In 2024, the workplace continues to evolve, building upon the flexibility and autonomy trends that emerged in recent years. The widespread adoption of remote work, initially a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, has now become a staple, with most companies embracing a hybrid model combining in-person and remote work. This shift reflects an ongoing recognition of remote work's benefits, such as enhanced productivity and job satisfaction.
Inflation remains a concern, eroding purchasing power and making it more difficult for individuals to afford basic necessities. This economic climate contributes to heightened stress and burnout among workers, alongside reduced job satisfaction and productivity. The uncertainty fostered by these ongoing challenges has dampened investment and confidence in future stability, affecting workforce dynamics.
As we look at the trends shaping the workplace in 2024, it's clear that they are responses to these complex, interconnected challenges. Here are the seven work trend predictions we believe will define the year(s) to come:
workplace trend predictions for 2024
01. flexible work options are here to stay
Flexible work options are certain to continue trending in 2024. The accelerated development and successful use of workplace technology and virtually collaborative tools has laid the necessary groundwork for remote work to be here to stay. Whether that be home office, hybrid, work-from-anywhere, workations, 4 day work weeks or completely flexible hours. Many companies have realised the benefits of these more flexible options, which include increased job satisfaction, work-life balance, productivity, and cost savings for the employer.
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02. non-linear career paths will become the norm
Careers spent within the same division, let alone at the same company are slowly becoming harder and harder to find. Instead, non-linear career paths, where individuals move between different roles and industries throughout their working lives, are becoming more normalised. One reason for this is the changing nature of work, with the rise of the gig economy and the freelance workforce. This allows people to take on a variety of different roles and gain diverse experiences. Additionally, technology and automation are changing the skills that are in demand, making it more important for individuals to hone their soft skills that enable them to continuously learn and adapt throughout their careers. Social media and other digital tools are also making it easier for individuals to network and market themselves to potential employers. These factors are contributing to a more fluid job market and a shift away from traditional career paths.
This works incredibly in the favour of those who want to switch careers but fear they lack experience in their desired field. There is an ever-growing library of tools out there to help, and we offer a career success program that will bolster you to make that bold move here.
03. an increasing use of AI
Artificial intelligence and automation are likely to be adopted by even more companies to improve efficiency and productivity. These technologies can be used to automate repetitive tasks, process large amounts of data, and make more accurate predictions. This will have the added benefit of freeing up employees to focus on more complex and creative tasks.
In particular, we expect to see an increase in use of AI in the hiring process such as finding candidates and screening CVs. AI also shows success in removing bias from the hiring process and improving the decision-making of HR professionals and hiring managers. AI can be used to analyse data and identify patterns, helping managers and employees make more informed decisions.
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04. growing importance of power skills
Power skills will be the yin to the yang which is the increasing use of AI. Since software and AI will be taking over and automating more and more of our tasks, soft skills will become more important than ever. In particular, soft skills such as creativity, adaptability and communication that cannot be performed by our robot sidekicks will become even more in demand.
One important power skill: social skills and the ability to meet new people and build meaningful connections has suffered a global decline as a result of the social isolation most of us were subjected to during the pandemic. As the world returned to pre-pandemic levels of in-person events, power skills will be paramount.
Check out our tips on improving your networking and negotiation skills here.
05. greater emphasis placed on mental health
The pandemic and resulting social isolation have highlighted the importance of mental health and well-being in the workplace. Companies are likely to continue to focus on creating a culture that prioritises employee mental health, openness and support.
We also expect to see the addition of further mental health-related resources to support healthier relationships between employees and their mental health. One form of this is for employers to provide free access to mental health professionals for therapy and mindfulness sessions either in-house or through an employee assistance program. Companies may also begin working with external companies to provide training surrounding mental health awareness and preventing burnout. Additionally, we expect to see a rise in mental health days off becoming offered as part of an employee’s benefits.
It's important to note that mental health support should be tailored to the specific needs of the organisation and its employees and that it should be an ongoing effort rather than a one-time initiative.
06. more DEI initiatives
2023 saw a greater emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace than ever before and now that employers have experienced the benefits for themselves, we expect to see an uptake of even more DEI initiatives in the workplace. Companies began to take more concrete steps, such as unconscious bias training, employee resource groups, and more diverse hiring practices, to address existing systemic inequalities and create a more inclusive culture.
This pattern is sure to increase and gain even more traction in 2024. Since DEI and closing the gender leadership gap is our mission, we can’t wait to continue shaping a better workplace and supporting women along the way as they climb the career ladder. For support with your company's DEI journey, you can get in touch with us here.
07. a growing workforce and decreasing unemployment rate
Unfortunately due to the war, inflation and economic uncertainty across Europe and beyond, mass layoffs have became increasingly common, particularly within the tech sector. 2023 has already shown early signs of stabilisation of inflation in Europe and we expect (also sincerely hope) this continues throughout the rest of the year. As the economy continues to recover, companies may begin to hire again and more talents will rejoin the workforce and decrease the unemployment rate even further to record low levels. One possible way that unemployment would decrease in 2024 is through job creation in growing industries. Additionally, governments may implement policies to encourage hiring, such as tax incentives for businesses or subsidies for training programs. Alternatively, some talents may see this as an opportunity to pursue what they want to do and find their own businesses.
The key trends shaping work in 2024 will certainly centre around countering the inflation and post-pandemic era that 2022 brought as well as a continuation of the flexible work options and a focus on D&I and mental health in the workplace. For people looking to make big career moves in 2024, the development of power skills, in particular social skills, will be paramount to success. People will need to feel empowered to make the right connections and obtain those industry insights to land the next role. Regardless of where you are in your career, the career success program will guide you to setting and achieving your career goals. Check out the full details here.