Ladies and gentlemen, it's that time of the year again. Bells are ringing, sleighs are singing, and business leaders are...anticipating change.
As we approach the year 2024, it's hard to ignore the rapid pace at which technology and societal shifts are transforming the workplace. And while we can't slow down time, trends, and shifting economies, we can prepare for what's ahead.
We asked HR managers, Facility Managers, small business entrepreneurs, and people managers what they think 2024 workplaces will look like.
Here's what we learned.
More Sustainability (About Time!)
Sustainability is no longer an optional extra, but an imperative for businesses everywhere in the wake of growing environmental concerns. It's about adopting practices that not only ensure a healthier planet, but also contribute to economic profitability and social equity. As we move towards 2024, organizations embracing sustainability are likely to be the leaders setting the pace for others in a rapidly evolving workplace.
"In 2024, I expect the workplace in 2024 to be more sustainable and responsible, as employees and employers will have more responsibility and accountability for the environmental and social impact of their actions and decisions. I see the workplace in 2024 as a place where sustainability and responsibility are not only goals but also strategies where everyone can contribute to the well-being and development of the planet and the society. I think the workplace in 2024 will require more innovation and collaboration to achieve a better future, such as green technologies, social causes, and partnerships."
-- Erika Mac Donald, CEO & Founder @Engaging New Media
Bringing More of Who You Are to Work
As we move forward, it's becoming clear that the future workplace will encourage a more holistic approach to employee identity, one that appreciates and values an individual's diverse backgrounds, passions, and talents. This shift acknowledges the rich tapestry of experiences and perspectives that people can bring to their roles, enhancing creativity and innovation. In short, the 2024 workplace will be a place where being authentic isn't just allowed—it's celebrated.
"I think the workplace will be more informal and relaxed. I think people are going to feel comfortable wearing whatever they want to work, as long as it's professional. I think we're going to see more diversity in gender identity and expression at work, and that will be reflected in the way people dress."
-- Jon Gordon, Managing Partner & Co-founder @Sheer Velocity
"There have been many strides made in this past year, and next year we will continue to see more similar strides in terms of inclusivity being made in hiring and teams. We will also continue to see more skills-based hiring taking place. I feel that this will continue even if we do see a dip in the economy which will impact businesses. In these cases, skills-based hiring will expand to include quiet hiring practices."
-- Ben Richardson, Founder & Director @Acuity Training
"Workforces are becoming more diverse and distributed because of remote and hybrid work, which means creating an inclusive culture is essential. To that end, companies starting to invest in training programs to educate employees about diversity and inclusion. They are also adopting tools and practices that support collaboration across different time zones and cultural backgrounds, ensuring that every voice is heard and valued."
-- Gianluca Ferruggia, General Manager @DesignRush
The Future's Bright, The Future's...Here
We used to think AI and machines to do our work was a thing of the far-future -- the science-fiction scenarios of flying cars and robot maids. As it turns out, the future's closer than we think.
"Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) in Training and Collaboration: Businesses will most likely use AR and VR technologies for immersive staff training programs. This could be especially useful in industries where hands-on experience is essential but impossible to replicate in standard training settings. Virtual collaboration tools will progress, allowing remote teams to collaborate effortlessly and foster a sense of presence even while physically separated."
-- Draven McConville, CEO @Klipboard
"The pace of change in the world—and in the workplace—is faster than ever before. Technology, globalization, and other forces are rapidly reshaping industries and jobs. It's no longer about the future of work, it's the "now of work”. To thrive in this environment, we must develop strong self-leadership capabilities—it’s the key skill for the future of work in 2024. Employees at all levels will be expected to demonstrate tremendous self-motivation, self-care and energy management, and personal accountability as organizations rely on individuals to manage their growth and direction.”
--Alanna Finke, SVP Content and Head of Learning, meQuilibrium
"In 2024, I expect the current workplace trends to continue with organizations focused on introducing and adopting new technology, work models, and flexible schedules. The main focus will certainly be on adopting and mastering workplace technology and tools, and this will drive remote work trends and outsourcing, as well as flexible schedules where employees can balance work around their lives."
-- Max Wesman, COO @GoodHire
More Empathy, More Employee Well-Being
The current and future workplace emphasizes not just performance but also the mental and emotional well-being of employees. Recognizing that a happy workforce equates to a more productive and creative environment, organizations are increasingly prioritizing empathy and employee welfare.
