Summer Promo: Get 20% Off!

2024 and Beyond:
Navigating the New Work Era

future of work

Introduction

The office tower hummed not with chatter, but with the faint whir of countless processors. Elena stared at her monitor, a frown creasing her brow. For a decade, her role as a market analyst required keen insight gleaned from massive data sets. Now, the machines did it better. She’s fearing: Had she become obsolete? 

That evening, she opened the HR portal, the “Four Worlds of Work” report flashing across her screen. It was company mandated reading… 

 World One: The Big Shift. In this world, government regulation slowed technology, keeping jobs secure, at least for now. Elena could see herself here, treading water in her current role. But was that safety, or stagnation? 

 World Two: New Frontiers. Governments and corporations raced hand-in-hand, unleashing technological change at breakneck speed. It was thrilling but terrifying. This world demanded skills Elena didn’t have – coding, machine learning, disciplines far from her business background. 

 World Three: Skills Bazaar. Here, human skills were bartered on the open market, individuals shifting relentlessly to where the needs were. Freelancing, the gig economy… She felt a blend of freedom and fear.

 World Four: Corporate Reigns. The report’s starkest scenario: Automation soared, corporations became monolithic, and most workers subsisted on stipends. If she didn’t find her place, would that future, a life on the dole, become hers? 

The choice wasn’t just about her, but her son, Alex. He talked of being a robo-engineer. She ached for him to have opportunities she never did, but in which of these worlds did those dreams flourish? 

The following weeks her company announced a pivot – AI tools were their future. Would they invest in retraining her, or was it time to jump? 

Then, an unexpected message: a task force seeking individuals from non-technical backgrounds to bridge the gap between human needs and machine solutions. Elena’s pulse quickened. 

Her expertise in markets, her understanding of customer behavior – those skills were suddenly valuable anew, but in a way she never foresaw. The application was lengthy, the competition fierce, but she felt a strange sense of calm. 

Elena didn’t know which of the four worlds would arrive by 2030. But perhaps the greatest change wasn’t out there after all; perhaps it was within her. She’d find her place, and help Alex find his, come what may. 

The story on the left is a story created by Google’s Gemini using a prompt that speaks of worries about the future of work and the big transformations we are facing. One of the worries is Google Gemini itself 😀. It did quite a good job, don’t you think?

Which of those 4 scenarios will come to life?

In this report we are going to try and find an answer. 

This is why, in the following chapters we’ll dig deeper in order to: 

  • See which are the megatrends shaping the workplace of tomorrow. 
  • Identify how the future of jobs might look like. 
  • Get a glimpse on the skills we need to step into the future. 
  • Understand the remote revolution. 
  • Shine  light on wellbeing trends.

 

We’ve compiled some of the best reports out there on the future of work and we’re sharing with you the forecasts for the workplace of the future when it comes to the future of jobs, of work arrangements, and of the office. 

Important: there is only one constant in life and that is “change”. This means that nobody has a crystal ball to see into the future. But, looking towards the horizon will help us navigate the journey ahead.   

Table of Content

Understanding how technology, demographic shifts, and environmental issues will influence the workplace and the workforce. 

Forecasts on how the megatrends will affect jobs and skills, from technology disruption to demographic shifts. Find out how employees can step into the future. 

Diving into the evolving landscape of work arrangements, focusing on three prominent trends: hybrid, remote, and flexible work. Success story: remote.com.  

On engaging remote teams, on how to prioritize wellbeing. How to tackle remote productivity and how to approach the belonging issue?

Chapter 1
The Megatrends of the Future of Work

The folks at PwC have defined 5 megatrends affecting the future of the world we live in, and they’ve been monitoring them for the past 10 years. Below we are going to look at how these megatrends might affect both the workforce and the workplace. 

  • 1
    Climate change
  • 2
    Technology disruption
  • 3
    Demographic shifts
  • 4
    Fracturing world
  • 5
    Social instability

1. Climate Change

Businesses face a double threat from climate change. On one hand, rising temperatures and extreme weather events will disrupt supply chains, infrastructure, and resource availability. On the other hand, efforts to combat climate change, like stricter regulations and shifting consumer preferences, will force businesses to adapt or face potential decline.

