Top workplace trends for small businesses in 2023

- December 9, 2022 3 MIN READ


The pandemic has forced so much change across so many areas of our lives – but none more profound than the way it has changed workplaces. There is still so much uncertainty around exactly what the future of work will look like – and what works for some companies and some employees won’t work for others. As the dust from the pandemic settles, we expect 2023 to be a year where businesses try new ways of working that really challenge the status quo, writes Bill Zeng, Senior Director, APAC, Poly.

The workplace trends you need to know in 2023

The rise of the four day work week

Hybrid working options will no longer give a business a competitive advantage – it’s something employees have simply come to expect as a part of everyday working life.

In 2023 we expect the majority of office-based businesses will have adapted to allow for flexible, hybrid working options as standard. As a result of this shift, and the changing attitudes towards work and productivity, we expect the next big trend will be driven by a growing number of employees demanding a four-day week.

Already, a number of Australian businesses are currently trialling a four-day work week with no reduction in pay. In an international trial by 4 Day Week Global comprising over 30 companies and almost 1,000 employees, the findings showed that the participating companies experienced increased revenue and reduced absenteeism and resignations. Further, workers reported to feel less stressed and burnt out, with higher rates of life satisfaction. With findings like this, we expect the number of businesses turning to a four-day work will boom in the new year, particularly given there are clear benefits for both employees and businesses.

However, it won’t be quite as easy as flicking a switch. Small businesses must adopt effective hybrid working strategies and processes in order to prepare for such a shift. This requires a strong focus on building a positive company culture where employees feel empowered to be productive, but not to the point of burning out. Having these processes in place allows for a seamless switch from hybrid working to a four-day working week.

Digital nomads and workcations end the 9-to-5

If 2022 was about managing hybrid and remote workers, 2023 is taking it to the next level as employees choose to work from far-flung locations around the world.

Beyond working from libraries and cafes, the lifting of global travel restrictions means employees have itchy feet and are looking to take ‘workcations’ – extending their annual leave while working from overseas – or simply moving overseas permanently to become digital nomads. To capitalise on this trend, Bali is offering ‘digital nomad visas’ so that Australians can work there for six months without paying tax.

With employees working across multiple time zones, the traditional nine-to-five will become a thing of the past. Small and medium-sized businesses who want to attract and retain the best talent will need to be able to offer this level of flexibility.

As businesses move away from a time based to an output-based model, there will no longer be a need for employees to log in and out at specific times of the day – as long as they are empowered to work and are able to communicate with their colleagues as needed, there is no reason for businesses to be so prescriptive about when that work is completed.

Redesigning workspaces

With so many employees working from home – or working abroad – in 2023, businesses will need to redesign their offices to cater for the new way of working.

One trend we expect to see much more of in the new year is ‘hotelling’ – where employees make use of a corporate booking system to reserve desks when they need them. With the expectation that only a certain number of employees will be in the office on any given day, businesses will require less office space, move away from having permanent desks, and create a more flexible office environment that enables staff to come and go as they please.

Connectivity will be a core focus, with office redesigns ensuring that employees are empowered with the right tools and collaboration technologies they need to complete their tasks and stay connected. The addition of video calling and remote collaboration facilities will be a must, with digital screens and potentially even virtual reality rooms added to create new ways for employees to collaborate effectively across physical and virtual environments.

The world has changed significantly over the past several years – and 2023 will be no different. Whether it’s working four-day weeks or working from the four corners of the world, small and medium-sized businesses will need to adjust to the pace of change and keep up with new working trends in order to attract the right talent and stay competitive in 2023.

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