As usual at this time of year, there are many articles published about what’s coming in the year ahead. We decided to summarise them, so you only need read this one article. After reading around 20 such articles, here are our findings.

2023 in Bubble Graph

This graph depicts keywords taken from all of the articles we've read about predictions for 2023 – the bigger the bubble, the more times that keyword or theme appeared.

2023 Workplace Trends


Flexibility was the standout keyword – appearing in various guises in nearly all of the articles we read. Flexibility of the physical workspace, of working patterns, of approach to employee wants and needs and welfare.

Employers will have to flex in order to attract and retain good staff – although there was also a nod to the global cost of living crisis which has put a brake on the Great Resignation.

But staff too will have to take a more flexible attitude to work in 2023, understanding that working from home full time is not really viable in many industries. Within the office environment they will also have to forget about a set desk or space that they work from and instead get used to an agile workspace where task, rather than job title dictates where they work and with whom. For larger organisations, desk booking systems will probably proliferate too as office floorplates reduce, so expect to see more tech woven into the desk you’re sitting behind.

Hybrid also appeared in many articles, far more than ‘remote working’ or 'home-working' which were probably a bigger thing in 2022. Realism has kicked in for many people, discovering that direct human contact is actually important, and the phrase ‘social capital’ appeared more than once to reinforce that need. Many employees have settled into a working routine where they appear in the office for two or three days a week and work from home, shared offices or cafes etc for the rest of the time - and this is the trend that is set to continue in 2023.

Four Day Work Week

The rise and rise of the ‘four-day working week’ will continue to grow amongst firms brave enough to try it and a ‘distributed workforce’ will raise challenges around ‘productivity’ along with monitoring employee activity and progress. The word ‘surveillance’appeared a couple of times, although the stress will be less on Big Brother and more on shared expectation.


The third oft-mentioned theme was around ‘office and workplace design’ and‘re-design’. ‘Flex-space’ was mentioned more than once and ‘de-densification’ too was a common thread: fewer desks, smaller floorplates and ever more furniture and fittings with more than one purpose, such as PLN Group’s ‘Keystone’ system for example.

Adaptive re-use’ and repurposing will become more of a thing in 2023 as firms aim to save budgets by using existing buildings, furniture, fixtures and fittings in different ways. Notably, ‘sustainability’ was mentioned in only two articles though.

‘Collaboration’ within the office space will be important, making the most of the time when teams are together in person. But ensuring effective ‘connectivity’ and ‘AV equity’ will also be key – everyone will need equal access. Making ‘worktech’ perform smarter will allow that collaboration wherever you are.


A heartening theme across all of these predictions was around ‘people-first’, ‘wellbeing’, ‘mental health’, and ‘inclusivity’.

After a gruelling two or three years, employers will focus far more on how their employees are faring. Partly driven by a need to retain good staff and partly a shared recognition of what we have all been through, this trend will see more time spent on ‘engaging’ employees, ensuring they understand (and believe in) the ‘purpose’ of their roles, on ‘upskilling’ them and providing the ‘stability’ that most people crave alongside a true ‘work-life balance’.

The end of the Beginning of Change?

So, we believe 2023 will be the year when our ‘new way of working’ becomes more concrete. When tech starts to provide the freedoms we desire alongside the productivity businesses need. When offices around the world change forever and agile solutions to spaces, work practices, furniture and fittings proliferate. When workplace design strategies become more about people and biophilic principles and when everyone starts to find some balance after an unsettling period of instability.

Written by Paul Bondsfield

We'd love to hear your thoughts about what's coming in 2023. Drop us a line or call for a chat: [email protected] | +64 (9) 828 4274