6 Remote Work Trends in the MICE Industry for 2023 and Beyond
Remote work has been a hot topic of conversation over the past few years and has now become an established part of many companies' way of working across a variety of industries. A recent survey from the ONS shared that 44% of workers reported that they had used home or hybrid working at least once in the past week in the final four months of 2022, indicating that almost half of the working population spends at least some of their time working outside of the office environment.
A study by Remote.co also found that 63% of employees would look for a new role if they weren’t able to continue working remotely, which signifies the importance of the option in today’s job employment landscape.
In our 2023 Trend Report, we highlighted a range of ways that an increase in remote working was impacting the MICE industry in terms of how businesses needed to adapt their offering. We also explored how remote working was going to change workplaces in the future, and in this article we’re developing those ideas to discuss some of the key remote work trends that will affect businesses and employees in the MICE industry.
In this article:
Remote Work Trends in The MICE Industry
The MICE industry has been impacted by the rise in the popularity of remote and hybrid work and is continuing to adapt to new ways of working and new expectations from employees. If you’re part of, or own, a business in the MICE industry, understanding the latest trends in remote work is an important part of ensuring that you’re optimising the way that your team works and remaining competitive as an employer.
Flexibility is Expected
A couple of years ago, flexible working was something that a small percentage of companies offered. Some employees were given control over their working hours and were allowed to work from any location without time in the office, but this definitely wasn’t considered the norm.
When the COVID-19 pandemic stopped the majority of people from being able to work in the office, remote working became necessary for a lot of employees across numerous industries, including MICE. With the opportunity for remote work also came a less rigid approach to working hours, which meant that more and more people started to take control of their schedules and work in a more flexible way to suit their lifestyle.
Fast forward a couple of years and flexible working is no longer something that companies are experimenting with giving to their employees. In the MICE industry, and many others, flexible working is a benefit that is expected by many people, with things like core working hours dictating when meetings or deadlines are scheduled. Outside of this, it’s far more common for employees to choose when they complete the rest of their work and for businesses to promote the option to personalise their working hours.
If you’re an employer in the MICE industry that wants to grow your team, be aware that many candidates will prioritise companies that offer them a flexible working schedule. Total freedom might not be an option for every company, but if you want to attract the best talent, you need to be offering what they’re looking for.
Teams Are International
A key trend tied to an increase in job opportunities for remote workers is that companies are made up of employees from a wider variety of locations. When in-person work isn’t mandatory, or is only required occasionally, employees don’t need to all be based in one location and teams can end up spread across different regions and even countries.
International teams are a trend that is expected to continue into 2023 and beyond, and businesses in the MICE industry should consider adopting the approach if they haven’t already. Having employees based in different countries can be a particular benefit in this industry because it gives you team members with experience and local knowledge of locations where you might choose to host meetings, conferences or events. If you regularly organise events in other countries, you will also get a lot of benefits from having a team of employees on the ground in that location.
Hiring employees from different countries requires excellent internal processes and communication systems to ensure that things like time zones and limited in-person interactions don’t impact productivity. But there are plenty of benefits for MICE businesses in particular, so it’s a remote work trend you should definitely get on board with.
In-Person Connection Takes Longer
When teams spent most of their time working together in an office space, social interaction was frequent and connections were easily formed between people from a range of departments and roles. With more and more employees spending less time interacting at work in person, one of the trends in remote work that MICE companies should consider is that it may take longer for employees to connect and collaborate in person.
It’s more than possible for employees to form strong professional relationships with one another when they’re working remotely, but if you do have staff coming into an office or attending meetings for work in person, you need to bear in mind that it may take longer for people to feel comfortable working together. This is especially true of meetings, workshops or events where a whole (usually remote) team comes together to work on a project, as without daily interactions in person, employees are likely to want to socialise more and may take longer to get into a groove of working collaboratively.
As an employer in the MICE industry with remote employees, this means that you need to allow more time when you’re organising in-person events and be considerate of how some employees will need to settle into working face-to-face with their team. Instead of trying to fit a training session or meeting into a couple of hours, set aside the whole day and ensure that teams have the time to reconnect before they’re asked to work together.
