It can be argued that most businesses are a far way off target from being future-proofed. This notion is largely validated by reflecting on the past few years’ events, which undeniably proved that the future is wholly unpredictable. In a mercurial business landscape, some of the best future-proofing a company can invest in is agility. With this in mind, more businesses are reevaluating and ramping up their digital offerings while also taking the necessary steps to branch into international markets.
What Future of Work Trends Reveal
Future of work trends are clearly showing that the interest in global expansion is increasing to new heights, as is the rise in hybrid and remote work models.
Analyzing and responding to these trends is essential, as they provide many answers to all-important questions on how to retain talent, stay relevant, boost productivity, and keep costs in line – all within a volatile global business climate. In this article, we take a closer look at some of these top global future of work trends for 2023 and beyond.
Strengthen Collaboration in Remote Teams
With all of the benefits that companies can enjoy by effecting hybrid or remote workforces, there are a couple of profound downsides to a physically disconnected work environment that requires careful negotiation to ensure optimal team performance and sustained morale. First of all, many companies have seen that the shift toward digital communications has resulted in a notable decline in spontaneous conversation and collaboration. With the ability to pop across to a colleague’s office no longer an option, most communication is dependent on calendar alignments and sessions that are scheduled well in advance.
While several companies have reported remote workers to be 35-40% more productive, spontaneous collaboration and consultation in individual and team projects are vital for innovation, overall morale, and work standards.
With this matter becoming increasingly recognizable, solutions are swiftly being sought. Trends will be more focused on the deployment of technology in remote teams that is facilitative towards a more collaborative online workspace that also allows employees to connect at any time from anywhere in the world.
The primary intention is to create an online space that can be a reliable substitute for a physical office, thus providing employees with an alternative that allows them to enjoy all the aspects of remote work while keeping teams supported, connected, and functioning in unison.
Enhanced Employee Experience
Several factors over the past few years have resulted in a significantly competitive current job market. The hunt to find and retain talent has become a growing concern that is especially pertinent for industries such as SaaS and cloud technology roles in general – where an influx of startups has further hiked up the demand for specialized skills.
At the same time, employees have become increasingly aware of the value of their skills, which has also put them in a more assured position to be discerning. This new-found awareness comes coupled with the ease of applying for remote positions – resulting in employees who will not hesitate to consider alternative employment if need be.
Additionally, some recent findings have shown that many companies are simply not getting the remote work environment right, with data from one survey revealing that just one in four employees is confident about their futures in their current companies.
This, in turn, has made HR professionals and employers acutely aware that extra needs to be done in order to retain valuable talent, especially by offering an enhanced employee experience. Measuring employee experience is also proving to be a helpful way to gain insight and better understand the needs and goals of the team. However, a recent poll revealed that only 16% of HR professionals are satisfied with their current approach regarding this, proving that there is plenty of room for improvement in this regard – and the extra focus on employee experience is much needed.
The goal for companies will be to gain a deeper knowledge and understanding of employee needs to be better able to adapt to them. This in turn will be of great value in the efforts to gain employee confidence in terms of employee priorities, support, training, and team collaboration.
A few ways this deeper insight can be gained will be via more proactive methods of collecting team feedback, as well as increased meaningful connection time with employees that encourage transparency and open conversations.
Managing ‘Change Fatigue’ More Efficiently
The unprecedented events of the past few years have understandably caused a great deal of upheaval and uncertainty for employees. While solutions and methods to adapt to the challenges have been deployed, the disruptions are set to continue well into the future – specifically regarding the looming recession, digital transformation, globalization, and political unrest. The result is and will continue to be, a workforce that is becoming less tolerant to change.
This ‘change fatigue’ is continuously being researched and monitored, with one recent study reporting that 45% of workers are weary from the ongoing change, and with a significant 43% experiencing high levels of change fatigue.
Experts however have realized that the old approach of simply informing employees about change and expecting them to manage the consequences thereof, simply will no longer do – especially in a business and employment climate that calls for a new human-centric approach.
With change management being a complex theme to navigate, a new strategy is being deployed that shifts the discussion around change into a collaborative process. No longer will employees just be informed about company changes, but the discussion will be inclusive, taking into account the needs and views of all of the employees. This open-source change strategy is cited as being a remarkable 14x more effective.
A Keen Focus on Upskilling and Reskilling
When skills are the make-or-break of a successful career, it is little wonder that they hold such great value. Any chance to become equipped with new skills can also be considered an investment into the employee’s future – and this can be achieved by either reskilling or upskilling.
Firstly, reskilling offers employees the chance to shift roles in their current company to a slightly different one that is possibly better suited to them. This is beneficial for both the employee and the company because it can avoid incurring the costs and time of hiring externally to fill a role where someone might not have been entirely suitable for the position – and where an existing employee can take over after some additional training.
