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HRDQ will be closed on Friday (5/24) and Monday (5/27) for Memorial Day
What Are The Most Common Frustrations at Work in 2023? - HRDQ

What Are The Most Common Frustrations at Work in 2023?

A normal part of being a leader in the workplace requires dealing with employee frustration, but increased instability in the workplace in 2023 creates unique challenges for managers, owners, and executives.

The last few years have been revolutionary in terms of what it means to be both a leader and an employee. The uncertain economy, the Great Resignation, the increasing normalcy of flexible schedules, and other factors have significantly impacted the workforce.

As you likely know, anticipating problems before they arise can leave you much better suited to deal with them. For this reason, it's a good idea to have a firm grasp of the types of issues that might pop up as the year progresses.

What frustrations should you keep an eye out for in 2023? Let's look at what you should prepare for in the coming year.

The Struggle to Achieve Work-Life Balance

According to Gallup's 2022 State of the Global Workplace report, employee stress has reached a new all-time high– again. The previous all-time high emerged in 2020, but the 2022 report finds that even more employees are experiencing a significant amount of daily stress. 

When employees are stressed out, it can make them more likely to make errors and experience burnout while also increasing the chances of workplace conflict. When the problem of stress isn't addressed, rates of disengagement, absenteeism, and turnover can rise.

Employee Achieving Work-Life Balance

One of the best things to reduce employee stress is a good work-life balance, and many workers are aware of this. That said, it can be challenging to achieve when employees are overburdened at work and dealing with stress outside of work, leaving little room to rest and recharge before it's time to start working again.

Lack of Flexible Schedule

Many individuals in the workforce are increasingly interested in flexible schedules, and a growing number of companies offer this option. That doesn't just mean working remotely– it can mean giving employees a choice to work fewer, longer days during the week.

Making this type of shift, however, requires companies to transition to an asynchronous schedule that respects work-life boundaries and places a lot of trust in workers to accomplish their required work outside a traditional schedule.

A Frustrated Remote Employee

As flexible schedules become more common, we can expect to see a lack of flexibility in working hours becoming a growing frustration among employees. Individuals might start to prioritize this as a perk they are willing to seek a new employer for, and businesses should therefore keep their eyes on this trend as it starts to become the norm.

Credential Resentment

Another major workplace trend that has been emerging and continues to grow is a shift to skills-based hiring rather than recruiting based solely on degrees. In the past year, skills-based hiring has increased by 63%. This indicates that experience and potential are becoming more important to employers rather than academic qualifications.

Resentment Building in the Workplace

While this is great news for a big chunk of the workforce, it can also create tension and frustration in the workplace. Individuals who are paying off loans for degrees they obtained can resent people filling similar roles without academic credentials. If your workplace is shifting towards skills-based hiring after having strict requirements regarding academic qualifications, this is something you'll want to watch as the year unfolds.

Frustrations With Leadership

There are many ways that employees can be left feeling frustrated by the company or team leadership. Whether they are burdened with being micromanaged, they lack trust in their leaders, or they don't feel they know what is expected of them, this is a problem you'll want to nip in the bud right away.

Employee Frustrated With Leadership

Being a great leader isn't easy– it requires that you are able to make decisions, communicate complex information to a wide variety of diverse individuals, delegate tasks effectively, recognize potential, shoulder responsibility, and much more. However, one of the most critical aspects of successful leadership is self-awareness so that you can understand how you lead and where you have room to grow.

Luckily, leadership is a skill that you can continue to nurture and improve throughout your entire career. Using tools like HRDQ's leadership training workshops, you can create an outcome where both you and your employees thrive in the workplace.

Too Many Meetings

Another frustration to watch out for among your employees in 2023 results from holding far too many meetings. This doesn't just have an impact on staff productivity– as they're attending meetings when they could be getting other work done– but also on employee morale.

That doesn't mean that you should stop holding meetings entirely, of course, but it does propose the notion of being thoughtful about whether a particular meeting could effectively be replaced by an email or another form of communication.

A Team Meeting

For remote workers, having too many meetings can result in another type of frustration– video meeting fatigue. These work-from-home employees can experience all of the typical frustrations that come with being required to attend too many meetings while also dealing with the negative impact of engaging in back-to-back video conference calls.

Younger Generations Feeling Unprepared

If your organization is recruiting new hires from Gen Z, you'll want to be aware of a newly emerging frustration that could significantly impact your workplace.

The Workforce Institute recently conducted a study that found that 51% of Gen Z employees feel ill-prepared to enter the workforce. Not only do they claim that their education didn't adequately prepare them, but they also cite the pandemic as having reduced their ability to develop essential soft skills.

Young Employee Feeling Unprepared

Though this is an issue that is particularly pronounced with Gen Z, it's essential to also recognize that everyone has had to deal with a significant shift in the professional environment since 2020, and individuals of all generations have lost the opportunity to engage in what were once everyday interactions that helped to develop soft skills.

Unsupportive Workplace Culture

Whether your company is fully remote, fully in-office, or operates using a hybrid model, another frustration you'll want to watch out for is the lack of a supportive workplace culture. Company culture is something that employees strongly consider when choosing a workplace, and it can impact their decision about whether or not they stay with an organization or seek employment elsewhere.

An Unsupportive Workplace Culture

Providing a supportive workplace culture can help optimize your employees' health, well-being, and safety. This can incorporate taking steps to foster positive relationships between people and intentionally supporting your workers' growth and development.

