‘Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?’ ― L.M. Montgomery
Some of you may recognise the quote above from the much-loved heroine Anne of Green Gables, who was often promising to be better behaved, or at least try to, on the morrow. The appeal of every new year is a bit like the appeal of Anne’s new day – one with no mistakes in it. It’s hard to believe that we are nearly a month into 2023. For many people, 2022 was the year that dragged on: many of us made the adjustment to returning to the office at least some of the time, and everyone seemed to be looking forward to 2023 as a fresh start.
Although it is quite natural to see a new year as a time for a reset, it is also fairly arbitrary. There is nothing magical about January 1 of any year. The work of fostering a positive and productive workplace culture remains the same. Open and transparent communication at all levels will continue to build trust and create a sense of shared purpose. A focus on wellbeing, ongoing conversations about diversity and inclusion, and creating a sense of belonging for all employees will continue to be vital in 2023.
Workplaces also need to focus on ensuring that everyone knows what appropriate workplace behaviour looks like. From much of Worklogic’s observations in 2022, it was clear that there was some erosion of social skills (and perhaps sartorial standards!) following several years of working remotely. Training and guidelines also need to make clear that, while we all want to enjoy ourselves at workplace functions, we still need display respectful and appropriate workplace behaviours.
Leaders need continuing training and support to enable collaborative and empathetic workplace cultures and to support their teams. Moreover, most of us are still working through the effects of the uncertainty of the last few years. Hybrid ways of working are here to stay, and leaders and workplaces will continue to re-evaluate engagement for a workforce that is unlikely to ever be everyone anywhere all at once. This means giving everyone on the team autonomy, clarity of roles and purpose, and allowing teams to work together to define how members will interact and communicate.
Meaningful connection with our colleagues will be vital in 2023. We all need to rest and reset more often than the end of the year. We also need to foster social connection and opportunities for celebration in our workplaces throughout the year. If 2022 was the year in which we all tried to figure out how to go back to the office, perhaps 2023 can be the year that we reimagine engagement, create connection, and bring some joy into work.