Creating a healthier, happier and more productive workplace in 2023
The pandemic has highlighted the possibility of flexible working arrangements and heightened employers’ awareness of the importance of wellness. In the new year, Julia Hobsbawm, Author, Speaker, Consultant and Bloomberg Columnist, provided three predictions for a healthier, happier, and more productive workplace.
Among the measures that could be taken is ending flex-shaming. Flex-shaming is a phrase coined by Gemma Dale, Co-Founder of The Work Consultancy and Lecturer at Liverpool John Moores University, to describe the bad faith shown by some leaders towards remote employees.
While some leaders may believe they have the authority to impose their will, Hobsbawm highlighted that legislative changes are favouring flexibility around the world. More than a billion employees from Greece to Thailand have already been affected by the change in the law facilitating remote or hybrid work. For solutions to be reached, leaders and employees need to establish a culture of trust and transparency, she said.
Next, organisations may look to soften the hard edges of hybrid work. Hobsbawm cited data from JLL, a commercial real estate services company, which shows that compartmentalising between home and office is a major issue. Some 25% of hybrid employees feel socially isolated and 59% expect that wherever they work, they will be taken care of. This, she said, is increasing anxiety over social cohesion and productivity in hybrid offices.
To achieve success, iterating workplace by workplace is necessary. Hobsbawm cited Frauke von Polier of German manufacturing group Viessmann, who suggested piloting changes for as short as three months or as long as a year should become the new normal until things settle down.
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Lastly, Hobsbawm suggested the workplace should be viewed as a social space and provide an alternative to mobile technology employees can access from anywhere. While the way work is carried out has shifted from place to person, there is still a need for people to come together to meet and work in person, she concluded.