This means navigating resource competition, implementing sustainability practices, and responding to changing demands, all while grappling with the direct impacts of a changing environment. 

How are the environmental issues affecting businesses?

  • Adapt or fail: Businesses need to change what they make and how they make it. They need to think about sustainability and make sure they can deliver even when things go wrong. 
  • Scarce resources = high costs: Important materials, like energy, water, special metals, and even sand, are getting harder to find. This will make things more expensive. 
  • Weather and natural events disrupt the supply chain: Heat, floods, storms, and fires are destroying factories, warehouses, and roads. This stops companies from getting and delivering their products. 
  • Investment in “green collar” jobs: Just like computers created new jobs, fighting climate change will too. But we don’t yet know all these jobs or how to train people for them. 

Some Facts and Figures

Now, let’s look at some stats showing how the way we work affects the environment and vice-versa: 

  • According to Manpower, 78% of businesses have or are developing environment, social, and governance (ESG) goals, but only 6% have the talent they need to achieve them. 
  • The average ride-hailing trip produces an estimated 69% more carbon emissions than the trips it replaces. An electric ride-hailing trip can cut emissions by about 50%. 
  • Nearly 76% of the workers in the U.S. commuted to work alone back in 2019 (U.S. Census).   
  • A 1% decrease in commuting flows decreases air pollutants by 0.08-0.17%. 
  • Switching from working onsite to working from home can reduce up to 58% of work’s carbon footprint (in the US), as a study from the peer-reviewed journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) from points out. 
  • According to data from the International Energy Agency (IEA), based on today’s policies, 8 million clean energy jobs will be added worldwide by 2030, with fossil fuel jobs declining by 2.5 million, so there would be a net positive. There are also even more optimistic scenarios.  

of companies do not have the talent to reach their environmental goals.

clean energy jobs will be added worldwide by 2030

can be the reduction of the carbon footprint when switching from office work to remote.

2. Technology Disruption

The latest evolution of technology (AI especially) is altering the way we live and challenges our perception of what it means to be human. Though it offers great value, the potential harm grows and we’re facing problems while trying to mitigate the risks. 

How is disruptive technology affecting organizations?

  • Standing out: Using cool tech isn’t enough anymore. Businesses need to use it in smart ways to beat the competition. 
  • No digital, no business: Businesses that don’t change with the times and don’t spend on new technology risk going under. 
  • More tech, more danger: As businesses rely more on technology, they’re facing more and more cybersecurity risks, as well as misinformation. 
  • Big guys win, small guys lose: Powerful tech companies can make it tough for smaller businesses to compete. 
  • Skills gap: It’s getting hard to find people with the right skills for the new tech world. Companies will need to get involved in the reskilling of employees. 

 

Some facts and figures:

  • Employers estimate that 44% of workers’ skills will be disrupted in the next 5 years (World Economic Forum). 
  • The Future of Jobs 2023 Report predicts 26 million fewer jobs by 2027 in record-keeping and administrative roles, including cashiers and ticket clerks; data entry, payroll clerks, bookkeeping, accounting, and executive secretaries. 
  • Industrial robot density has nearly doubled over the last 5 years, reaching 126 robots per 10,000 workers on average, according to WEF. However, the impact of robots on jobs is mixed. While some companies in industries like oil and gas and consumer goods production expect job losses, others, like information technology, expect new jobs to be created. This suggests that the impact of robots will vary depending on the specific industry and the type of work being done. 

of employees skills will be disrupted by 2028.

in the past 5 years the industrial robots density almost doubled.

