Skip links

Want To Build A Better Workplace In 2023? Follow These 6 Trends Built On 2022’s Best Research

If you think coming out of the pandemic in 2022 means we’re in for an easy ride across 2023, you’re in for a shock.

Workplaces are facing a whole raft of new challenges, from supporting employees under financial pressure to working out what culture means at a time when making friends at work has slipped down the pecking order.

Here are some hard numbers that hopefully give you a flavour of what we mean:

😟 21% claimed they’d lost motivation as a result of financial concerns.

🧑‍🤝‍🧑 63% feel the current rate of turnover makes it less appealing to build bonds with colleagues.

👎 Only 21% of employees are engaged at work.

💻 And 57% believe legacy tech is holding them back.

The good news is that you’re here, clued up and potentially ahead of the curve! So, by following these six workplace trends and predictions for 2023, you’ll hopefully overcome these hurdles and build a wonderful workplace for your people.

Jump to:

Happiness, balance and respect being recognised as the pillars of loving your work life

In short

60% of people are emotionally detached at work, and 19% openly admitted to feeling miserable in Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace: 2022 Report.

Why are we including it?

Because it’s having a huge spill over into how people behave in their personal lives, influencing people’s performance at work and impacting business profitability!

In Germany, Gallup also found that 51% of actively disengaged workers felt their job stress contributed to poor behaviour with a loved one. Globally, 59% said they’d experienced stress the previous day, 31% would say they felt anger, and 56% would admit to being worried in that 24-hour period.

These figures are 46% to 83% higher than an engaged person would report! And the research shows that businesses with engaged workers have 23% higher profit than those with miserable people. Those happy teams also experience lower turnover, absenteeism, and customer loyalty.

How can we respond?

95% of people who are thriving at work report being treated with respect all day and 87% report smiling and laughing a lot.

But it’s not like you can hire comedians to walk around the office all day or buy a respect bell for people to ring when someone does something remarkable – respect and happiness are built through everyday behaviours, which managers can help facilitate.

When you’re working on something, are you building in a review and feedback process that offers the chance to provide people with the kudos they deserve?

At the start, are you setting out clear goals and establishing stakeholders so that people have time to collaborate effectively with those who can make them smile and laugh throughout successful projects?

And what about the day-to-day? Do people have the freedom to chat about non-work things that might brighten a gloomy day? Are there channels for people to provide public kudos when colleagues do something well?

The point is, your culture and ways of working will determine whether people feel respected and happy. And those are both built by the examples you set and the little things we do every single day. 

Diagnosing employee stresses before rolling out wellbeing initiatives

In short 

Just 21% of employees are engaged at work. Alone, that’s concerning, but it’s more of a worry that while this number had been rising continuously since 2009, it’s stalled since the pandemic.

Why are we including it?

Because there are a lot of scary numbers! Employee stress is at an all-time high, with 44% admitting to feeling that emotion the previous day. This even tops the previous peak, reached at the height of the pandemic.

Even more demoralising is the idea that 23% experienced sadness during the previous 24 hours! Probably because they’re burned out, something 54% of UK employees admitted to, or have an average or poor work-life balance, which more than half stated was the case.

And these factors are driving people to consider new roles. 45% think now is a good time to find a new job and 20% are likely to relocate in the coming year.

How can we respond?

Wellness and wellbeing seem to have become a mix of buzzwords, meme fodder and the cause of eye-rolling when another webinar or week of activities gets rolled out, BUT when it’s done well, it’s warmly welcomed!

75% of employees were likely to be loyal to an employer who showed a strong commitment to wellbeing.

Commitment is the most important word in that sentence. A free lunch, a ticket to a wellbeing webinar, a PDF – these are all quick fixes that show little desire to understand the root cause of people’s wellbeing woes.

For wellbeing to work, you have to understand why stress, sadness, burn out, and a poor work-life balance might be happening for the people in your company! A doctor wouldn’t prescribe something without establishing the real problem at hand, and we should be just as diligent.

Send out surveys, follow that up by collecting anecdotal stories and use that to work out where your problems lie! 

Goodbye, legacy tech! It’s time for tools that solve current problems and reduce employee friction

In short

91% of employees are frustrated with work tech, and 57% feel legacy tech is holding them back, according to Freshworks’ State Of WorkPlace Technology Report

Why are we including it?

In a world that’s changing so fast, this simply isn’t good news for anyone – and employers and employees both know it! 

61% of business leaders predict their technology won’t be fit for purpose and able to meet the needs of the business in 12 months.

While 71% believe their people will switch roles if tools don’t help them do their jobs well.

At the same time, business leaders recognise that when they’re introducing new tools that will meet employee expectations, there are other challenges to overcome:

Inadequate training provision (66%), benefits not being explained (67%), new software being hard to use and having a high learning curve (68%), and employees not getting sufficient time to get to know it (69%) were top of the list.

How can we respond?

There are a few things that directly tackle the issues above: finding tech that fits with people’s current ways of working, diagnosing problems effectively and pitching tech as the solution, and staggering how and when people use it.

Unashamedly, we’re going to use HowNow as an example – if you’re in the market for an LMS upgrade or your first LXP!

We integrate with the tools people use every day so that they don’t have to change their existing behaviours – flattening that high learning curve with Slack, Google, Intercom, SalesForce integrations, and many more. The resources people need are then available where they already work.

Our platform allows you to create microlearning-style resources that tackle specific challenges people are facing! This means they get to the first wow moment faster – an experience where the platform provides a great experience, and there’s a positive feedback loop – ensuring they see the benefits faster.

