The modern office has changed significantly since the COVID-19 pandemic, but we’re set to oversee further major changes to the way we work. From Gen Z entering the workforce to automation and AI, here are 10 crucial digital workplace priorities to think about for 2023:
Accounting for around one fifth of the UK population, Gen Z (those born between 1996 and 2010) are set to be the next big disrupter to the UK workplace. Studies amongst this age cohort have consistently shown that factors such as diversity, inclusion, mental health support and wellbeing are top of their workplace priorities. In the age of digital working, where online support systems might be less efficient than in-person office support, employers should find ways to help and encourage their younger employees in the workplace - even if working digitally.
Employee retention will continue to be a key concern for employers in 2023. While the “great resignation” began in 2021 following the pandemic, studies show that up to 20% of workers plan on quitting their job in the coming year. Employers wishing to buck this economic trend might want to look at ways to improve flexible working, increase mental health support and offer remote working if it’s not already an option for their employees.
When it comes to workplace trends that began during the pandemic, hybrid working is the one that seems to have stuck the most. While some employees enjoy remote working, being fully remote can deprive young workers of being able to learn from their more experienced peers: hybrid working offers a great balance between office life and flexibility. Fully-remote or digital workplaces could hold in-group monthly meetings, or even one day at the office during the week to touch base and strategise.
One thing the pandemic taught us is that workers love being able to enjoy a healthier work-life balance, and job flexibility is the key to achieving this. Studies have even demonstrated that flexible workers tend to be more productive, so offering this type of working environment is a win for both employers and employees. Offering a more flexible working experience can mean granting more personal days, including better support for employees with children or young families and offering greater flexibility in working hours.
Alongside hybrid working, promoting a healthy work-life balance is also key when it comes to building a healthy and happy workplace, especially if the workplace is a digital one. The World Health Organisation has already talked about the strains of “techno-stress” on employee wellbeing: when employees feel like they need to be connected 24 hours a day in order to put in a good job performance, their job satisfaction - and mental health - tends to plummet. Ideally, employers of digital workplaces should try to respect traditional working hours where possible, even when employees are easily contactable online or via email. Respecting these boundaries helps create a clear distinction between home work and home life, improves employee wellbeing and helps companies retain talented staff.
As Gen Z enters the workforce en masse, older generations might notice that the focus on the overall employee experience becomes a significant workplace priority. As mentioned above, both the ‘great resignation’ and Gen Z polling has made employers sensitive to the importance of job satisfaction, not only when it comes to retaining employees, but when it comes to job performance. The trend of “quiet quitting” - aka, doing the bare minimum at work - has shown that employees need to feel both valued and encouraged at work, so focusing on the overall employee experience is going to be essential in 2023 and beyond.
While traditional communication methods such as emailing and phone calling work well for an in-person office, digital workplaces need at least one form of centralised communication in order to function optimally. A digital workplace solution that allows for fast, easy communication across all departments is necessary to prevent excess administration duties from swallowing up working hours. A digital interface with communication channels and a shared intranet is key in ensuring that a digital organisation can run seamlessly.
While the integration of robots and other AI technology might seem far into the future, automation in the workplace is already here. With automated AI assistants and other technologies, employers can find new ways to tackle the challenges of the digital workplace, using these technologies not to replace employees but enhance the overall day-to-day running of their organisation.
Another task employers have to consider in 2023 and beyond is the ageing workforce; with many employees choosing to put off their retirement, it’s important for workplaces to have in-built support systems for older employees, especially when it comes to the use of technology and digital intranets.
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