Has 2023 looked like what you’ve predicted? Flexibility at work has remained a top priority for employees. Inflation has hit us all (or almost). Companies have tried to implement greener initiatives to answer their staff and customers’ expectations. And now we are coming to the end of the year. So, what are the 2024 workplace trends? How will they be different from 2023?
This article will get you well-prepared for the upcoming year. Technologies and generative AI are reshuffling the way we work for good. If you tried to push back digital transformation, you might not have this choice in 2024. But this won’t be the only trend to remember, demographics and flexible work models are evolving, too.
Let’s put our VR (virtual reality) glasses on and jump into the future of work for a few minutes!
Trend 1: Four-day weeks will become more common
As we jump into 2024, it is becoming obvious that working five days in a row no longer matches the modern workforce’s expectations. Four-day weeks have become more common and reflect a shift in corporate mindset, prioritizing employee well-being and productivity
Many studies show that, by adopting a four-day work week, businesses are not only able to lower rates of employee burnout but are also experiencing a surge in job satisfaction and efficiency levels. This innovative approach to the work schedule is particularly pertinent for organizations that genuinely want to promote work-life balance.
In the U.S., 20% of companies have already adopted the four-day week model, and 41% are planning to give it a try. In an era when burnout is hitting people and enterprises hard, finding solutions to improve workers’ mental health is a must for everyone.
Trend 2: Hybrid work will still be going strong
As we move closer to 2024, it’s also becoming clear that hybrid work remains the best working model. It allows employees to have better work-life balance while empowering organizations to maintain a corporate culture and workplace connections. This will enable team members to work from home or in the office, depending on their needs and preferences.
Moreover, 72% of workers declare that they prefer having remote work opportunities to a salary increase. Therefore, as companies strive to balance the needs of both remote and in-person employees, 70% of them plan to keep or switch to a hybrid work model instead of going back to a full-time in-office schedule (some studies even talk about 81%!).
However, investment in technology is fundamental to making hybrid work a success. This includes desk booking software like deskbird, video conferencing tools, and other technologies that can help remote and in-person employees stay connected.
🎬 Do you want to learn more about our mission and how we can support your hybrid work environment? Discover the features of the deskbird app in our less than 2-minute video!
Trend 3: Generative AI will reshuffle the way we work
The workplace in 2024 is set to be a very different environment than that of today.
While AI used to mostly impact physical roles, it is now reshuffling the way people with knowledge jobs work, too. Robotization of routine tasks will free up workers to focus on more valuable and meaningful responsibilities. Moreover, generative AI can automate the creation of documents, reports, and other materials that require a high level of creativity. AI-assisted decision-making will also help organizations to make more informed choices faster and more accurately.
In 2023, many leaders recognized the advantages of introducing AI in the workplace. Yet, employers were still doubtful about these new tools. 2024 should be the year when this gap gets closed, as all executives realize the benefits of these smart technologies. For example, the use of AI for project management and task completion will help reduce costs and improve productivity.
Generative AI tools will have a major effect on the way businesses operate. Organizations that keep up with the latest technologies will be the ones that succeed. Additionally, this will enable them to reduce costs, streamline processes, and gain a competitive edge in the marketplace.
Trend 4: Digital transformation and datafication will support companies and employees
As we discussed in one of our recent posts about the impact and the importance of implementing digital transformation, utilizing technology will help you speed up processes, increase efficiency, and reduce costs.
Datafication plays an essential role in this shift. It will allow you to collect and analyze data more quickly and accurately to gain key information and make better decisions. Companies will use more data-driven insights to develop products and services that are tailored to customer needs.
It will also help you understand your staff’s behavior and develop strategies to improve workers’ engagement and satisfaction. For instance, deskbird’s office analytics feature enables you to optimize your workspace to save costs and boost employee experience. By using data to make smarter decisions, organizations will design more agile and flexible work environments that match the needs of the modern workforce better.
Trend 5: Upskilling and reskilling employees will become even more essential
You might think, “There is nothing new about the importance of upskilling and reskilling employees.” That is true. Providing opportunities for your team to learn new skills and stay on top of their game professionally should always be part of your strategy.
But, in 2024, it MUST be part of your strategy.
As mentioned, businesses aiming to make the most of the new technologies and AI will be the ones standing out. But this is impossible if your workforce doesn’t know how to use those tools. Training employees and investing resources to help them stay up-to-date will be fundamental.
Creating and implementing internal training programs will be essential to help bridge the gap between existing and emerging skills. Online learning resources will also play a major role, as well as AI-powered tools and virtual reality equipment.
Trend 6: Rising employee unhappiness and burnout will remain a core issue for businesses
We often talk about the importance of employee happiness and mental health. One of the reasons is that unhappiness and burnout in the workplace have been significantly increasing over the last few years. Sadly, statistics forecast no change for 2024. It might actually be worse.
Numbers reveal a possible 40% increase in job burnout in 2024. Statistics also show that 81% of people expect companies to implement mental health initiatives next year. How can you do this? There is no secret potion. But, we know more flexibility at work can help reach a better work-life balance, reduce stress, and improve employee experience, for example.
Remote work and flexible job opportunities have increased in recent years, but these alone are not enough to ensure workers’ well-being. Providing people with adequate resources and support to prevent burnout is a must. This includes mental health and wellness programs, as well as creating an employee-centric, positive, and healthy work environment.