"Most people I know have a to-do list they’ll never get through on their own. And even with AI increasing their rate of completion by 80% or more, they still might not get through everything. And that’s just the quantity of work. When we think about doing more but with higher quality, there’s a lot of room in the future for us to keep our jobs."
Jim Kalbach
Chief Evangelist at Mural and an advocate
for remote collaboration and design thinking

3. Demographic Shifts

Societies are facing three big issues on the medium and long term: 

  • In many countries (e.g. Europe, Japan, etc.) the population is getting older, with fewer workers to support them. This causes tension as older folks, who vote more, control the future, even if the younger generation disagrees.  
  • There are countries where the population is young and growing (e.g. Niger). This means lots of potential workers and customers, but only if those people get jobs and education. Without opportunity, young populations get restless and talented people leave, hurting the country’s economy. 
  • Immigration. The rising number of conflicts around the world, as well as the climate threats are creating new waves of immigrants. Immigration may increase competition for existing jobs in certain occupational sectors, but it can also create new jobs. Low-wage workers are more likely to lose out from immigration. 

How are the demographic shifts affecting organizations?

  • Changing customers: Older and younger people buy different things, have different buying behavior, and can be reached out via different marketing channels. No matter the age, gender, or race of the buyer, personalization will remain a must-have, when it comes to product development and messaging. 
  • Harder to find workers: Finding and keeping employees will be a challenge, especially in societies with fewer younger people. There will be a lot of pressure to fill up jobs in the caregiving domain. 
  • Overqualified immigrants (in the EU): Europe faces another challenge: while employers need workers with specific skills, there many overqualified immigrants, that aren’t able to fully use their abilities in their current positions. One solution to solve this would be simplifying the recognition of third-country qualifications, which will not be easy. 
  • Workplace clashes: Workers from traditional times all the way to Gen Z are now working side-by-side. This difference in views can make it hard for everyone to work together. And if we add immigrants to the equation, we can understand the increased importance of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) policies. 
  • Talent loss: The best and brightest young people in some countries will leave to find better jobs elsewhere. This leaves businesses without the skills they need to grow.  

Some facts and figures:

  • A Korn Ferry report finds that by 2030, more than 85 million jobs could go unfilled because there aren’t enough skilled people to take them. This shouts opportunity! This also means that some companies might try to bring back retirees to the workforce. Some of them will be motivated by rising costs and the need for connection, as the folks at Manpower point out. 
  • A 2024 projection by the Bureau of Labor Force Statistics suggests a rapidly aging workforce. With one in four workers expected to be 55 or older (up from 21.7% in 2014), Gen Z will be entering a workplace with a significant presence of Gen X colleagues. This trend shows the growing importance of effective communication and understanding between generations. 

jobs could go unfilled by 2030 because of the lack of skilled workers

4. Fracturing World

How is a multi-nodal world affecting business development?

  • Pressure to take sides: Governments and the public may force businesses to cut ties with certain places or people, even if it hurts profits. Companies must decide how to react. This is what we’ve already seen when Russia invaded Ukraine. People started boycotting businesses that sided with Russia. 
  • Broken supply chains: Wars and trade fights can make it hard to get the things businesses need. This is especially risky for companies that rely on suppliers from many different countries. For example, Yemen’s Houthis are attacking ships in the Red Sea as a response to Israel’s attack on Palestine. About 12% of global trade passes through the Red Sea, which connects to the Mediterranean Sea via the Suez Canal.
  • Confusing rules: Laws, taxes, and trade deals keep changing around the world. It’s hard to keep track and sometimes impossible to follow the rules everywhere. 
  • Local loyalty: With the world getting messy, businesses are pushed to be more involved in the communities they work in, supporting them even outside their normal business goals. Supporting the local communities is becoming a moral obligation.

Some facts and figures:

  • The East Asian countries dominate the top 10 countries for businesses considering ways to enhance resilience in their supply chains, through “nearshoring” or “friendshoring” (Hong Kong SAR – China, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Taiwan, Philippines). 
  • The East Asian countries also dominate the top 10 countries affected by supply chain shortages and/or rising costs (Vietnam, Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore).  

5. Social Instability

Serious social issues are getting more widespread and complex, making it increasingly difficult for people to decide what to do in their lives. 

These issues were defined by the PwC network as the ADAPT framework: 

  • Asymmetry of all types: rising housing and energy costs, increasing rich-poor gap, wages gap between physical and manual work, etc. 
  • Disruption from climate and tech issues. 
  • Age (we’ve tackled the topic earlier) 
  • Polarization: people are angry and divided because they feel like the government isn’t helping them. They don’t trust others who are different and struggle to get the things they need. We could see this in the COVID debate, in the US elections, Brexit, etc. 
  • Trust: people don’t trust their leaders anymore, especially the government, making it hard to get things done. 

