Trends Shaping the Workplace in 2023

From skills-based hiring to AR & VR, and remote working to employee engagement & well-being, these are the top workplace trends

May 18, 2023
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The workplace has always had to evolve to meet the requirements of a changing labor market and political landscape and respond to financial upheaval.

However, the past few years have seen a much quicker evolution than many might have anticipated, driven largely by the global pandemic and its associated impacts.

Now, as the world settles down into something resembling normalcy, business leaders and workplaces must continue to adapt to the changing world around them.

From the ever-increasing trend of remote working to the advent of new technologies such as AR and VR, here are the top trends set to shape the workplace in 2023 and beyond.

Growing acceptance of remote work arrangement

The past decades have seen a steady increase in the number of employees working remotely, a trend which was sharply increased by pandemic shutdowns. In fact, recent figures show that over 26% of workers in the U.S. now work entirely from home.

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For workers, the benefits of remote or a hybrid working model are numerous. Those working remotely cite increased flexibility, better focus operational efficiency, and the lack of a commute as significant advantages.

Despite some of the challenges of communications and building a stong culture, employers have also discovered the numerous perks that come with remote work. From increased productivity, engagement, and employee retention to saving money on office space. 

Much of this has been made possible with the rise of new technologies, platforms, and software that enable employees to work remotely. The use of platforms like Slack and Asana has made it much easier for teams to work together, even when they’re based on opposite sides of the world. 

Whilst tools like enterprise resource planning software (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) software have meant that everything from employee, to inventory, to customer data can all be stored in one secure but remotely accessible place. 

So employees have been able to work from anywhere with all the information they need at their fingertips. Simultaneously eliminating the need to go to the office and providing employees with a better work-life balance. 

Increased focus on employee well-being

It’s not just where employees are working that’s under the microscope in 2023. There’s an increased focus on employee well-being, too. Employers are opting to offer a range of wellness programs in an effort to protect workers improve the both physical health and mental health of their employees.

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These schemes can lead to a range of benefits for employees and employers alike. Firstly, companies that offer well-being initiatives and employee experience are viewed more favorably than those that don’t, making them a more attractive prospect for job seekers and increasing retention amongst existing employees.

Not only that, but well-being schemes help to reduce burnout and stress, increasing the productivity of employees and reducing the number of illness-related absences. 

As the emphasis placed on good workplace culture heightens and the trend towards remote working continues, employee well-being initiatives are also evolving. 

As well as offering in-house initiatives such as catered healthy lunches in the break room, organizations offer perks such as discounted gym memberships and days off to volunteer, demonstrating a more holistic approach to staff and mental wellbeing.

Skill-based hiring

The rapid pace of economic and technological change in modern workforce in recent years has presented a need for employees to frequently upskill and reskill if they're to preserve their chances for career progression.

Increasingly, companies are choosing to hire based on the specific skills a candidate possesses rather than the work history listed on their resume. Many of the skills seen as valuable by employers are transferable, meaning that they can be applied successfully in a range of job roles.

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For example, while a candidate may not have the necessary work experience for a data analyst position, they may have developed many required technological skills in various other roles.

Companies are also taking steps to assist with the upskilling of their employees. Courses, seminars, and workshops are all being offered in a range of organizations in order to arm employees with the skills they need to succeed in the modern workplace. 

For remote knowledge workers themselves, webinars and e-learning courses are also offered to make sure that a skills gap doesn’t emerge between in-house and remote employees.

There’s also been an increased focus on soft skills, such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity. These skills are becoming more valuable in the modern workplace, with an increased trend towards helping existing employees develop them and looking for them in potential candidates for employment.

The rise of the gig economy and freelance work

The gig economy and employee growth of freelance work continue an upward trend in 2023, with an increasing number of workers opting to work independently in short-term arrangements.

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For workers, this presents an opportunity to work flexibly around their other commitments without getting tied down to one job. 

