Power up your career in 2023: Adapt to these 6 workplace trends

A new year, a new you! So what’s in store for you in the workplace of 2023? Remember, things are a little different now.

The modern work environment is constantly evolving and beyond the pandemic,  being influenced by other factors like economic changes, technological developments, automation and globalization.

As the world around us is changing at lightning speed, your only competitive advantage is to adapt faster. Every skill you acquire doubles your rate of success. As you make a fresh start and head into 2023,  here are six ways to rise to the occasion and adapt to the latest trends impacting the workplace.

1. Hybrid is the new normal

Two years after the pandemic, many people have now settled into hybrid or fully remote work arrangements. Mostly hybrid – a combination of virtual and in-person work is defining the workplaces of the future.

There are definite advantages of working hybrid – both for businesses and employees.

When implemented correctly, it offers a cost-saving benefit to companies as they can rent out office space (and some have even given up their leases). Plus, employees can be more productive without the challenges of travel time, and thanks to technology, companies can diversify the workforce by hiring globally. The development of advanced communication software makes it easy to operate from any corner of the world and join virtual meetings anywhere.

However, note that some companies are asking their staff to come in on a regular basis, so it’s a good idea to be flexible. Of course, positions that did not go remote during the pandemic will still remain on site. In 2023, you can expect more of workplace flexibility and with that, enhanced mobility for opportunity and growth.

Our top tip:

You don’t need to be a tech wizard but it helps to know the basics of how to troubleshoot minor technical issues if you run into Wi-Fi or computer problems. It’s a good idea to invest in good speakers, a web camera and a backup portable hotspot.

2. Soft skills are the new reality

The jobs of 2023 and beyond, will demand both analytical and social skills. Traditionally, our school systems had focused on hard skills. But as automation continues to transform the workforce, the demand for soft skills is also rising significantly. And even the most sophisticated AI can’t replicate most soft skills.

Thus, people with a good combination of hard and strong skills will be highly valued. Top soft skills include emotional intelligence, critical thinking and problem solving, which lead to enhanced workplace communication, opportunities for improved teamwork and a highly productive workforce. Many employers and hiring managers  agree that soft skills will be crucial to recruiting and HR in the coming months. Interview questions can also place more importance on assessing a candidate’s soft skills. Be prepared if you are job hunting this season!

 Our top tip:

Life is constantly sharing lessons, so be open to feedback. Be proactive and grab every opportunity to volunteer. The more you step out, offer to help the team and interact with others, the more you get to communicate and sharpen your skills.

 3. The gig economy gains ground

Two years after the pandemic, independent work is quickly evolving thanks to the support of digital technologies – leading to alternative work setups and the gig economy. There is an increasing prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs.

For companies, easy access to both full-time and gig workers helps them adapt to economic instability and boost their teams when they need to. Thanks to the rise of technology, the typical workforce of the past is also undergoing changes. The same thing is making work more flexible and bringing people together, even if they’re located in different time zones and even continents. This is precisely what has enabled the rise of the gig economy.

Thus, this has increased freelancers in every industry, independent contractors, temporary staff, on-call staff and consultants, requiring them to find innovative ways to embrace the gig economy.

New technologies like collaboration apps, and benefits to employers such as lower expenditures, and limited liabilities have also contributed to this trend. Digital freelance marketplaces, such as Upwork and Fiverr, are connecting on-demand freelancers with work opportunities –   leading to an increased contract or freelance assignments.

Our top tip:

Create and maintain a routine just like you would do at a regular 9 to 5 job. Ramp up your social contacts and extend your support network of clients and other gig professionals. Constantly set new goals, add new clients and focus on your career growth just like you would do at a regular job.

4. Technology skills are now required in every job

In the last two years, technological advancements have transformed the very fabric of work and the global economy. Today, the impact of the digital evolution continues to permeate nearly all businesses. And this means, significant changes and an increased need for candidates with technical skills. Opportunities have increased for those workers who can provide services such as data analytics, coding and technology support.

In addition everyone, from executive assistants to utility workers, is now required to have some knowledge of computer apps to perform their jobs. Of course, you may not need to know how to code or use AI but virtually almost all workers needs to know about the MS suite products like Word and Excel, and be comfortable with virtual collaboration platforms like Teams.

Our top tip:

Dedicate time each week to boost your knowledge of digital platforms for continued collaboration in the workplace. In addition, for those exploring digital career opportunities, you can improve upon your knowledge using virtual learning platforms like Coursera and FutureLearn, or sign up for in-person continuing education courses.  

5. Enter the Zoomers

Gen Z, also known as Zoomers refers to those born between 1997 and 2010. While they have been marking their entry for a few years now, they will continue to enter the workforce in more numbers in 2023 and beyond. And organizations that welcome Zoomers for the first time, are learning to adjust to their expectations. This means, what worked with the Boomers, Millennials and Gen Xers may not work with the Zoomers. Gen z has higher expectations for the workplace and place much more value on growth opportunities, workplace culture and diversity and inclusion. Zoomers are also digital natives who like to work in a workplace where they can be equal contributors and active change agents, in an atmosphere of collaboration and mutual respect.

In addition, now that every business has a strong presence on various social media, Zoomers will be employed to leverage social media marketing (SMM)  to engage with customers, build their brands, increase sales, and drive traffic to their website.

 Our top tip:

Zoomers are highly responsive, sociable and prefer transparency and frequent feedback. If you are one of them or work with them, it’s important to inculcate a culture of clear and effective communications, a sense of community and opportunities to collaborate and grow.

6. Upskill and reskill constantly

Upskilling simply means improving your existing skills to upgrade your career. Upskilling and reskilling play a vital role in growth and are important for you to stay competitive in the industry.

Today, companies are directing their focus to allocate funds for dedicated employee training to add value through  upskilling. If you have access to these opportunities, definitely go for upskilling. At the same time, learning new skills on your own is also recommended. What’s more, today, you also learn anything in a budget-friendly, cost-effective, and convenient manner, depending on your resources and the time on hand.

Remember, upskilling is an investment in yourself, not an expense. At every level, you need to upskill as job responsibilities that require these skills are gradually increasing.  In addition to investing in specialized training, your upskilling initiatives may include taking on new assignments, attending workshops and conferences, working with a mentor and more.

 Our top tip:

First, identify the areas you need to upskill to stay competitive and ahead in your area of expertise. You can then consider many venues including Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Anyone can enroll for these free and flexible online platforms, learn new skills and advance their careers.

Written by our resident Career Coach, Murali Murthy.

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