The working world has seen some dramatic changes over the last few years. From the uptake of hybrid working, widespread acceptance of video meetings and, sadly, a growing epidemic of employee burnout.
But what does the future of work look like in 2023?
Work Psychology Group is an organisational psychology consultancy that collaborates with organisations around the world to help improve performance, communication, job satisfaction and fairness in the workplace. We’ve put our heads together to see what we think the workplace trends will be this year and beyond.
1. The rise (and rise) of the four-day working week
This workplace trend comes as no surprise. But the four-day working week has been having a moment since 2019, and in 2023 we think it’s set to stay.
This comes after the results of last year’s four-day working week pilot scheme were released. The pilot, which was organised by 4 Day Week Global, saw 3,300 employees at 61 UK companies trial the working pattern for 6-months. During the period, employees received 100% pay for 80% of the time, in exchange for maintaining 100% productivity.
According to the results:
- 92% of organisations will be continuing with the 4-day week
- Revenue rose on average by 35% when compared to a similar period of previous years
- The number of staff leaving fell by 57% over the 6-month period
- 71% of employees had reduced levels of burnout
- 54% said they felt a reduction in negative emotions
“It’s no secret that a happy workforce usually results in a productive workplace, and these results are a testament to that,” Dr Máire Kerrin, WPG’s founding director, says.
“In this example, business outcomes have improved, the health and wellbeing of employees has been enhanced and employee productivity has been boosted. Of course, this isn’t for everybody. It’s far easier for some industries to implement this working pattern and there are many logistical considerations to consider. But we think it’s a workplace trend that we’ll see many more companies exploring this year.”
2. Wellbeing at work has been redefined
When you think about wellbeing at work, what comes to mind? Flexible working? The chance to buy extra holiday entitlement? End-of-the-week prosecco hour? While these are all great initiatives — in 2023, employees want more.
Dr Kerrin explains: “Wellbeing at work is no longer about just having a healthy work-life balance — although, that’s very important too. This year, organisations around the world are having to rethink their approach. Globally, we’re seeing companies take a more holistic view, by expanding their wellbeing offering.”
With at least 24% of the UK workforce following a hybrid work set up, many organisations are investing in better support for workers who are WFH, be it through tech or mental health initiates like self-help platforms. While others are honing all their efforts into helping workers feel good about their workplace, instilling healthy workplace cultures and making sure the company values employees signed up to are being lived and breathed.
3. More (and more) Artificial Intelligence (AI) practices will be adopted
There’s no escaping AI — especially in the workplace. The practice involves using computers to do jobs that traditional require human intelligence. From digital assistants like Alexa to voice-to-text features, AI has been taking over menial and major tasks for years.
And in 2023, the usage of AI is unlikely to show signs of slowing down — especially in the area of selection and assessment.
Emma Dougan, one of our new psychologists, recently conducted a literature review, looking at AI selection and assessment over the past four years. She explains: “AI is increasingly being used in selection and assessment to support recruiters and applicants through the hiring process and research is emerging on the impact on individuals and organsiations. In the medical and healthcare space, AI has been introduced for many functions such as VR simulations to assess surgical experience and communication training platforms for improving surgical risk communication skills.”
As we know, there is still a lack of research in these fields. Psychologist Lana Delic recently attended The Psychometrics Forum on Ethical AI and says: “While there are some things AI cannot do yet, we can use it to our advantage in the workplace, as a tool to speed up our processes, improve our accuracy and to help us in making decisions.”
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