For employers, using freelancers often has a range of financial benefits, such as hiring skilled workers without the costs of recruitment or providing many of the associated benefits available to full-time employees.

That said, the gig economy is not without its pitfalls. Hiring freelancers can mean relying on workers who are less likely to be engaged with a project or company as a whole, as it’s only temporary. 

On top of this, when it comes to freelance work itself, the same Brodmin case study also highlights that the hourly freelance wage can vary greatly by sector and age.While the average hourly wage for freelancers aged 55-64 is $36, only 3% of freelancers fall into this age group.

The largest age group when it comes to freelancers, aged 25-34, earn substantially less, at $19 per hour.

Increasing focus on corporate social responsibility (CSR)

Corporate social responsibility has been a hot-button issue for companies and business world for a while now. Many organizations are making efforts to place greater sustainability and green initiatives due to shareholder and consumer pressure.

And it works. Research has shown that as a company’s CSR Index score increases, so does consumers’ willingness to buy products from them.

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Corporate social responsibility is a factor at every stage of the corporate life cycle, but, particularly at the point of initial public offering (IPO). At this time, there’s likely to be increased scrutiny around a number of areas of the business and, particularly, its finances.

With increasing public scrutiny about companies and their behavior, now, consumers and the market want to know that a company is responsible and transparent. Making automated and  compliant accountancy and well-prepared accounting for IPO, a key part of both demonstrating social responsibility and taking your company to the next level. 

In terms of CSR, investors are likely to weigh up the ethical and economic efforts of the organization when deciding whether or not to invest. From making sure that products are ethically sourced to making sure your finances are audited and open, a good showing in this area can make all the difference when it comes to the public interest. 

Heightened cybersecurity risk awareness

The increasing use of cloud services, the trend towards hybrid and remote work everywhere, and the evolution of the Internet of Things (IoT) has led to a growing number of cybersecurity weaknesses that need to be addressed.

The cost of cybercrime has increased year-on-year without fail and is expected to reach over $20 billion by 2026.

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Companies are at risk from a variety of threats, including ransomware. This is a particularly malicious type of software, able to block access to a computer system until a set amount of money is paid. A ransomware attack can have disastrous implications for an organization.

Cybercrime doesn’t just pose a financial threat to companies. Many organizations are at risk of data theft, especially those that deal with sensitive or confidential information. Data breaches can lead to reputational damage, operational downtime, the loss of valuable data, and potential legal recourse where data protection regulations have been breached.  

Thankfully, businesses are aware of the threats and 69% of businesses boosted their cybersecurity investments in 2022. As the risk of cybercrime continues to grow, we can expect to see a concurrent rise in cybersecurity spending in the future of work to help combat it.

Emerging applications for AR and VR in the workplace

Although augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies are still in their infancy, the number of people using this type of hardware has continued to grow year-on-year.

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While many may see AR and VR as purely recreational tools, they do in fact have applications in the workplace. Both technologies can be used to assist in training scenarios, provide interactive instructions, and reduce the skills gap.

AR and VR technologies have further applications in design and prototyping, making it easier for designers to visualize the products they’re creating, better understand how customers will interact with them, and where pain points might emerge.

Ultimately, making it easier to collaborate on projects, visualize concepts, and simulate real-world scenarios.

Final Thoughts

An evolving workplace is nothing new, but it’s as important as ever that employers stay on top of the current trends and adapt to them accordingly if they want to stay on top.

New technologies are continually changing the way that organizations operate, whether it’s by facilitating easier remote working practices or changing the demands that the public has when it comes to products and the customer experience.

Changes in attitudes and values should also be observed, from an increased focus on socially conscious initiatives to shining a spotlight on employee well-being.

Staying on top of these key workplace trends will help you to build a more innovative and progressive company by attracting top talent and positive media attention.

Stay on trend, improve workplace mental health, work life balance and you’ll stay on target with meeting employee expectations and make many employees happy.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is Assembly SOC 2 compliant?