How is social instability challenging organizations?

  • Success is a story with multiple stakeholders. Leaders must balance profits with customer needs, employee well-being, ethical supply chains, environmental impact, and community support.
  • Trust as an asset. Businesses worried about safety, fairness, and climate change need to earn public trust. This trust is crucial for changing the company for the future, and it even boosts the company’s value. 
  • Balancing transparency and reputational risk. Sharing more with stakeholders about how the business works can be a double edge sword. 
  • Businesses must take care of their employees. As governments and institutions struggle, companies are now expected to help employees with basic needs like healthcare, fair wages, and retirement savings. 

Chapter 2
Job Market Predictions

The future of work is a big question mark. Technology like robots and AI are changing where and how we work. Some even wonder if we’ll need to work at all! Until then, several companies are experimenting with the 4-day workweek, and it seems successful. 

While many people are worried about these changes, we think there’s more to it. It’s about how we choose to use this technology, not just the technology itself. 

Employment and Skills Trends

  • In a PwC survey, 37% of employees seem excited about the future, 36% are confident they will be successful, while 18% of the survey respondents are worried.
  • When the question of AI is asked, the feelings change significantly. 37% of survey respondents are worried that automation is putting their jobs at risk. 
  • Data from World Economic Forum is revealing that businesses are rapidly embracing new technologies, with over 75% planning to adopt big data, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence (AI) within the next 5 years. Overall, the impact is forecasted to be a net positive. This means that some jobs will record a decline. Employers anticipate a structural labor market churn of 23% of jobs in the next 5 years. On the other hand, some jobs will grow, some new ones will show up, making up for the job decline.
  • Businesses estimate that 34% of all business-related tasks are performed by machines, with the remaining 66% performed by humans, according to the Future of Jobs 2023 Report. 
  • As the world’s population grows and gets older, the need for care and healthcare will increase. This will be visible in countries such as Belgium, or France, less in the US or India. 
  • Employers also plan to focus on developing worker’s skills in leadership and social influence (40% of companies); resilience, flexibility and agility (32%); and curiosity and lifelong learning (30%). 
  • Training workers to utilize AI and big data ranks third among company skills-training priorities in the next five years and will be prioritized by 42% of surveyed companies.  
  • The second priority for workforce development is to promote creative thinking, which will be the subject of 8% of upskilling initiatives.  
  • When it comes to the evolution of skills, according to the World Economic Forum, the highest priority for skills training from 2023-2027 is analytical thinking, which is set to account for 10% of training initiatives, on average.  
  • Demand for AI and Machine Learning Specialists is expected to grow by 40%, or 1 million jobs. 
  • A 30-35% increase (1.4 million) is expected for roles such as Data Analysts and Scientists, Big Data Specialists, Business Intelligence Analysts, Database and Network Professionals, and Data Engineers.
  • Demand for AI and Machine Learning Specialists is expected to grow by 40%, or 1 million jobs. 

of employees are excited about the future

Source: PwC survey

of employees think technology will not replace the human mind

Source: PwC survey

of companies plan to adopt big data, cloud computing, and AI in the next 5 years

Source: Future of Jobs Report
2023 (WEF )

of all business-related tasks will still be performed by humans 

Source: Future of Jobs Report
2023 (WEF )

jobs are expected to be created for Data Analysts and Scientists, Big Data Specialists, Business Intelligence Analysts, Database and Network Professionals, and Data Engineers. 

