In addition to resolutions and new restaurants, the new year also has us curious about the future of work in WNC. We chatted with startup savant Jeff Kaplan, executive director of Venture Asheville, for his predictions about what 2023 holds for the business sector locally.
“Based on the metro outlook and data, the big takeaway for work in 2023 is that it will be a year of contradictions and exceptions,” Jeff says. “Folks will have to do more with less and employers will have to navigate a tricky tension regarding work expectations and culture. This means meeting increasing professional needs while keeping people from becoming exhausted.”
For those who want to kick off 2023 strong, Jeff has three bits of advice:
Implement AI, stat
“Automation has been needed for years across industries, and it’s now become incredibly easy for people to use,” he says. “It may sound far-fetched, but it’s akin to the transition from typewriters to computers and then email.”
Because of widespread labor and supply chain disruptions, AI-enabled work is faster and more efficient. “What could take weeks before can now be done in minutes,” he says. In fact, Jeff uses AI technology to craft his newsletter and social media posts, allowing him to do more with less.
Think of work seasonally
“Workers have made so much progress for work/life balance, and in order to continue that and maintain productivity and avoid burnout, we need to think of work seasonally,” says Jeff. “It’s like with athletics: there’s pre-season, training, competition, post-season, and off season.”
“With Venture Asheville,” he continues, “we have a ton of events in the fall, so we spend the months before that planning, then we sprint and go hard, and generally take the last two weeks of the year off before we begin again.”
Culture is king
Particularly when it comes to remote work, “Culture is your competitive advantage,” Jeff notes. “It’s the differentiator. When company culture aligns with your purpose and values, that makes all the difference for jobs that you can do from anywhere.”