Business is constantly changing and if you want to remain an industry leader, you need to be aware of the changes taking place and keep adapting, or else you’ll be left far behind the competition, and soon, it might be too late to fix it.
But those changes don’t cover only industry advancements, which mainly involve implementing new technologies. It’s the changes in workplaces in general that many companies forget about, only focusing on those changes related directly to their industry, ultimately resulting in them abandoning the latest best practices and becoming a much less attractive employer in the eyes of candidates.
In this article, we’ll focus specifically on the changes that are taking place in businesses regardless of their niche and see how you can leverage them.
Why Are Workplaces Changing?
Workplaces have always been evolving, and today, we’re faced with the period that will see the most changes. That’s because the current workforce is made up of five different generations for the first time in history. We’re witnessing an unprecedented situation where they all have to work in harmony and toward a common goal. And with that, changes are inevitable.
As new businesses are created, employees change their focus, and technology advances, workplaces evolve and grow smarter to reflect the employees’ sentiments. However, it’s the pandemic that has had the biggest influence on those changes and propelled many advancements, disrupting the business landscape and forcing employers and employees alike to focus on cooperation, efficiency, and safety, among others.
To appeal to the modern hire, employers have to take an approach that’s significantly different from the one they used to recruit their current employees, especially those who’ve been with the organization for years, if not decades. Those companies that focus on the needs of the modern learner rather than specific age groups will be better positioned to address future challenges.
Workplaces Before the Pandemic
The pandemic presented us with many challenges we never thought of as issues. And while many businesses took on the challenge, responded quickly, and proved their agility, it’s worth going back a couple of years and seeing what workplaces used to look like.
One of the most commonly held opinions before the pandemic – which seem to have shattered now – was that offices were the only way to promote productivity, culture, and attract top talents.
Another misconception was the number of employees needed to perform optimally to accomplish given goals. After the pandemic led to many layoffs, employers realized that, in many cases, they didn’t need the extra talent to sustain optimal levels of productivity.
Workplaces During the Pandemic
During the pandemic, employers started slowly but surely letting their employees work from home. Some of them appreciated the change as it decreased the costs associated with running a business, such as renting office space.
Yet, others believed it could significantly hurt their productivity now that employees couldn’t be so readily controlled. Soon, however, employers realized that giving their staff more freedom, i.e., working from home, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Given that the pandemic wasn’t going to end soon, there was no other way than to embrace the change and see how the story unfolds.
Workplaces After the Pandemic
Although the effects of the coronavirus is still felt throughout the world, a large number of countries have begun reopening borders and inviting employees back to work at the office. However, the workplace experience is no longer – and probably will not be – the same as it was pre-pandemic.
Large enterprises such as pharmaceuticals giant Novartis, Twitter, Spotify and Quora have decided to keep some form of flexi-work post-pandemic even though they technically can get back to the office for various reasons. Some employees experienced increased productivity while others decided to hire top talents from other places in the world, after seeing how their employees acted and that it wasn’t as bad as they initially thought.
10 Ways Workplaces Will Change In 2023
Changes are inevitable and the pandemic has kickstarted many changes that we’ll now see continue to take place in the job market. Here are 10 ways that workplaces will change in 2023.
People figured out how to work from home quickly. Once the pandemic’s over, working from home will remain popular among professionals, forcing businesses to become more flexible. Companies will find it difficult to take this benefit away from their employees now that more people have demonstrated their productivity.
While professionals rejoiced in their 30-second commute, it became evident to businesses that the large real estate line item on their spreadsheets may not be the best use of their funds. Working from home is beneficial, even if it isn’t for everyone all of the time.
2. The New Office
The corporate office will be different in appearance and operation. Conference rooms, meeting spaces, and video studios will take up many office spaces. Instead of working alone in one’s cubicle, the workplace will become a considerably more social setting. It will be built to encourage and promote interaction and community involvement, taking advantage of the moments when talent is concentrated in one location.
3. Hybrid work
Working from home was difficult for many professionals not because of their isolation but because they lacked the right workspace or a specialized home office. They lacked a Zoom-ready location for video meetings.
