The beginning of 2023 might have been a bit shaky. With record-high inflation and continual conflict between Russia and Ukraine, it was probably not the ideal beginning.
Nonetheless, we need to gear ourselves up for the future. New needs and demands will bring in speedy changes in most areas - if not all - of our everyday life.
We have compiled a list of big ideas we believe will define the year ahead.
Got any other great ideas? Share your thoughts in the comments below and join our conversation!
Continual Hybrid Work
Hybrid work will stay with us. Make sure you know how to hang out at work, without the office that is!
Covid-19 has pushed almost all workers out of the office and we have been forced to work from home. Now with the immediate threat of the pandemic mostly gone, select CEOs demand their workers to come back to the office. However, the hybrid model of work will stay with us triumphantly at least for a quite while.
There are several benefits to hybrid work. For employers, overhead fees are reduced. For employees, hybrid save them from spending painful time on commutes and allow them to enjoy flexibility with enhanced short-term productivity.
It is not without its challenges though. According to research from Microsoft, the long-term hybrid can reduce community and creativity. Because people do not engage in face-to-face communication and rapport building, they may feel segregated and neglected.
In addition, the quality of communications can be severely debilitated.
It is now crucial for companies to adapt to their employees' new needs. We will need to learn how to hang out and build relationships without an office. Whether planning for regular in-person meetings for mentoring and socializing or scheduling for in-office work days, we will need to contemplate how to make hybrid work effective even in the long run.
Flipped School-to-Work Pathway
For a long time, we have lived with the paradigm that to get a job, we need to get our degrees first.
Well, not anymore.
Pursuing traditional higher education is not as attractive to many prospective students today. In the US alone, higher education has lost nearly 1.4 million students over the last two years. Colleges do not compete with each other to get students any longer; They compete with companies that hire without degree requirements.
As a result, the young workforce often chooses to get a job first and then look for opportunities to get additional education to enhance their skills and climb up the ladder. This reverse approach has already been deemed as sensible as well as cost-effective among Millenials and Gen Z. By trying out a job albeit on the entry-level, you get to see what it is like in reality and also test out if you are a good fit for it. Once you are sure about your career choice, you can find ways to boost your skillset through higher education. Many companies who observed this trend shifted their talent retention approach by providing education benefits as part of the job.
Learning is a lifelong journey. In the world fast-changing, you will constantly educate and sharpen yourself to thrive. Companies that acknowledge this new need and support their employees' education will have better chances to attract competent workers.
Warfare with Ransomware
Warfare is not just physical; It has now taken the online space. In fact, Internet warfare is what we are going to witness and experience frequently in the future. Since the internet has become a vital part of our everyday life, a surprising villain has surfaced: Ransomware.
Ransomware (a compound word with Ransome and Malware) is a type of malware that blocks or severely limits users from accessing their system until a ransom is paid.
For a long time, ransomware has been all about extorting money. In the future, however, it will expand its horizons - threatening national security. In some countries such as Russia and Iran, ransomware has already been acting as an actively battling agent. Hacking groups, from time to time, can be highly political as they openly declare full support for a specific initiative.
Ransomware wars can wreak havoc on the national and global levels. They could interrupt energy supplies, imperil military intelligence, and disconcert business and government operations. Governments as well as megacorporations may make more investments in cyber-security and take down infrastructures that may enable ransomware attacks.
Online Brands Coming Close
Today, Amazon is arguably the biggest department store, worldwide. Not just Amazon, but the rise of e-commerce has shifted the shopping habit of many of us.
When the world was deeply shadowed by the peril of the latest pandemic, many analysts assumed that most brick-and-mortar retail will disappear into history. That did not come true. As soon as the social distancing restriction eased, consumers hurriedly went back to physical stores where they could see and touch the products before buying.
It does not mean that brick-and-mortar stores did not take any hit. Distribution-based stores that practiced customer captivity to keep their sales (In other words, customers had to buy from them because there was no other choice) are directly affected. With e-commerce, people can now enjoy widened consumer choices free of geography.
E-commerce will now strive to get the attention of customers who prefer the traditional way of shopping. Online-only brands will need to find ways to build a physical connection with customers. They might drop pop-up stores or forge wholesale partnerships. Retail stores can also become a place for 'experience' rather than direct purchasing, indirectly leading customers to buy online.
Regular Mental Health Screening
Experts raise alarms over the increasing crisis of mental health. In the US, you might find it difficult to book a therapy session. According to a recent survey published by the American Psychological Association, 6 out of 10 psychologists say they don’t have openings for new patients.
The increased need for mental health care will change how employers effectively manage and promote their employees' health and safety. Many medical experts have already called for routine mental health screenings during physicals. Regular screenings can make a huge difference in the overall quality of the workplace by detecting symptoms early on to keep the problems from turning into crises.