Last week we looked at the 2023 forecast for the commercial real estate industry and where stakeholders could expect to find the greatest opportunity. This week we open the door on what trends will be most dominant in our workplaces over the next 12 months.
1 HYBRID WORK
No matter how many executives make loud noises about the importance of being in the office, hybrid work looks here to stay. Tesla/Twitter boss Elon Musk may be telling employees to work 40-hour weeks in the office, and Disney bosses may be casting doubt on the career prospects of those spending less time in the workplace than others, but big picture analysis continues to show pressure from such heavy hitters is failing to dent the resolve of employees determined to hang on to their new-found freedoms to work from anywhere as much as possible.
Last week The New York Times reported on a wide-reaching study that found remote work had stabilised at “well above pre-pandemic levels”. According to the latest monthly US Survey of Working Arrangements and Attitudes (S.W.A.A.) the most common remote work situation remains hybrid– that is, splitting the week between a few days in the office and the remainder working from elsewhere whether that be the home, a café, on a park bench or in a holiday home. In Australia, the latest comprehensive research from Price Waterhouse reveals the average number of days that knowledge-based workers want to work from home in 2023 is 3.2 days, leaving 1.4 days per person, per week, in the office.
2 ONLINE SHOPPERS KEEP ON KEEPING ON
When leading delivery service Sendle recently surveyed 900 Australian small businesses, about 80% said they expected their online sales to continue growing during 2023. The findings indicate the importance of keeping up with the latest tech and techniques to maximise reach in such as increasingly competitive space. Sendle’s 2022 Small Business Survey found 37% of small businesses believe their online orders will jump anywhere between 25% and 75% in the next 12 months. The automotive and marine industries were the most optimistic about the prospects of online sales growth, closely followed by office furniture supplies and food and beverage.
“Sendle’s 2022 Small Business Survey tells us that it’s not all doom and gloom for small businesses,” Laura Hill, Managing Director of Sendle Australia, said. “The recent Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales may explain this confidence, with our parcel volumes up 50 per cent during the November sales period. Many small businesses continue to see an uptick in online sales growth, as consumer spending remains resilient.”
3 GREATER EMPHASIS ON CONTINUOUS EDUCATION
The pace of change now means that specialised and hyper-focused education and learning will be one of the most important workplace trends this year. Stephen Roebuck, head of operations for employer relations organisation Employsure Employsure | Free Initial Advice | Workplace Relations & WHS Specialists said that for employees it is about upskilling and adding to their portfolios, while employers are well advised to put as much effort as possible into getting across new rules and regulations, especially those regarding employment relations and employer obligations. For instance, the recently passed respect at work legislation Respect at Work Bill 2022 | Respect@Work will bring new resources and support mechanisms into train and bosses need to keep up with requirements to avoid falling short of the new laws. And that’s just for starters: Australia has more than 150 Modern Awards. Business owners need to know which ones will impact them and how.
4 SMART CASUAL = COMFORT
From CEOs such as Mark Zukerberg and Jeff Bezos through to suave French chef Gabriele played by actor Lucas Bravo in the hit series Emily in Paris, wearing sneakers to work is firmly entrenched. “Sneakers have been sneaking into the workplace for a while but now it’s really becoming mainstream,” said Jack James, CEO of new lifestyle sneaker store The Back Wall located on Sydney’s lower north shore. “People want to be comfortable at work no matter what their job entails and sneakers that are comfortable and look good are the ultimate office attire.”
Tech companies were at the forefront of the office sneaker trend which has spread across the board and continues to boom: in 2020 the total global sneakers market was valued at about $US79 billion, a figure which rose in 2021 to $131.10 billion. The global sneaker market is estimated to reach $215.6 billion by 2031, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 5.3%.
5 CONSCIOUS BUSINESS
Sure, this is not a new concept. But with environmental, social and governance (ESG) and similar policies increasingly front of mind the time could not be better for the conscious business movement to firmly take hold. Conscious business is centred on the idea of pursuing a venture that benefits people and communities as well as profit. Wikipedia defines conscious business enterprises and people as “those that choose to follow a business strategy in which they seek to benefit both human beings and the environment”.
Businesswoman Kirsten McLauchlan created the Conscious Business Network last year after a career working in people and culture transformation at some of the country’s leading organisations. “Companies know that consumers return to brands they trust which is why some of the most successful organisations in recent times have been those that have strived to become socially conscious,” Ms McLauchlan said. “Businesses are seeing that they need to take ownership of their impact on the planet.”
The Conscious Business Network is holding its inaugural events this year in Manly, Sydney CBD and the Sunshine Coast. For more information contact Conscious Business Network founder Kirsten McLauchlan on email@example.com