Source: Future of Jobs Report
2023 (WEF )

Top 10 fastest growing jobs

1AI and Machine Learning Specialists
2Sustainability Specialists
3Business Intelligence Analysts
4Information Security Analysts
5Fintech Engineers
6Data Analysts and Scientists
7Robotics Engineers
8Electrotechnology Engineers
9Agricultural Equipment Operators
10Digital Transformation Specialists

Source: Future of Jobs Report
2023 (WEF )

Top 10 fastest declining jobs

1Bank Tellers and Related Clerks
2Postal Service clerks
3Cashiers and Ticket Clerks
4Data Entry Clerks
5Administrative and Executive Secretaries
6Material Recording and Stock-Keeping Clerks
7Accounting, Bookkeeping and Payroll Clerks
8Legislators and Officials
9Statistical, Finance, and Insurance Clerks
10Door-to-door Sales Workers, News and Street Vendors

Source: Future of Jobs Report
2023 (WEF )

Chapter 3
The Future of Work Arrangements

"We are trapped in mental models of the past, and it doesn’t serve us well. This is particularly true when we think of productivity for modern knowledge workers within an experience-based service economy. The office also needs to be reimagined from the bottom up. I think there is still a purpose to have a physical space for workers to use, but it won’t be in the traditional sense in the future."
Jim Kalbach
Chief Evangelist at Mural and an advocate
for remote collaboration and design thinking

The hybrid. The remote. The flexible work.

The pandemic shattered the traditional office model. Working from home, once a rare privilege, became a necessity for many in 2020. Daily commutes and rigid schedules are no longer the standard. Now, we should also be aware that more than 50% of the workforce has little or no opportunity for remote work, as per McKinsey. Some of these jobs, especially those that are low wage, will be subject to automation and digitization.  

 

At the end of 2023 the percentage of paid full working days from home declined and stabilized around 30%, according to WFH research. Despite the rise of remote work, some business leaders remain apprehensive and are mandating at least three days of in-office work. 

There’s a gap between what employees want and the employers’ offerings when it comes to remote work, as per WFH Research. 

The industries that are more open, as well as able to offer remote working as a perk are technology and information, finance and insurance, professional and business services (WFH Research Jul – Dec 2023, US data). 

The same research shows that workers in their 50s and 60s are fully onsite more often than younger workers.

Now, there’s another important concern for employers: productivity. 

Here’s the thing: both employers and employees have different goals when it comes to the way of working, and this is what makes the productivity topic very biased. 

The research on remote work productivity is mixed. Some studies show a positive impact, while others find no difference or even a decrease. Ultimately, the best approach depends on specific situations. 

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer for productivity. A responsible employee in the office can be accountable at home too, and vice versa. Here’s a breakdown of the factors to consider: 

  • Job type: Some roles require more collaboration or focus time, which can be impacted by the work environment. 
  • Individual work style: Some people thrive on the structure of an office, while others prefer the flexibility of working from home. 
  • Distractions: Office noise or at-home interruptions can affect concentration. 

 

Instead of asking if remote workers are less productive, a more actionable question might be, “How can we empower our remote employees to consistently deliver their best work?” 

Like in the case of the belonging topic, we need to bring to the table topics cush as communication, values, culture, trust, priorities, and leadership. 

Now, moving forward, the Hiring & Job Search Outlook Report: 2024 Workforce Trends by iHire has shown that 43.4% of candidates are planning to work hybrid or remotely in 2024. 

"As managers are very keen on managing organizational goals, this should be one of them: implement an “excellence from anywhere” policy and build the right mechanisms to ensure it is working. It’s just about regulating a biased mindset (like many others: unconscious bias, discrimination etc.) with the tools we are already using in business management. "
Maria Mosneag
Maria Mosneag
Global HR Operations Manager, WorkMotion
"Remote and flexible work benefits are no longer just perks; they’re essential in today’s workforce. They offer employees the autonomy to balance their personal and professional lives, leading to increased job satisfaction and productivity. These benefits also allow companies to tap into a broader talent pool, unrestricted by geographical boundaries. It is important, though, to implement these benefits with the right support systems, like effective communication tools and clear policies, to ensure their success."
Amy Spurling
CEO & Founder Compt

Gallup research shows full-time office work and fully remote arrangements are unlikely to be the dominant models in the future. Instead, a hybrid blend has emerged as the sweet spot for both employees and employers. This new way of working, unimaginable before the COVID-19 pandemic, is thriving under effective management. 

Employees don’t only seek flexibility when it comes to their work location. They are also looking into working schedules flexibility. 

