Remodeling or redesigning the workplace isn't enough anymore. As leaders, we need to renovate the way we work, which means dismantling what's not working, testing different ideas, and building something new. As we create new ways of working, we also need to better communicate and organize how organizations support their people. Leaders will need to incorporate resources in programs that address the needs of the whole person — mentally, physically, financially, and purposefully, the greenhouse conditions for growth.
Early this month, we hosted a real-talk culture webinar where we invited workplace experts to share their predictions for 2023 workplace trends. Jenn Lim, CEO & Cofounder of Delivering Happiness and Bestselling Author of Beyond Happiness. Jen Fisher, Chief Well-Being Officer at Deloitte and Bestselling Author of Work Better Together, and Adam Rosendahl, CEO & Founder of Late Nite Art, opened up a real-talk conversation around these trends.
Today we're sharing a few trends, but you can access all the Top 10 Trends here.
The old social contract for workers was accentually a work-above-all-else agreement. This contract birthed the hustle culture and an "always on" mentality. It was expected and, in some cases, freely given that work meant a 40+ hour workweek, answering emails at midnight, taking work calls during dinner, and working through weekends. In fact, in a Harvard Business School survey, 94% of service professionals put in 50+ hours a week, 40% used their computers after 10 PM, and 26% of work was done outside of normal working hours. But then everything changed in 2020.
The pandemic changed the way we work and, more importantly, the why we work. We watched leaders make decisions at the height of the pandemic — some life and death literally — and uncertainty drew a line between those who acted from a place of humanity or profits. And that line has only deepened in these last three years. People are no longer willing to sacrifice their mental and physical well-being for a paycheck. There is a demand for more purposeful work that has a greater impact on society. We are all craving more human connection and placing boundaries that support a better work/life. Now is the time to co-create a new social contract that is mutually beneficial for the employee and employer, with relationships, boundaries, and structure at the core.
Remote and hybrid work will continue despite some pushing to return full-time to the office. The shift will continue from where work gets done to how work gets done. Deloitte's Global Human Captial Trends Report showed an overarching theme of leading in a boundaryless environment. The boundaries that used to dictate when, where, and how work gets done have fallen away. What Deloitte found was that people still need to figure out hybrid fully. Some choose to work in an office because they feel it's better for their well-being, while others choose to work more remotely because it's better for their well-being, but the common thread they share is the desire for true in-person human connection [whether that's once a year, quarterly or monthly].
However, some people are struggling with leaders demanding everyone to return to the office only to then sit behind the glass door and on calls every day, all day. If people want to come into the office to connect with their leaders or others, but everyone is shut up behind closed doors and on calls, where is that connection? It is time to rethink what we are doing when we come together. When we call people together, it needs to be very intentionally designed, and much less about the work and much more about human connection. Brene Brown said it best, "clear is kind," At the moment, hybrid is not clear; it is much more ambiguous. Organizations and leaders need to be clearer about what hybrid means, with guardrails in place to help individuals navigate how, when, and where work is done.
The HR department has gotten a bad rep over the past few decades, and it's partly due to the idea that HR only gets involved if there is a problem or something negative happening. But in 2023, it's time to bring "human" back into "human resources" by reframing and elevating the role of HR beyond attraction, retention, and onboarding while also making these elements more human.
Data shows that the loneliest workers have been with their organization for less than six months. Given the state of turnover, this could represent up to 3/4 of the workforce in some organizations. We continue to see more and more people slipping through the cracks. Of the loneliest workers, 77% have been at their company for less than six months. This is especially true for young employees new to the professional world. Employees need to make connections in the workplace within the first 30-60 days.
This means HR professionals need to be intentional about giving new hires information so they know who to turn to with questions, have someone to show them the ropes, and make sure they are building friendships. People with a best friend at work tie more strongly to key business outcomes and provides essential social and emotional support [ Gallup]. The bonds coworkers form is the connective tissue that enables organizational growth-without these ties; it's much easier for employees to disengage or quit.
As our workplaces continue to evolve and change, it is important for us as leaders, employees, and people to embrace and adapt so that we can create environments that allow everyone to thrive, to be authentically whole and human.