Our wishes to rework work in 2023

Let's set hopes, rather than predictions, for the workplace in the new year.
Our wishes to rework work in 2023

The world of work doesn’t change that much, that often. Yes, we’ve moved past the bartering system from 3100 BC, where workers were paid in beer rations, we’ve made a bit of progress since the US federal minimum wage was set in 1938 at 25 cents/hour, and we quickly figured out remote arrangements when circumstances in 2020 dictated we do so.

But our relationship with work and our employers doesn’t look that different. We’re still wired to work (personal reasons vary). We’re still spending much of our time on or at work. And we’re still working for companies figuring out how to balance profits and purpose.

So these are wishes and hopes, versus predictions, for 2023 and beyond. We offer them in the real hope that one of them stirs you and you decide to create the change you want to see—whether you’re working for yourself, with others, or in the company you’ve chosen.

Our wish for you

Changing the system is the most sustainable route for significant change in the world of work. But individuals need to evolve their own thinking and behaviors regarding work to reap the rewards of a balanced, fulfilling career. With you in mind, here’s what Quartz at Work is hoping for our readers:

🌈 Embrace your place in the engagement spectrum: Whether you’re actively disengaged, a quiet quitter doing the bare minimum, or a career cushioner going the extra mile, defining what work means to you can improve your mental and physical health and increase your impact.

🐣 Build skills for your future: The meta skill for 2023: building awareness. Use our 14 tips to help you build your cognitive immune system, play well with others, and find your place at the company you choose to work at.

✍🏽 Track and brag: Most of us don’t pay attention to the big (and small) ways we make an impact at work. Let this be the year you record and celebrate what you do there. Some may track progress weekly with their leader, while others may record it daily and keep it to themselves. Whatever the format, building a consistent review of your impact will help you build confidence and promote your power.

💌 Align your values with your employer’s: Digging into company values is one way to determine if you’re in a healthy relationship with work. Take your own inner road trip to define your values or write your manifesto, then use the fork-in-the-road test to determine how important your company values are to them.

👐 Ask for what others have: It’s okay, and right, to define what you want from an employer and ask for it—whether that’s for help with your workload, a raise, or support in upskilling.

Our wish for employers

Research shows that a work bestie, a good leader, or a dream role can keep us from quitting, but there’s plenty of work a company can do to not only improve the experience for their employees but to improve results.

↔️ Distribute the burden of leadership: Some individuals have learned how to grow their career without managing people; many others want to take on the challenge but haven’t had the opportunity. Leadership responsibilities need to be distributed by offering project work, which helps leaders delegate and improves employee skills. We’re also watching for roles that truly help companies move work—and humans—along.

💰 Offer more transparency, please: With help from the law, salary transparency is the talk of 2023. We hope to see more of it, but given the complexities of fixing the pay gap and updating salary bands, it’ll be a couple of years before companies decide (or are forced) to be more transparent about how they pay employees. In the meantime, increase your understanding of how the executives who run your company are rewarded. In 2022, the US SEC adopted final rules for public companies to disclose the relationship between executive pay and the company’s financial performance.

🕵️ Build better company priorities, not employee monitoring: While many companies are busy monitoring employee productivity, we’re calling for them to turn the mirror and assess their strategy. This requires taking an honest look at overcommitment to accomplishing too many things at the company, team, and individual levels. Translation: Eliminate the need to monitor how employees are managing to pull off all the tasks you’ve given them, and finally move to valuing outcomes over hours.

🎉 Gather smarter: From making hybrid meetings work for all attendees to hosting valuable retreats, most companies can stand to put more thought into what they’re trying to accomplish when gathering and how to build time together that achieves it.

🏋️‍♀️ Fully equip leaders for their role: Leadership training doesn’t have the best reputation for focusing on the right skills. We’re hoping for more impactful investments in leaders. For example, executive coach Jenn Toro suggests trauma-informed training to prepare leaders not only for company crises, but personal times of need as well. Companies also can certify their people leaders in mental health first aid, or embed onsite coaches to supplement the therapist shortage.

More resources for the year ahead

🗓 Does your team need a meeting reset? New experiments in company-wide calendar collapses show they could help us make space for more intentional meetings.

🗣 Here’s to have healthy conflict at work this year. While plenty of us fear disagreement, good conflict actually has rewards to reap in the workplace.

🔥 A new visual tool can help assess burnout on your team. It’s a departure from traditional burnout measures, which traditionally rely on surveys and inventories.

💬 To come up with creative ideas, try talking to a stranger. A new study shows that the less we know someone, the more ideas they can help us generate.

🧠 This simple mindset shift can help you feel less stressed and more resilient. Instead of tying your identity to what you do, remember all the other things you already are.

You got The Memo

We’re sending you a hopeful start to 2023. Send questions, comments, and tips for reworking work to aoakes@qz.com. This edition of The Memo was written by Anna Oakes and edited by Heather Landy and Gabriela Riccardi.