A man with a graying beard stands outside in front of a couple of mirrored skyscrapers. He wears a button-up shirt with a pair of sunglasses tucked into the collar and the strap of a bag over one shoulder. He holds a smartphone up near his mouth, ready to use it on speaker mode.
As voice search becomes more widely used by customers, businesses must change their SEO strategies and digital presences to adapt. — Getty Images/Pekic

It’s never too soon to start thinking about what’s coming next. The way we work has changed radically over the last few years, and in ways few could have predicted. Are these changes here to stay, or will we see some new work and business trends crop up in 2023? Here are some predictions some experts are making for next year.

Workplaces will focus on accessibility

Remote work, hybrid work, and returning to the office: Businesses have taken a scattered —and at times inconsistent — approach to allowing employees to work from home. Many business owners are realizing that the decision whether or not to allow remote work actually focuses on the wrong thing.

“It’s about accessibility, not presence,” wrote Wired. There are plenty of technology tools to support work. But it’s also true that some business operations require and benefit from employees who show up in person. In 2023, the focus must be on connecting the right people to do the work that needs to be done effectively. How can your business facilitate making work accessible to all in a way that sparks productivity?

[Read more: 5 Key Consumer Trends that Spell Opportunity for Businesses in 2022]

A growing awareness of “greenwashing”

Sustainability is now a key consideration in a consumer’s purchase decision. Research from Forrester shows that over half of U.S. consumers factor their values into their shopping choices. Consumers from every generation are now willing to pay more for sustainable products.

It’s not enough to just pay lip service to sustainability; consumers are savvier than ever when it comes to brands and their business practices. H&M learned this recently when it was hit by a lawsuit from a shopper alleging “greenwashing” — a practice in which a company implies it’s more sustainable than it really is. Governments, too, are increasing regulations on brands to lower their environmental impact. For small businesses, now is the time to invest in meaningful measures to shrink their carbon footprint.

In 2023, the focus must be on connecting the right people to do the work that needs to be done effectively.

The rise of voice search tech

Google reports that 41% of adults and 55% of teens now use voice search daily — and this number is continuing to rise. Voice search through devices and programs like Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Windows 10 Desktop is more convenient and faster than typing. However, many businesses haven’t accounted for voice search in their website and SEO marketing.

“As it turns out, searching with your voice is very different than typing. Specifically, voice search changes how people search, when people search, and what they search for,” wrote SEO experts at Backlinko.

Prepare for this trend by researching how to adapt your online store for these types of searches. Optimizing your website for voice search can help you gain an early edge over your competition.

Employees are searching for job security

The last few years have been tough on the labor force. A recent Gallup survey reflects the fatigue many employees are feeling. “In the Gallup poll, a little over half (53%) of the workers said they were looking for jobs that have a greater degree of security than they currently have,” reported Nasdaq.

While there are still plenty of talented workers in the job market seeking employment, many of them are choosy about where they land next. These employees want stability and peace of mind about their future with a company. Business owners can tap into this desire in their employer marketing materials and recruitment outreach.

[Read more: 5 Post-COVID Economy Tech Trends Driving Sales]

The role of middle management is evolving

Finally, the way we work has changed, and so too has the role of managers. Social and political turmoil, shift to hybrid/remote work, and complex consumer trends have caused employees to reevaluate where, when, and how much they work.

The role of a manager has traditionally been straightforward. Middle managers manage employees and provide feedback on their performance. Today, however, a manager needs to be willing to work as a coach, mentor, and empathetic leader. Business owners and leaders should understand that middle management is changing and support these managers with the resources and training they need to succeed.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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