"I foresee a shift towards a more empathetic and understanding workplace in 2024. The recent wave of resignations and the trend of ‘quiet quitting’ have been a wake-up call for people managers, including myself. We’re realizing the importance of truly hearing our teams and ensuring they feel valued.
In response, I anticipate a greater emphasis on dialogue, particularly around benefits and workload distribution. This is because the goal now is to create an environment where employees feel their voices are heard and their contributions are appreciated.
Exit interviews have long been a staple in understanding why employees leave. But I believe the future lies in 'stay interviews.’ These conversations aim to uncover what motivates employees and what makes them choose to stay with their companies."
-- Laia Quintana, Head of Marketing and Sales @TeamUp
"Companies will adopt a more employee-centric approach, focusing on employee well-being, career development, and work-life balance to attract and retain top talent."
-- Shawn Plummer, CEO @The Annuity Expert
"I foresee a significant shift towards employee-centric policies. Mental health and work-life balance will become cornerstones of HR strategies, recognizing that the well-being of employees is directly linked to their performance and the overall success of the business. This will involve more than just flexible hours; it will encompass supportive management practices, mental health days, and an emphasis on building a positive and inclusive company culture."
-- Emma Zerner, Co-founder & Content Strategist @Icecartel
More Collaboration & Tech to Support It
The emphasis on collaborative technologies is steadily increasing. These technologies serve as key enablers for remote work, fostering seamless communication, idea-sharing, and collective problem-solving. Indeed, the upcoming years worldwide will witness a surge in the adoption of such technologies, ushering in a new era of interconnectedness in the global workspace.
"I think the way we work has changed dramatically in the last decade, and I expect that trend to continue. The way we work now is much more flexible than it used to be, and people are expected to have a lot more autonomy over when, where, and how they do their jobs. This has created a situation where workers feel less tied down by their companies and less able to take advantage of opportunities within their organizations.
But I also see this trend as something positive—it means that workers are getting more freedom over their careers and are able to pursue opportunities they wouldn't have been able to before.
The flip side of this freedom is that workers need support from their employers in order to succeed in these new roles. This means providing training programs for employees who want to learn new skills or move into new positions within the company; having clear career paths so people know what they need to do next (and how); making sure there's room for advancement; etc.”
-- -- Gauri Manglik, CEO and Co-Founder @Instrumentl
"I think it's fair to assume that work/life balance aided by AI tools will become more commonplace in 2024. The pace of innovation and accessibility in AI tools is staggering, and this makes automating and streamlining easier (and cheaper). It really makes the services of an assistant or data entry clerk accessible for employees at any level, which will hopefully prevent burnout. As someone who runs a legal team, the idea of streamlining tasks that require little brain power but lots of time is really appealing to curb burnout rates."
-- Jonathan Feniak, General Counsel @LLCAttorney
More Flexibility (Yes, Even More!)
The concept of flexibility holds a central role in who we are now -- not only in terms of time and location, but in the nature of work and the expectations set on employees. This section delves into how organizations are pushing the boundaries of flexibility even further, adapting to the demands of the modern workforce and the evolving landscape of industries.
"The multigenerational workforce only continues to expand, and as more Boomers are reaching retirement age, workplaces are working harder than ever to keep everyone happy with more flexibility. And, as the cost of living has significantly increased, more retirees are reentering the workforce to top up that retirement income and give themselves access to more disposable income. Since the needs of Gen Z vary so widely from Baby Boomers, flexibility by default is the key to ensuring everyone’s needs are met."
-- David Jovanovic, Founder & CEO @RJ Living
...And More Hybrid
"I expect the workplace in 2024 to be more flexible and hybrid, as employees and employers will have more options and preferences on how and where to work. I see the workplace in 2024 as a combination of physical and virtual spaces, where collaboration, communication, and innovation can happen across different locations and time zones. I think the workplace in 2024 will require more skills and tools to adapt to the changing environment and demands, such as digital literacy, creativity, and problem-solving."
-- Alexej Pikovsky, CEO & Founder of Nuoptima
Ready to Take on 2024 with an Open Mind?
YAROOMS hopes your New Year will be amazing. May whatever storms and challenges you had to navigate in 2023 disappear and leave blue skies and clarity behind. Whether you adopt any of the trends shown in this piece, one thing is for sure: the future of work will be exciting, and it requires us to stay open-minded and adapt quickly. Here's to a fantastic 2024!
Cheers from the YAROOMS Team.