New Audio Available for Media Use: What the 2023 Workplace Will Look Like

BALTIMORE, MD, January 3, 2023 – New audio is available for media use featuring Anita Woolley. She is Associate Dean of Research at the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University. She’s a Professor of Organizational Behavior and Theory. She speaks about what the workplace will look like this year. This content is provided by INFORMS, the largest association for the decision and data sciences. What follows are four questions and responses. These responses were provided on December 20, 2022.



Question 1: How would you describe what the American workplace might look like in 2023 in the wake of the pandemic? 

Time Cue: 0:25, Soundbite Duration: :51

“I think in 2023 we're very likely to see companies continuing to sort out how they're going to handle these issues of flexible work policies, remote hybrid work arrangements, etc. Some companies have made the transition to using those. Some have gone back and forth and I think it's going to continue in that way. However, I do continue to think that the wiser employers are going to find a way to create flexibility, because that's going to let them attract and retain the best employees. And they'll also, if they really lean into the remote work in particular, they'll be able to have a variety of other benefits. They'll be able to reduce their operating expenses if they can get rid of some office space, as well as other overhead. Maybe even have less business travel in addition to really being able to attract the best employees.”  



Question 2: Many employers tried to bring their workforces back into the office in 2022. How did that work out?

Time Cue: 1:26, Soundbite Duration: :53

“Well, I think that was fairly mixed. There are some examples of employers who had to walk back their return-to-office policies. But others actually, based on various stories that have come out both privately and publicly, it sounds like are sort of quietly not enforcing their return-to-office policies. In many situations, employees are not really going back to the office or not as much as the policy states they should. And as long as they're being productive, and all the work is getting done, a lot of but bosses are just looking the other way. You know there certainly are some prominent cases where people are holding the line. However, we also have heard equally prominent stories about high-value employees who've left as a result.”



Question 3: What did most employers learn from the pandemic that informed their more permanent workplace policies going forward?

Time Cue: 02:26, Soundbite Duration: 1:13

“A number of employers were quite pleasantly surprised that their workforce could be much more productive working remotely than they thought or than they feared. And in some cases, in many cases, they were actually more productive and happier than they were when they were in the office full-time. And so generally, those companies figured out ways to coordinate work and collaborate and to continue to enable flexible work arrangements that continue to be effective. However, other employers never really adapted to remote work. They tried to take their usual routines and all the things they did in the office, and just do them the same way but on videoconference. And I think those are the sources of the stories we're hearing about people who are burned out by being in meetings all day long. Some reports say there's been a 153 percent increase in the number of meetings that many employees are in. And some leaders need to see people in order to be reassured that they're actually working. And those are the organizations that are concluding that remote work is ineffective. And they're the ones who typically want everyone to come back to the office.”



Question 4: How should employers implement some of these lessons learned going forward?

Time Cue: 03:48, Soundbite Duration: 1:07

“Well, I'd say one conclusion that most people agree on is that remote work is not likely to go away, and that organizations really need to embrace it as an advantage that they can use to attract and retain some of the most talented employees. However, to make that work, leaders are going to need to rethink how they do things. In some cases this is referred to as kicking the meeting habit - to not require having a meeting with people in order to launch any initiative or get any work done. So, there are lots of tools and practices that can enable groups to make progress outside of live meetings. Things like task trackers and discussion boards for sharing status updates and coordinating work deadlines and handoffs, whiteboards to use for brainstorming, are just among the many things that are now available. Some companies are even finding ways to make decisions asynchronously using a variety of tools and this means that everyone can get going instead of waiting until a meeting can get scheduled.” 


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INFORMS advances and promotes the science and technology of decision making to save lives, save money, and solve problems. As the largest association for the decision and data sciences, INFORMS members support organizations and governments at all levels as they work to transform data into information, and information into insights that lead to more efficient, effective, equitable and impactful results. INFORMS’ 10,000+ members are comprised of a diverse and robust international community of practitioners, researchers, educators, and students from a variety of fields. 




Ashley Smith


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New Audio Available for Media Use: What the 2023 Workplace Will Look Like

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Ashley Smith
Public Affairs Coordinator
Catonsville, MD
[email protected]

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