Returning to work after a break is challenging. Whether you've been off for sickness or maternity leave, your perspective and lifestyle change without work in the mix.
But in today's workplaces, we have an added challenge. Organisations are going through rapid digital transformations. Consequently, the workplace you left may be unrecognisable from the one you return to. You might have new buzzwords and software to contend with as you readjust.
But these changes can be opportunities to reach new heights in your career.
We've broken down the 8 biggest changes to the workplace from the last few years so you know what to expect when returning to work in 2023:
1. Data-driven decision making
Companies that have undergone a digital transformation are likely to collect and utilise more data than before to inform their decisions. Very little is signed off without a dashboard to measure metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). These dashboards help you back up your ideas, gain support from others, and quickly identify what works and doesn’t.
Perk for you: Better access to data to gain watertight support for your ideas.
2. Wellness perks and support for your mental health
In the last few years, organisations have learnt the value of looking after employees' mental health. Your HR team will likely advise you on taking breaks from your screen and managing stress.
You might even be given a subscription to a meditation app or dedicated surveys to report your mental health. These mental health initiatives are a huge win for workplaces and something to look forward to. Perk for you: Feel empowered to protect and maintain your mental health in and outside of work.
3. Education and upskilling
Marketplace competition is fierce in today’s globalised world. Employers need top staff with excellent technical and communication skills to stay ahead. As a result, you’re likely to be allocated more professional development opportunities than you had previously. Perk for you: Get paid to upskill and advance in your career.
4. Working from home
If you've been watching the news, you'll know all about the work-from-home revolution. Most offices offer working from home in some format or another.
Some employers are now 100% remote with no office for you to visit. Others offer to split an allocated amount of time between home and the office, known as hybrid working. An organisation's WFH or Hybrid setup may be something to consider before applying for or accepting a job, depending on your working style.
Perk for you: Feel more productive by cutting out the commute and office distractions.
5. Flexible working hours
As companies introduce digital project management and cloud collaboration software, there is less of a dependency for everyone to be online at the same time. With this newfound freedom, some employers now allow employees to work flexible hours. Flexible working typically comes in two formats. The most common is a 2-hour window within which employees can choose what time they start and finish. The only condition is that they are online for a smaller ‘core working hours’ time frame. The more extreme version is ‘true flexi time’, where employees can work their contracted hours whenever they would like; three long days, six short days. Whatever works for them.
Perk for you: Fit your work around your life, not the other way around.
6. Online collaboration and cloud software
Working from home and hybrid offices are commonplace in today’s offices. To make this setup possible, organisations use cloud-hosted file-sharing software. This software enables everyone to access and edit a master version of a document rather than saving the file to their hard drive.
The new file-sharing format can seem overwhelming and a tad invasive, but you’ll quickly appreciate the efficiency and improved teamwork the software allows. The same goes for video conferencing and digital whiteboards, they are overwhelming at first but give it a few weeks, and you’ll wonder how you ever survived without them.
Perk for you: Work from anywhere and speed up collaboration with your colleagues.
7. Flexible company structures
Traditionally employers reported to line managers, who reported to senior managers, who reported to directors. Today, technology has made it easier to manage the workload of more people, communicate instantly, and receive feedback. As a result, we need fewer line managers, and employees can have more autonomy. When you return to work, you might find the safety net of your always-there manager has gone, and you instead accept briefs and submit work on online systems.
Perk for you: More freedom to create change at work and control your day to day.
8. Agile working methods and workplace optimisation
With improved collaboration, communication, and data collection, employers can better measure and optimise your productivity at work. Projects are often run as ‘agile’, meaning you only plan for the upcoming weeks and regularly re-evaluate your strategy. You may also see more team shake-ups as employees try new roles based on the skill sets needed for each project.
Perk for you: Minimise ‘busy’ work and lingering projects and maximise time spent on meaningful projects you know make a change.
How many of these office strategies are new to you? If you’re preparing to return to work, boost your confidence by upskilling with a Skills City Government Funded Boot Camp. In addition to our certified technical training, we also offer interview and soft skills training to prepare you for the modern workplace. Don’t wait, start researching our boot camps by clicking here.