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Work/Life Balance is Prioritised
Remote working means that the lines between the time you are at work and the time you spend at home get blurred. It can be easy for employees to end up working later than they would in an office when there’s nobody around them to check in, and the temptation to keep thinking about and adding to a project can be greater when work equipment is all set up in the next room.
However, after several years of remote working being normalised, a more recent working-from-home trend has been highlighting the importance of maintaining and enforcing a strong work/life balance. Things like burnout, loneliness and stress can all be caused by a poor balance between your professional and personal life, so there’s a lot more information and support for employees now to help ensure they set the right kind of boundaries to protect their time.
As an employer in the MICE industry with remote employees, you can respond to this current trend in remote work by making sure that you make it clear to employees that they should only work expected hours and should not be available outside of these times, unless it’s a necessary part of their role. Ensure that senior members of staff are setting this example and be sure to promote the importance of having work/life boundaries and make sure that people’s workloads make it easy for them to stick to these.
Office Design is More Exciting
One very interesting trend that has come from an increase in remote workforces is that office design has changed. Many companies have adopted a hybrid working model or given employees the option to come into an office space to work when they want, which means that workplaces are being used differently. Now, offices are often just used for in-person meetings, presentations and collaborative work, which means that old designs for these spaces are no longer useful.
New approaches to office design are accommodating these new uses for office spaces, reducing the size of areas filled with desks and increasing meeting rooms and presentation areas. Designers are also getting more creative with how offices are decorated to try and make creative collaboration easier, which is influencing interior trends.
Another reason for changing office design is linked to the fact that many organisations are trying to encourage staff to come back into the office a couple of days a week, in order to maintain a better sense of company culture and improve internal communication. This has meant that businesses are trying to make their office spaces more appealing to attract more employees into working there, including features like games or relaxation rooms, more social spaces, and kitchens or cafes where food and drink are free for employees.
If you’re trying to get more of the staff from your MICE business into the office for certain tasks, you should definitely consider whether the space you’re offering is suitable for their work and offers more value than a standard workspace.
In-Person Meetings Become Events
Leading on from that last point, one of the more recent MICE industry trends that we’re seeing as a result of remote work is that in-person meetings or often being swapped out for company-wide events that make the most of the time employees are taking to come together in the same place. Instead of asking staff to travel somewhere for an afternoon or even just an hour-long meeting every couple of weeks, companies are maximising the time they get when teams are together in-person and turning these occasions into events.
Company-wide retreats are growing in popularity, which MICE professionals will be well aware of, and more and more conferences and networking events are being organised as a way to bring together people that only work together or interact online. As well as adapting their business offering to respond to this MICE industry trend, companies should also adopt the approach themselves and think about hosting events for their employees that focus on in-person connection.
You might spend a whole day running workshops and presentations to align employees with new business goals or plan a couple of training sessions with social activities in between workshops. You could also just reward employees with a trip away, where strengthening relationships and building confidence is the priority.
How Businesses Can Adapt and Thrive
Businesses in the MICE industry should take full advantage of the benefits that a remote workforce offers them, and in doing so should be aware of the latest trends that have emerged in response to this increase in remote workers. Staying on top of how remote working can impact your business and how best to manage any issues is the best way to adapt, and you should remain flexible in your approach instead of trying to avoid any potential mishaps.
One of the most recent significant trends in remote work is that employees are now partly coming back to the office, opting for hybrid working and flexibility with the days that they work from home. Businesses should ensure that their office space is geared up for this shift and facilitate this flexibility, as it not only leads to happier employees but also more productive ways of working.
MICE businesses will thrive in the age of remote working as long as they ensure that internal processes and communication are strong and they have a solid sense of company culture that helps employees to feel aligned and connected. Consider the best ways that you can support your staff to make the most of both remote and in-person working opportunities and focus on ensuring that your business can operate with a remote or hybrid team. As the past few years have proved, you can never be sure when the working landscape will change!
Employment trends are always changing, but we believe that hybrid working models are definitely here to stay in the MICE industry for the foreseeable future. Whether your workforce is partly remote, scattered across different countries or only coming together a few times a year, understating current trends in remote work is the best way to ensure your company continues to operate successfully and your employees remain happy with the way they work.
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