For many, 2022 was the first year of normality after two very long years of pandemic. Profound workplace changes for both workers and employers alike, businesses navigating economic downturn, and people feeling the pressure of galloping inflation—the past twelve months were anything but quiet! Now is the perfect time for the 2022 wrap-up, let’s do it together.
Give me five (trends)!
Many companies are still trying to figure out what work looks like after the great remote boom. What’s more, economic trends also changed how employees viewed their current jobs and future careers.
Let’s look into a few trends from the past year and discuss how they could impact 2023 and beyond.
1. Employers called employees back to the office
In 2022, employers started to limit remote work policies and call employees back to the office. The best known example is Elon Musk’s first email to Twitter employees after taking over the company, which ended any work from home options. (He eventually backtracked on this stance.)
Workers across most industries and companies were less than thrilled by these in-office demands. While Vox reported 60 percent of workers say they would prefer hybrid work, executing these plans isn’t easy. Some employees ignore the in-office requirements, which makes other team members wonder why they bother showing up at all.
Yet, one thing is clear. During the past years, the remote-first and remote-only work environments proved their limitations: disengaged employees, lack of efficient communication, low morale, an epidemic of mental health issues, sinking productivity especially for new hires and for younger teammates.
This is why companies will have to keep on redesigning the workplace and develop more effective hybrid plans in 2023.
Dive Deeper: How to Survive Returning to Office after Covid Era
2. Inflation created uncertainty for both workers and employers
Inflation was a hot-button issue in almost every business and household this year. Companies cut budgets to maintain profits while pausing certain projects. However, it’s important to remember that employees are also affected by inflation.
According to a this survey, 71 percent of Americans say the cost of living is outpacing their pay. Furthermore, 82 percent of Americans say they’re concerned about inflation.
What does this mean for your company? Low salaries will result in low interest in your organization. If your offers are lower than market value, you can expect job candidates to walk away from potential positions. You might even notice higher turnover as your workers seek out higher-paying jobs at other companies.
3. The Great Resignation came and went
2022 saw the tail end of the Great Resignation, where more than 50 million Americans quit their jobs in search of better employment. At its peak, more than four million workers quit in a single month. Some wanted higher pay while others sought better training and growth opportunities.
Employers were desperate to fill these employment gaps, which means more workers could quit and join other companies quickly. As this quitting and hiring frenzy passed, a new trend emerged.
Quiet quitting is defined as only doing what your job requires. Rather than accepting new tasks or going above the call of duty, employees only do what is basically required of them. The slogan, “Act Your Wage,” became popular this year as employees insisted that they are simply doing what they are paid for.
This trend is creating a new set of problems. Some companies might notice drops in productivity. If you have employees that are quiet quitting, you may need to evaluate your work culture. As for the employees, quiet quitting might backfire. As they become disengaged with their work, they will begin losing opportunities to learn, advance their skills and even their careers.
Dive Deeper: The Productivity Box: The Ultimate Hack is Saying No
4. Companies need to redefine culture
Moving into 2023, companies need to rethink their company culture. Even teams with hybrid policies need to consider the culture of workers in different cities and states. How can leaders connect with their employees and make them feel valued? How can employees feel comfortable asking for help or collaborating on projects?
Companies that neglect their culture risk developing burned-out teams with disengaged workers. One thing we know for sure—organizational culture goes a long way.
5. Phone calls are back in style
And last, but not least, here’s more of a technology trend. Do you remember video calls? Yes, those with: John, we see you, but we can’t hear you, you’re on mute!! 🙂 During the pandemic, they were an essential way to connect with others. They allowed people to see faces of their friends, family and even team members when in-person interaction wasn’t possible. But now, almost three years later, video conferencing, both in professional and personal settings, has grown old.
Frankly, video calls are exhausting. There are several reasons why video fatigue is so prevalent. Excessive eye contact isn’t natural and seeing yourself on camera isn’t great for your mental health. If you regularly have cameras-on calls with your employees, they might spend more time looking at themselves than listening.
What can be done? Try a simple phone call. Let your team focus on the message by hearing the voices of their colleagues without all the other distractions. Both their productivity and their mental health will greatly improve.
Dive Deeper: The Productivity Box: Bring Back the Voice Calls
My prediction—Together we stand
These are just a few trends that affected workers and employers this year. Even if these elements seem detached, they all follow one singular thread—the workplace. Following this direction, here comes my prediction for 2023.
Employees have already began to feel the pains of the galloping inflation—and in some parts of the world, of an energy crisis. In such complicated times, their workplace has to be a safe environment where they feel appreciated and supported. This will boost their productivity, which, in turn, improves the bottom line in business.
As for the companies, they need to revisit their organizational culture and update employment conditions according to the difficult economic situation. They have to find new ways to keep people engaged to the company’s life, while providing a safe workplace that encourages communication, collaboration and, ultimately, trust. This and only this will keep them afloat during the economic downturn.
Wrapping it up, both employees and companies need to understand that one won’t survive without the other. We’re in this together!
In the past years, the abundance of capital made people think the sky is the limit. Truth be told, the sky has never been so. It’s all about us, the people, and our actions. As recession looms over, we’ll be reminded that difficult times can be a good teacher. Because the best ideas come to life out of scarcity and need. And eventually, they end up making our lives better.
Wishing you all a blissful and safe 2023.