Internet access in houses will vastly improve soon. Home offices, as well as home video studios, will grow more popular. WFH issues will be a major priority for many as new houses are built or older ones are modified. Technology will be created to create a space that resembles a WeWork rather than a suburban townhouse.
4. Education and Upskilling
We all know that learning has moved to the forefront, and many businesses recognize that upskilling and right-skilling are critical for innovation and strategic advantage. In-person workshops and seminars were used in many corporate learning initiatives.
However, after the pandemic, e-learning will play a larger role in continuous education. In-person learning programs will continue to exist, but they will be limited to specific functions and demographics inside the firm. Face-to-face learning will most likely be a minor component of a learning program. Companies accelerated their e-learning platforms to ensure their employees continued to obtain key skills and advance professionally.
5. Forget the Dress Code
Before COVID-19, you might have dressed up for work. Even if you dressed up every day while working from home, it’s unlikely you wore a suit or high heels.
Some consulting firms and other organizations already have “dress for your day” policies, which allow you to leave your suit at home if you aren’t meeting with clients. After all, employees in the computer industry have worn shorts and flip-flops to work for decades.
6. Video Call
As you might have noticed, many of the changes we mentioned revolve around video. The major WFH experiment was made possible by the creators of Zoom, WebEx, Hangouts, Skype, and other video communications software. The video became fully incorporated into the work experience in a surprising diversity of ways.
The border between work and personal life has blurred as supervisors and employees have become accustomed to seeing each other in their natural environments. Ironically, technology has enabled this transformation, but it has also resulted in a distinctively low-tech reality: our organic, non-robotic humanity is valued more than ever before in this new corporate world.
But this goes far beyond team meetings. As it wasn’t possible for large groups to meet in one place, many conferences were held virtually over the last couple of years, allowing people from all around the country (and world) to meet, collaborate, and network, which helped many professionals elevate their careers and will continue to benefit many organizations.
7. Safety First
COVID-19 shone a light on worker health and safety in all industries, not just those renowned for being hazardous. After getting the coronavirus, even workers who sat at computers all day were admitted to intensive care units.
Returning employees wear masks, sterilize surfaces and maintain social distance, and some even submit to temperature checks. Those precautions are expected to evolve into workplace testing protocols, cutting-edge ventilation systems, and cutting-edge detection and disinfection equipment.
Many organizations have raised the number of paid meetings with mental health counselors for employees while waiving or cutting co-payments and added additional digital tools to help people calm and focus themselves. Managers are also being trained in certain firms to recognize indicators of distress.
8. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
After seeing multiple news stories that showed how biased organizations can get, many businesses decided to start talks with their employees to encourage them to speak openly about issues like racism, sexism, bias, and prejudice.
It extends beyond changing the way you interact with current employees. Many businesses decided to implement DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) initiatives to help cultivate inclusiveness and acceptance of people from all demographics in society.
As businesses sought to severely limit—or eliminate—human interaction to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the pandemic prompted employers to adopt more digital and automated solutions almost immediately.
Companies’ virtual and augmented reality use is likely to rise dramatically as fewer workers work in the same location. These technologies are already being used for training, telemedicine, and team-building activities in the workplace.
This is where employers and recruiters have to level up in order to attract the right kind of talent. The pace of technological advancement is perhaps the fastest today than we’ve ever seen before, and as a result the need to upskill and reskill have become a matter of success and failure. Candidates today, who seek growth and long-term advancement, have begun considering what kind of opportunities an employer would offer them in terms of keeping them trained and capable of handling inevitable automation.
10. Cyber Security
Cyber threats and hacking have become more common as technology has advanced, and the globe has gotten more interconnected. It was especially true in the year 2020 as many cyber criminals decided to leverage the situation and target companies with different schemes, particularly those related to COVID-19. Some of those attacks were successfully prevented while others showed massive gaps in the company’s security, which had to be fixed promptly.
Increased cybersecurity will be required as the number of people working remotely grows. Companies are now dealing with the security challenges of many remote devices and vulnerable networks. In contrast, much IT and cybersecurity investment in the past was focused on systems security at the office level. With many newly remote workers, companies are now dealing with the security challenges of many remote devices and vulnerable networks.