Organizations will have to challenge traditional boundaries used to define a workplace and redesign the work environment to fit different needs.
The last three years have seen dynamic shifts in the workplace. From Quiet Quitting to the Great Resignation, organizations have had to transition quickly to new models of work. We have had to reimagine the concept of work, redefine the idea of a traditional workspace, and reinvent how we interact with the workforce.
The most agile organizations are adapting to this new reality. This year, we are told, will be difficult with a global economic recession. The numbers have been harsh: more than 300 tech companies have laid off about 97,000 employees in 2023 alone. Organizations are on edge, looking for ways to cope with the fallout of a long pandemic and the pressures of a looming economic recession.
And when under pressure, organizations will look to find new ways to deal with old battles. It’s why I expect this year to be a defining year for the workplace. ‘Are you future-ready?’ is a question that organizations will be asking themselves all through this year. Does the future lie in a hybrid work model? In increased use of AI? In technology adoption?
One thing is certain: This year is the future.
Transformations to watch out for this year
The future is the talent workplace
We have seen that the pandemic resulted in a push for flexibility. Coupled with the Great Resignation, employees abandoned traditional models of work and adopted digital flexi-lifestyles that gave them the freedom to work when they want, on projects they want. No wonder gig discovery platforms like Awign, SquadStack, GigIndia, and Taskmo have enjoyed massive growth in recent years.
At Movate, too, we recognize that the future of work is in the gig economy. The number of gig workers globally is expected to rise from 43 million in 2018 to 78 million in 2023. Movate OnDemand (formerly CSS OnDemand) is our unique gig CX ecosystem designed to provide elevated and empathetic support to the user. What better way to do that than having a team of passionate and knowledgeable freelance talent who already use the customer’s products? Organizations are seeking flexibility this year – and gig provides that, enabling organizations to scale down or up, depending on the situation.
Quiet hiring will increase
Yes, quiet hiring is in. And it’s not just another HR buzzword. With quiet hiring, organizations are strategically pushing to reduce headcount requirements by focusing on internal mobility, offering upskilling opportunities for existing employees, and being flexible to leverage gig talent, as we mentioned above.
Google has been one of the earliest adopters of this recruiting strategy. But the concept isn’t new, of course. Organizations have always tried to employ strategies to fill critical gaps with internal talent. But internal talent mobility will gain real momentum this year, as organizations are looking to cut costs and maximize the existing talent. With employees charting non-linear career growth paths, organizations will benefit from quiet hiring as they can no longer depend solely on traditional sourcing methods to find candidates.
Workspaces will adapt to AI
I expect deep tech to push new frontiers in the future workplace.
AI, ML, and other emerging technologies will be used to enhance employee satisfaction and promote flexible workspaces. Expect to see organizations using wearables to monitor employee health proactively. Of course, this raises data concerns. Already, AI is being used to analyze employee data as well as in the recruiting process, where it can shorten and anonymize the hiring process.
While there is concern about how much AI can replace humans, I see the adoption of AI to be more of an aid to employees, or as Satya Nadella said at the World Economic Forum, AI will be a ‘co-pilot for workers of the future, aiding them in their tasks rather than replacing them completely.’
Particularly, there’s great potential for significant transformation in HR with AI and data analytics. With employee insights driven by data, HR can now understand how to retain talent and act proactively to stem turnover.
Increased focus on employee wellbeing
The pandemic may be behind us (hopefully), but its effects aren’t. One of the key workplace trends of last year – work-life balance – will also continue to dominate this year. Work stress and anxiety have risen significantly since the pandemic, and organizations will seek to focus on employee happiness and wellbeing now more than ever. This might mean more flexibility, curated benefits for mental health, and an emphasis on balanced workspaces. A Gartner survey reported that 82% of employees wanted organizations to see them as a whole person and not just as an employee.
What does this mean for organizations? Well, they will have to challenge traditional boundaries used to define a workplace and redesign the work environment to fit different needs. Future-focused businesses will redefine the workplace with imagination and flexibility. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, but the future of work depends on empowering employees to keep them engaged and motivated.
Ultimately, the future of work will belong to those businesses that are flexible, human-centric, hybrid, and data-driven. No matter which way you look at it, change is here. It has been knocking on our door since the pandemic, and organizations that embrace this change will own the future.
The author, Vijaya Krithika, is Associate Vice President – HR at Movate.