In companies where automated processes replace jobs, the need for reskilling also presents itself. By making new roles available to employees, the company is not only retaining talent, but also a loyal worker already familiar with the company’s business model and goals. In fact, companies with internal role transitions are reported to retain employees for almost 2x longer.
Similarly, global trends show that upskilling will also be high on the priority list of HR professionals and companies. Investing in employees’ skills is multi-beneficial as firstly, it shows the employee that a company values them while also building confidence and company loyalty. For the company, an investment in upskilling also gives it a competitive edge, as improved knowledge undeniably equals improved efficiency.
The prediction is also that there will be a significant adoption of on-demand skills training, enabling employees to develop new skills whenever and however most convenient to them.
Prioritizing Organizational Health
Future of work trends are also showing a shift toward a more holistic approach to organizational health. Whereas before the focus has been solely on employee well-being, the new strategy tends to the health of the entire company. Research has consistently shown that a healthy company provides a better environment for all levels of the workforce, plus a more positive experience for customers.
But with this knowledge, what does a healthy organization offer? Organizational well-being extends across multiple facets of the business, and has been defined by this guide as relating to:
- The physical well-being of the workforce with access to fitness programs
- Mental well-being with support offered through various coaching processes
- Financial health through fair compensation practices
- Social health that provides a chance to give back to the community
- Workplace safety focusing on a secure and compliant environment and practices
- Healthy work culture with leadership that focuses on the human element
- Tech solutions that offer accessible well-being tools and services
By focusing on these elements, and executing them effectively, companies can experience a broad array of benefits, from boosted team morale and productivity to greater workplace alignment, and improved long-term company performance.
Fostering a Diverse and Inclusive Work Environment
In current (and certainly future) workplaces, there is unquestionably no room for any instance of discrimination, with it already being a burning issue and topic of conversation in 2022. There is now an even stronger focus on embracing a diverse workforce, inclusive of all genders, religions, cultures, races, and backgrounds. One study has actually found that companies that support diversity have a 19% higher innovation revenue.
It is important to note that the trend of globalization and global expansion has also resulted in many different cultures working together, each with its own norms and practices, for example, daily and weekly work patterns and religious requirements. While tolerance has always been incorporated into company guidelines, before diversity largely referred to different races and religions working for the same company within the same area, but now the new global remote work trends clearly add a new dimension.
What has been recognized is the need to make provisions for various local customs and practices, wherever in the world the employee is based. Instead of the previous norm of companies expecting global teams to adopt their own practices, the trend will include partnering and consulting with local cultural experts, who can provide valuable advice and knowledge for everyone to feel acknowledged and included.
Partnering With an Outsourced Global HR Agency
With more and more companies finding a multitude of benefits in operating remote workforces plus an ever-increasing number of businesses looking to expand globally, so too increases the compliance requirements and administrative duties.
And for any business looking to manage a remote team, there are several things to pay careful consideration to. From constantly changing local employment regulations to running a global payroll across different time zones and in foreign currencies, the undertaking is no simple feat.
For many companies, HR support becomes a necessity – and rightly so when considering the complex and importunate tasks that need constant attention.
Future of work trends have also shown that more companies will opt to partner with an outsource HR company, skilled in dealing with international employment compliance – a measure that will drastically make these processes more manageable.
Outsourced global HR agencies offer a number of practical services that streamline international employment admin. One such service is the support of a global mobility specialist who coordinates relocations abroad by handling all associated tasks, such as organizing visas, work permits, tax filings, and accommodation, to name but a few examples. An EOR (Employer of Record) also greatly simplifies the hiring of a remote workforce, by hiring and paying the foreign employee on behalf of a company, also taking care of all formal employment tasks.
Similarly, a PEO (Professional Employment Organization) acts as the legal entity employing the foreign employee, meaning that a company does not have to spend the time and money establishing its own legal entity, while a global payroll service takes care of paying the international workforce – accurately and compliantly.
In summary, all of these services work together to ensure that businesses of all sizes can legally (and easily) employ global talent. By handing over these tasks to industry experts, companies are also more productive – all thanks to the significant cost and time-saving.
Future-proof by Adopting Future Work Trends
As it is commonly known, employees are an essential investment in a company’s future success. Keeping up with trends that will ultimately keep them secure, happy, and motivated, will do a lot towards ensuring long-term success.
Moreover, keeping up with global trends ensures that a company is doing what it can to remain relevant and agile, while the world around it continues to shift. With employee and organizational health at the forefront, as well as a shift to a more flexible global workforce, companies have the opportunity to not only become more resilient to future challenges, but also acquire the tools to thrive.