Change the Workplace in 2023
By Amelia Rose Smith
Laura Putnam is a workplace well-being expert, keynote speaker and Workplace Wellness That Works author. Laura's book presents readers with a fresh perspective on promoting employee well-being in the workplace – something our culture in the United States is unknowingly craving! Just take a trip to Europe, and you will see.
Laura shares, "We as humans are creatures of culture. We adapt to the culture and environment we happen to be in." She explains, "The workplace is where most adults are spending their working and waking hours, failing to set aside time for a vacation to recharge." The lack of work-life balance and time off is the perfect storm for burnout and a loss of employee morale. This is precisely why Laura is dedicated to leveraging every workplace to improve their team's health and well-being.
As a former competitive gymnast, Laura encourages everyone to "get in motion" through her company, Motion Infusion. In 2008, Motion was inspired by Laura's discoveries about the need for motion. She spills, "Movement is one of the best things we can do for our bodies and brains. The problem is we all live in a world that conspires against us getting active – or being well. Whether in the workplace, at school, at home or anywhere in between, we are all being asked to sit – a lot. It's time we take action."
Over the past twelve months, the working world has been flipped upside down. From starting the year with strict social distancing measures still in place, to ending the year by reassuring employees it is safe to return to work, 2022 has been a year of dramatic changes.
Heading into 2023, many workplace changes will gain momentum and become the new normal. Below, Laura Putnam shares the top five workplace wellness trends she expects to see in 2023.
Hybrid Work Will Be Here to Stay. In 2022 millions of employees demanded greater flexibility in their work schedule, including the ability to work from home. With a tight labor market, employers will need to remain flexible and allow their employees to continue to work from home or risk the ability to attract and retain employees.
The Rise of The Four-Day Work Week. Just as employees demanded control over where they work, in 2023, employees will begin demanding more control over when they work. Don't be surprised if many companies introduce a four-day work week next year in a bid to remain competitive in the red hot labor market.
Mental Well-Being Has Taken Center Stage. With rates of burnout, depression and anxiety at record levels, many employees will expect their employers to make their mental well-being a priority next year. This will require employers to go beyond providing generous employee benefits packages and force companies to radically rethink how they can create a supportive work environment where employees feel safe and heard.
The Labor Movement Will Grow. With employees still in the driver's seat, they will continue to use their leverage to create stronger unions across many different sectors. In 2022, labor's surge began to yield big victories, such as the union campaigns at Amazon and hundreds of Starbucks stores across the country. In addition, petitions to file union elections shot up nearly sixty percent and public approval of unions hit its highest point in half a century. This will likely lead to more protests, picket lines and walkouts and force employers to provide employees with greater say in their future.
Well-Being is a Shared Responsibility. CEOs are recognizing that employee well-being needs to be a strategic priority. As recently shared by Francis deSouza, CEO of Illumina, at a recent CEO roundtable hosted by Fortune and Salesforce, "Employee wellness is an imperative. It is one of the criteria people use to choose a job and whether or not to stay at a job." Alongside this rise in awareness of the importance of well-being at work, leaders also recognize that true well-being is a shared responsibility. Heading into 2023, more companies will begin to recognize that the over-reliance on individual responsibility and accountability cannot withstand the effects of structural barriers to well-being, such as work overload, toxicity tolerated and lack of inclusion. The only way forward is together.