And something we typically hear is that our platform feels like the tools, tech, and social media platforms people use in their daily lives, meaning getting to grips is far smoother sailing.

We’d love to show you what we mean, so book a demo today, and we’ll give you the grand tour.

Better financial support that starts with open conversations

In short

Unsurprisingly, given that we’re currently in a period of inflation, rising prices, and widespread cost of living crisis, financial worries are impacting how people feel at work!

Why are we including it?

The 2022 Wellness at Work Report contained some pretty damning findings around financial stress and workplace performance. 

21% claimed they’d lost motivation as a result, and 16% felt tired and distant as a result of financial stress.

18% stated that money worries were leading them to seek out better-paid roles, and 14% were turning to additional employment to reduce the burden.

And while some suggested ways their employers could help, 17% felt resigned to the fact that there was nothing they could do. Whether that’s apathy or a feeling of hopelessness, it’s not a great indicator of financial culture and conversations at work…

How can we respond?

Unsurprisingly, most of the employee answers on how employers could support financial wellness came back to additional pay or subsidies that might reduce personal costs. But there was a very telling statistic:

50% of people aren’t comfortable discussing their financial situation with their employer, and if we’re going to offer better financial support, this is probably the best place to start.

Without overcomplicating a delicate subject, this really is one where you have to work out if the same problem exists in your business and why. 

Anonymous surveys are pretty much your best friend here. If people aren’t comfortable having that financial conversation in the first place, it stands to reason that they won’t be too keen on discussing why. 

Your job is to establish whether financial stresses are impacting your people and how they manifest themselves in their day-to-day, as well as the reservations they have around discussing that openly. Only then can you understand the right actions, approaches, and conversations.

The four-day work week: decision time and the question of productivity

In short

From June to December 2022, more than 70 companies in the UK have been trialling a four-day working week. That’s more than 3,000 workers across 30 sectors who are receiving 100% of their pay in exchange for maintaining 100% productivity.

Why are we including it?

Obviously, at the time of writing, we don’t know what the full findings are going to be – but we can assume that there will be varying degrees of success in those 70 companies.

But we can safely presume it will remain in some capacity and continue to influence how we work, learn and interact with each other.

For the employees, it’s already a winner! The 4 Day Work Week whitepaper revealed that 63% of businesses found it easier to attract talent, while 78% felt happier and less stressed.

The question mark, however, hangs over whether companies have seen productivity remain at the same level. A study of 2,000 office workers found that within an average 8.8-hour day, the average time spent working is two hours and 53 minutes – with social media, news, personal calls, chatting to co-workers, and even searching for new jobs eating into their days.

And whether you’re trying reduced hours or just working with greater flexibility, this is something L&D, HR, people teams and managers should consider right now.

How can we respond?

There are countless different angles here, from motivation to the quality of tech, but we’re going to focus on one thing – dead time. Dead time happens when you don’t have instant, useful and consistent access to what you need, which drives you to distraction.

You don’t have the latest pricing list, so you Slack a colleague… and wait.

There’s a customer with a question you just don’t know how to answer, so you forward the email to your manager… and wait.

There’s no best practice set out for adding people to your system, so you give it your best shot and wait for the team meeting at the end of the week before adding more.

When you look at it like that, it’s no wonder employees are spending all that time on other distractions!

Four-day weeks might mean there are entire days of delay when people’s working days and hours vary so much, and hybrid working causes this to happen on a smaller scale.

What you need to do is build consistent answers to people’s problems, add those into a single place and make them available on demand. Each time a challenge arises, the answer they need sits at the end of a search in a single, consistent place – limiting this issue of waiting around for answers.

If there isn’t an answer, capture a high-quality one and add it to that single place. 

You’re also empowering people with knowledge when it matters most, meaning they’re more likely to apply and retain it!

If you’ve not already got that single place for resources and knowledge sharing, we’d love to be it!

HowNow is the learning experience platform (LXP) that connects your people to the resources they need, when they need them, everywhere they already work. 

Book a demo today and we’ll show you what we mean.

So long, office bestie (why employees are now less interested in making friends)

In short

Relationships with co-workers and managers came DEAD LAST in a recent study on factors influencing employee satisfaction, with compensation topping the list. 

A few months before the pandemic began, people were ten times more likely to stay at companies for friendships than financial reasons.

The workplace pal pendulum has swung in the complete opposite direction… 

Why are we including it?

It’s not just that compensation has become more important to employees, there are other factors at play.

Higher turnover being one! 63% of employees experiencing above average churn agreed that it was making it less worthwhile to socialise with or get to know co-workers. And if you’ve experienced the worse-than-a-breakup feeling of losing an office bestie, you can understand why they’re keeping their guards up.

Remote and hybrid employees also revealed a reluctance to get too involved, with 50% ‘minimally’ or ‘not likely to’ attend employer-organised voluntary events in the future.

How can we respond?

This throws a few curveballs at us. One, even in these challenging times, we have to manage turnover and how it’s communicated to people. Seeing people you like leave is never easy, but it’s more painful if there’s poor communication – be that a lack of transparency or poor timing.

We also have to reassess the messaging around our company culture, especially when we’re searching for talent. Your team might feel like a family, but not everyone is looking for a family at work anymore. 

They’re looking for a pay meritocracy, where hard work results in recognition, and that’s reflected in their salary and benefits, and families are susceptible to favouritism!

Finally, we also need to review whether our current culture is actually inclusive of out-the-office employees or it’s a pre-pandemic botch job masquerading as something bespoke. If it’s the latter, people will see through it. They’re already showing signs of skepticism and hesitance, and only something that really works will win them over – it just needs to be on their terms to an extent.