Lastly, lack of recognition remains one of the main issues team members complain about, and therefore, showing more appreciation should be a top priority to boost happiness and lower burnout in the workplace in 2024.
Trend 7: The rise of Gen Z in the workplace will foster change in 2024
Do you feel like Generation Z entered the workplace yesterday? We do, too. Yet, in 2024, studies show that they will already represent around 23% of the entire workforce.
Considering this demographic change will be crucial for companies in 2024 as Gen Z values and expectations regarding work can be different from Millennials, Gen X, or Baby Boomers. While they favor the current digital transformation and working from home, they also want to meet their colleagues in person. Overall, Gen Z will bring a greater emphasis on collaboration, innovation, and creativity.
They will also bring a greater level of diversity, as well as an increased focus on work-life balance and environmental responsibility. Adjusting to Gen Z’s preferences will include shorter working hours, flexible working arrangements, more feedback, and more meaningful work.
Again, adopting new technologies and processes will be essential to embrace digital transformation but also to accommodate the needs and wants of Gen Z employees. Being the most diverse demographic group, focusing on creating an inclusive workplace culture is simply a must to retain this talent and help them thrive.
Trend 8: DEI will continue to be a core part of corporate strategies
As we look ahead to 2024, DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) will remain a core topic for companies of all sizes that aim to create fair and inclusive workplaces.
To do this, recruiting and hiring from underrepresented communities and taking steps to ensure all employees feel valued, respected, and empowered will be crucial. Moreover, building a more diverse, fair, and inclusive work environment will imply reflecting these values in organizational policies and procedures.
Training programs and resources can also be put in place for employees to cultivate an understanding and awareness of DEI. Here again, datafication will be important as it will help track the progress of your initiatives and measure the impact they have on the workplace.
In 2024, experts forecast fewer gender, race, and educational gaps in the professional world. And we hope they are right.
Trend 9: Demand for sustainable initiatives will force companies to act for the planet
As the world moves towards a greener future, organizations that refuse to go in this direction will be held accountable. In 2024, the workplace will see a much higher standard of sustainability, with an environmentally friendly business model that is implemented throughout all operations. This includes reducing waste, using renewable energy, investing in circular economies, and using sustainable materials and technologies. Organizations must come up with green initiatives that benefit the planet and their coworkers, in addition to creating strategies to lower their carbon footprint.
In addition, employers will have to ensure that sustainable practices are integrated into their corporate culture. This means creating policies that promote sustainability and environmental responsibility on top of encouraging employees to take part in eco-friendly initiatives. Companies must also consider how their products and services can reduce their impact on the planet and look for ways to innovate and develop new green solutions. By investing in sustainability, companies will also benefit from cost savings and improved relationships with customers and stakeholders.
Trend 10: The office layout will get a greener and collaborative makeover
You should also plan to change the way your workspace looks in 2024.
From flexible furniture to energy-efficient technologies, investing in modern solutions to build a more collaborative and inviting atmosphere is highly recommended. 2024 office layouts will enjoy a green makeover with sustainable materials such as bamboo, cork, and recycled wood being used to create furniture. Walls are being designed with innovative materials to promote teamwork, such as paint, magnetic boards, and interactive screens. Plants are becoming a popular way to add a natural touch to the workplace. Organic elements such as water features, natural light, and greenery are also being incorporated to develop a biophilic atmosphere, enhancing focus and creativity.
Flexible, modular furniture is being used to design multipurpose spaces and accommodate different working styles. Smart lighting and temperature control systems are helping to build an energy-efficient work environment. Social areas are being created to encourage collaboration and allow for more creative thinking.
Trend 11: The Big Stay will replace the Great Resignation
After the Great Resignation and the Great Reshuffle, the Great Stay, also called the “Big Stay” is set to transform the world of work in 2024. Among the reasons, some of the 2024 workplace trends mentioned in this article will encourage talent to stay. More work flexibility, mental health initiatives, business sustainability, DEI, learning opportunities, and time for purposeful tasks thanks to Generative AI and technologies are expected to improve the whole employee experience.
Moreover, the political and economic context we are currently facing forces people to prioritize stability and security. Therefore, employers across various sectors are preparing to roll out a series of programs aimed at employee retention. This goes from professional growth opportunities to flexible work arrangements and enhanced work-life balance.
By embracing digital transformation, implementing wellness programs, and boosting inclusive corporate cultures, companies will create workplaces where employees are not just working to pay their bills but are actively excited to stay and grow their careers. Lastly, new job opportunities have started to slow down in 2023, which encourages experts to believe the Big Stay is very likely to happen in 2024.
We hope this article gives a better idea about what to expect in the upcoming year and what the 2024 workplace trends will imply for your business. Some trends, such as hybrid work practices as well as DEI and sustainable initiatives, aren’t new but will become even more crucial than before. On the other hand, other phenomena, like the rise of Gen Z and the Big Stay, weren’t part of the previous years’ workplace trends and need to be considered. Moreover, while companies weren’t sure about the impact of Generative AI on the professional world, there is no doubt that these technologies will reshuffle the way we work in 2024.
Are you ready to embrace this new year? Do you also belong to the many companies that believe the best working model is hybrid? Then, start a free trial of the deskbird app to discover how our software enables you to make the most of flexible work while boosting employee experience and saving costs!
Paulyne is a hybrid work specialist, who writes about sustainability, flexible work models and employee experience.