports like employee assistance programs and paid mental health days with daily rituals that contribute to employee engagement and job satisfaction.

6. People-Centric Performance Management

What's it about? Moving from less effective, top-down approaches to a people-centric and continuous model of performance management.

7. People Analytics

What's it about? Using data on employee experience to fuel company growth.

8. Digitised Goal Setting

What's it about? Using digital goal-setting tools to give people clarity on their priorities, help them connect their success to the company’s success, and help them reach their goals faster. 

9. Accelerated Digital Transformation

What's it about? Streamlining workflows and speeding up tasks through automation.

10. Re-Entry Plans

What's it about? Helping parents and other takers of extended leave transition back to their role through return-to-work programs.

11. Focus on Belonging

What's it about? Creating an environment where employees feel that their uniqueness is valued.

Find out how Frankli’s goal-setting and engagement tools can help you transform your team’s performance.

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Sources:

1. Gallup, Returning to the Office: The Current, Preferred and Future State of Remote Work. 2. Josephine Joly, Euronews, Four-day week: Which countries have embraced it and how’s it going so far? 3. WTW, 2021 Employee Experience Survey. 4. Michael Mankins, Harvard Business Review, In a Volatile World, Your Strategy Must Be Flexible. 5. Gallup, The Future of Hybrid Work: 5 Key Questions Answered With Data. 6. Deloitte Insights, The holy grail of effective leadership succession planning. 7. Fortune, The myth of ‘work-life balance’ is a generational illusion. 8. Owen Hughes, Tech Republic, Your work laptop may not be as secure as it should be. 9. Gallup, State of the Global Workplace: 2022 Report. 10. Quartz at Work, Searches for “burnout” are at an all-time high. 11. Gallup, What Is Employee Engagement and How Do You Improve It?. 12. Gartner, Gartner Predicts 69% of Routine Work Currently Done by Managers will Be Fully Automated by 2024. 13. International Labor Organisation, Over 2 million moms left the labour force in 2020. 14. Evan W. Carr, Andrew Reece, Gabriella Rosen Kellerman, and Alexi Robichaux, Harvard Business Review, The Value of Belonging at Work.

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