Yes, at Assembly, security is a top priority. Each quarter, we have ongoing security work that is everyone’s responsibility. While we maintain a strong security posture, it was important for us to prove to our customers that we do everything we claim to do. This led us to pursue a SOC 2 Type II report that would provide evidence of our compliance with industry gold-standard security practice.

What's the ROI for employee recognition?

There is study after study showing that employee recognition leads to increased engagement. This in return creates an environment where employees are happier and more motivated which increase productivity and reduces voluntary turnover significantly. In order to filled critical roles, companies tend to spend nearly twice the value of an annual salary. Assembly is an investment in your employees that supports your bottom line.

Does Assembly offer longer-term contracts?

Yes, we will offer contracts for companies with longer-term agreements to help larger customers have more certainty around future costs.

The minimum agreement term is a 12-month subscription.

Does Assembly offer onboarding support?

We do and for FREE! Any new customer needing further support to get started with Assembly to ensure you're set up for success can request custom onboarding support. Improving your employee experience is about much more than just using our amazing software; it’s about transforming your business to create a workplace that people love. That’s much easier to do with the personal support and advice from our passionate people experts.

Is there a free version of Assembly?

Yes. We offer a completely free plan for up to 50 team members. This plan is intended for teams or organizations that are looking to get started with an employee engagement tool. Keep in mind, this plan is limited in features.

All customers can open an Assembly account for free and get started without a credit card. Then you can change plans as necessary.

How much do rewards cost?

At the time of redemption (when your employees exchange their points for a paid reward) you'll pay face value. If a reward is a $10 Amazon gift card, your cost will be $10. All paid rewards are billed for on a monthly basis.

The good news is that you don't have to pay for rewards upfront because we only charge you when points are redeemed, not when they're earned.

Does Assembly offer discounts?

We offer discounts or educational or charitable organizations. In order to secure a discount, you'll first need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

For all other organizations, we are willing to consider longer-term agreements in exchange for discounts. To set up annual plans or longer, you will need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

How do I cancel my plan if needed?

If you're on a month to month plan, you can go here and cancel anytime. If you're having concerns or need help setting up your account for success, you can always book a demo with a customer support specialist.

If you're on a longer-term custom plan, you'll need to reach out to your customer support specialist to cancel your account or email us at

What customizations are available?

Great question! You can customize your core values to match your organization's to boost and track alignment. You can change your currency from the 🏆 emoji (our default) to any emoji of your choice. You can swap our logo for your own. You can also set up company culture rewards such as, "Lunch with the CEO," "Buy a book on us," and so much more!

Who can give or receive recognition?

While we recommend a peer to peer set up where anyone in your organization can give or receive recognition, you can set up Assembly however you want. If you need to limit the people who can give or receive recognition, that's perfectly fine and can be done from your Admin, here.

What integrations are available?

Assembly connects to the tools your employees use every day to offer an easy, seamless experience with minimal change management.  

Assembly has integrations with HCM/HRIS systems like ADP, Google, Office 365, and Slack. We also integrate with communication tools like Slack and Teams so you and your employees can access Assembly wherever they work now.

What's your average adoption rate?

That depends on the company's permissions set up. That said, over 90% of the employees on Assembly's platform are recognized on a monthly basis. That means nearly every employee across all of our customers are receiving regular recognition from their peers, managers, or leadership. We're extremely proud of this.

Must rewards be set up to use Assembly?

They are not required. You can use Assembly without having rewards set up. However, we don't recommend it if you intend to have a high adoption and usage rate. You can always keep the costs down by offering internal culture rewards that are fulfilled by you internally.

Are points required to use Assembly?

No, you can remove allowances from anyone or everyone. It's up to you but we do recommend using points whether they're worth a real dollar value or not. Companies that use points have a much higher engagement rate even if those points don't exchange for real dollars.

Could find the answer you are looking for?

Please schedule time with an expert and we will help you to get all your questions answered