The more supportive a company culture is, the more likely employees are to perform their best, be engaged in their work, and feel empowered to help make positive changes in the company.

Job Insecurity

Another trending frustration for 2023 is, unfortunately, job insecurity. Whether a recession will occur this year is a hot topic of discussion, with expert opinions ranging from managing to avoid a recession, experiencing a mild recession, and being confronted with a severe recession.

There are numerous reasons why many economists are predicting a recession in 2023, but many of them point to the interest rate policies of the Federal Reserve being partially responsible for triggering a recession.

All of this talk very reasonably has increased the amount of fear the average American worker has about losing their job. Many major corporations have already laid off a chunk of their workforce or have announced their intent to do so, including:

  • Microsoft: 10,000 job cuts
  • Alphabet: 12,000 job cuts
  • Amazon: 18,000 job cuts
  • Goldman Sachs: up to 3,200 job cuts
  • Salesforce: 7,000 job cuts
  • Spotify: 6,600 job cuts
  • Meta: 11,000 job cuts
  • Stripe: 1,100 job cuts
  • Tesla: 6,000 job cuts
  • Disney/ESPN: 7,000 job cuts
  • Zoom: 1,300 job cuts
  • PayPal: 2,000 job cuts
  • IBM: about 3,900 job cuts
  • Dell: 6,500 job cuts

Several top economists have taken up the task of predicting the number of job losses that could occur in 2023. For example, a report released by Bank of America warned that 175,000 jobs could be lost per month during parts of 2023, while the Federal Reserve announced that unemployment could increase to 4.4% by the end of 2023.

Employee Being Laid Off

Whether or not a severe recession will occur in 2023 is something that no one can predict. Regardless, it's clear that many companies are already hedging their bets by reducing their workforce– particularly tech companies that increased hiring as the pandemic shifted many in-office operations to the digital sphere.

Job insecurity can result in several negative consequences for workers and employers alike, including:

  • Low morale and motivation
  • Chronic stress and burnout among workers
  • Increased risk of health problems among workers

To help alleviate this frustration among your staff, it's essential not to sweep the issue under the rug. Do what you can to keep employees informed about your company's plan moving forward, and make an effort to be empathetic and acknowledge this very reasonable anxiety.


While boredom in the workplace might seem like a minor frustration compared to other items on our list, it's important not to overlook this. One in three people cited boredom as the reason they were leaving their job in a survey from 2018, and a Gallup poll found that nearly half of U.S. workers aren't engaged at work.

A Bored Employee

There are many strategies you can employ to reduce boredom among your employees, including:

  • Increasing responsibility
  • Acknowledging hard work and showing gratitude
  • Incorporating fun and engaging team-building exercises
  • Offering opportunities to build new skills
  • Creating social opportunities for your team
  • Finding opportunities to automate repetitive tasks
  • Offer flexibility in scheduling

Boredom is a frustration that can arise in even the best of workplaces. In some cases, it's a result of an individual not feeling challenged in their day-to-day work. In others, it can have to do with the feelings of isolation resulting from remote work or primarily working alone. Even if your employees don't seem to be frustrated by boredom currently, it can be good to implement boredom-reduction strategies ahead of time to help boost engagement in the long term.

Generational Conflicts

Intergenerational conflict in the workplace isn't new, but that doesn't mean you should overlook it as an employee frustration in 2023. Currently, there are at least four generations in the workforce: Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers.

Generational Workplace Conflicts

While every member of your staff is a unique individual that can't be understood based solely on the generation they belong to, different experiences, values, perspectives, and goals between generations can lead to conflict and tension.

Lack of Communication

Finally, another common frustration you'll want to watch out for in your workplace is dissatisfaction resulting from poor communication. When people don't have the ability or skills necessary to communicate effectively, it can increase workplace tension while making it more likely that errors will occur. It can also have a significantly damaging impact on morale and the company culture as a whole.

Lack of Communication in the Workplace

If communication is an issue in the workplace, leaders can take it upon themselves to improve their communication skills to become more effective communicators. As they build their toolkit over time, they can help their team reach a point where communication is clear and professional. This can have a practically revolutionary impact on the workplace, as it can boost productivity, engagement, morale, and satisfaction among employees.

Honing Your Leadership Skills Can Give You the Tools You Need to Respond to Employee Frustrations

Many solutions to these frustrations involve strong leaders taking action to alleviate worker frustrations. Whether or not they are directly irritated or aggravated by their leader's management style, the ability to make positive changes that improve morale lies in the leader's hands.

Responding to Employee Frustrations

Many leaders have utilized the leadership style assessment, training workshop, and management development tool What's My Leadership Style to improve their performance and become more effective leaders. Helping leaders gain an awareness of their leadership style, this tool and workshop can be invaluable in the effort to recognize and solve employee frustrations before they become a significant issue for employees and employers alike.

Do you have any comments or questions about appreciative inquiry or how to utilize it effectively in your company? If so, be sure to let us know down below. We appreciate your interest and input!

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About our author

Bradford R. Glaser

Brad is President and CEO of HRDQ, a publisher of soft-skills learning solutions, and HRDQ-U, an online community for learning professionals hosting webinars, workshops, and podcasts. His 35+ years of experience in adult learning and development have fostered his passion for improving the performance of organizations, teams, and individuals.