As 2023 comes to an end and 2024 draws ever closer, we are set for another year of significant transformation and innovation in the workplace. Set against the backdrop of ongoing international conflicts, mounting environmental pressures, and potentially huge political change the world over due to elections taking place across many major nations. UK, USA, India, and Russia to name a few.
So as we step into another 365 days, what should we expect to see in the workplace? Let’s explore further:
1. Generative AI to take centre stage
Generative AI is the name given to technologies that use the power of AI to create content, whether that’s written, visual, or even audio. While it is already being used by workers - research carried out by Salesforce in September 2023 showed that 29% of the UK population is using generative AI - tools such as Microsoft Copilot launching only recently means that this stat is set to skyrocket in 2024.
While 2023 has been a huge year for AI and its capabilities, we have really just scratched the surface of this technology. And, we’re still getting used to it, merely experimenting with what it can mean for the way we work. As we move through 2024, the experimental phase with generative AI will be over, with people and organisations using it far more intentionally. The Economist has even referred to 2024 as the “year that generative AI will go mainstream” citing the rise in new AI products and talent.
If you haven’t started exploring generative AI yet, now might be the time. With tools like ChatGPT and Copilot set to transform the way we all work, the organisations that don’t embrace it will lose out.
2. Hiring will bounce back after a tough year
A post pandemic world coupled with the UK’s economic uncertainty, has made 2023 a tough year for recruitment. Redundancies, hiring freezes and a rise in job seekers have all been major challenges throughout the year. However, there’s some evidence to suggest that hiring will bounce back in 2024.
Research from the Indeed Hiring Lab 2024 Trends report has put this down to the rebound of interest in UK jobs from people overseas since the pandemic, and the imbalance of labour demand and supply gradually easing. Candidates will also continue to demand more from their workplaces, as they seek roles with increased flexibility, better conditions, and salary transparency.
3. We will see a rise in Return To Office mandates
As organisations continue to navigate a post-pandemic world, we are likely to see a huge increase in return-to-office (RTO) mandates in 2024.
Whether it has come from a perceived idea of greater productivity in person or feeling less connected to work when you are remote, many CEOs and business leaders have made it no secret that they want their people back in the office full time. New research has even shown that a huge 90% of companies plan to implement return-to-office mandates by the end of 2024, with nearly 30% going as far as saying they will threaten to fire employees who don’t comply with a return to in-office work.
Despite this, however, flexibility around working location still seems to be high on the agenda for employees and job seekers. With 65% of workers wishing to work remotely all of the time.
As the year goes on, it will be interesting to see how organisations and employees strike the right balance. Will companies that don’t offer more flexibility lose out on the best talent? Or will employees simply have no choice but to adhere to RTO mandates.
4. Gen Z Will Change the Workplace
A recent study into workplace trends by Glassdoor shows that 2024 will see the number of full-time Gen Z in the workforce will overtake boomers, as they become working age.
But what does more Gen Z in the workforce mean for ways of working? From the way businesses attract talent to preferences for working styles, it could mark a significant shift for organisations.
Typically, Gen Z are more digitally literate. They care deeply about equality and diversity, and are vocal about injustices. They are climate conscious, and will prioritise their own wellbeing above all else. Gen Z also have higher expectations about work/life balance and flexibility, and will demand higher salaries.
This means that organisations need to adapt in order to ensure they are not only attractive to Gen Z employees, but keep them happy too. To win the hearts and minds of Generation Z, it is crucial that employers don’t just ‘talk the talk,’ but take action too. They must demonstrate their commitment to equality, diversity and climate change. Not just talk about it.
While also continuing to prioritise the employee experience. After all, with Gen Z much more likely to job hop, they won’t hesitate to leave an organisation that doesn’t feel right for them.
5. Digital skills continue to be a necessity
As new technology – including the aforementioned Generative AI – continue to revolutionise the workplace at lightning speed, it is crucial that we upskill as technology develops. Ensuring we are equipped with the skills we need to be able to use brand new technologies effectively at work.
We already know that 27% of UK workers feel they lack significant digital skills to get their jobs done effectively. As technologies continue to develop at pace, harnessing and improving these digital skills will become crucial to businesses who don’t wish to be left behind.
To really thrive, businesses in 2024 will need their teams to take part in ongoing and regular digital training to keep skills up-to-date.
Workplace Trends in 2024 – Final thoughts
While none of us can really ever know what is on the horizon, one thing we know for sure is that 2024 will be yet another year of rapid change for the workplace.
From AI to Gen Z, hiring to digital skills, now is the time for businesses to put strategies in place to ensure they can continue to thrive. Both next year and beyond.
New year, new you?
Ensure your people are ready for 2024. Invest in digital skills and the employee experience now, to thrive in the future. Hable can help you upskill your people while putting them at the heart of technology. Get in touch today to see how we can help.