Not everyone operates on the same clock! This is why flexible schedules allow employees to choose when they work best, because, let’s be honest, we’re all wired differently. Some folks are morning larks, tackling tasks at sunrise. Others hit their stride in the afternoon. And then there are the night owls… 

This approach isn’t just a hunch. A Workable survey found that nearly 58% of US employees consider flexible schedules crucial. We then asked what they felt would become more important or less important in terms of candidate attraction going into the new world of work, the survey respondents predicted that: 

  • Remote work,  
  • Flexibility 
  • Work-life balance  

will become more important in the eyes of candidates than before COVID-19 (81.8%). 

Why is work flexibility so important? A recent Future Forum survey found that 95% of respondents value having control over their work schedule. This suggests that being able to balance work and personal life is a top priority for employees. 

While the survey shows a higher preference for flexible hours, 78% also desired location flexibility, which aligns with the desire for remote work options. 

The 2023 Randstad Workmonitor revealed that 45% of its respondents wouldn’t accept a job if it didn’t offer accommodating hours. 

What you should know is that Gen Z is leading the way when it comes to flexible schedules expectations. 

Data from Handshake shows that 71% of students say they’d be more likely to apply for a job with a flexible schedule. 

 

"Thinking about perks like having lunch at the office, for example, isn’t relevant when what people want is to have more flexibility to pick up their kids at school."
Justine Camacho
Justine Camacho
Partnerships Manager, We Work Remotely

of respondents wouldn’t accept a job if it didn’t offer accomodating hours.

Source: Randstad Workmonitor

of students are more likely to apply for a job with a flexible schedule.

Source: Handshake survey

The key takeaway?

Flexibility trumps work-from-home arrangements. So, those companies that do not want to embrace hybrid working could embrace flexible hours practices. It can be a win-win for both employers and employees. 

Flexible work is here for the long haul, and companies are embracing the tech to make it happen. 

But that’s just the first step. To truly thrive in these new models that value place and time flexibility, we need a mindset shift. Ditching outdated practices and exploring new solutions will be key to lasting success. 

Remote.com - a Success Story

Remote.com is a company founded in 2019 to simplify how companies hire global talent. 

Remote.com is eating its own dog food 😊. It employs 1000+ people in its fully remote teams. 

"At Remote, we believe that the future of working from home centers around employers supporting each and every individual to work in a manner that suits them best, utilizing new, cutting-edge technology to facilitate this wherever possible. Investing in such technology brings a host of benefits for both employers and their remote workers, such as improved productivity, reduced stress and burnout, and enhanced employee retention."

Remote.com has developed a handbook for its employees where all the relevant information regarding work at Remote is included: 

  • Remote’s values, 
  • How internal and external communication are managed, 
  • How meetings work, 
  • The brand guidelines, 
  • Important engineering and security information, 
  • Career paths and framework, 
  • Onboarding info, 
  • Holidays, expenses, rewards, benefits, DEI information, 

and so much more. 

You can find everything here. This is priceless information they are giving away and they can inspire any company out there experimenting with hybrid or work-from-home arrangements. Here‘s one interview with one of Remote’s engineers. It speaks about the benefits of async communication, 1:1 talks, self-care days, unlimited days off, and more. 

The key takeaway?

To conclude, in remote work environments, communication is crucial, and proper frameworks must be developed to keep teams aligned and build a proper culture. 

"Thinking about perks like having lunch at the office, for example, isn’t relevant when what people want is to have more flexibility to pick up their kids at school."
Giorgia (Đurđija) Savić
team culture facilitator & consultant

Chapter 4:
The Employee Experience in the Future of Work

In our previous chapter we concluded that the future of work will be a hybrid one for many industries. 

And this is raising several questions: 

  • How to ensure employee engagement in the new era of work? 
  • How to create a sense of belonging when in-office time is reduced? 
  • How are employees rethinking their wellbeing in the modern workplace?     
  • How does the new era of work affect leadership? 

The Employee Engagement Equation: Belonging + Connection

Working remotely might weaken feelings of connection to the company, according to some research. 

A Deloitte study found that feeling a sense of belonging at work can lead to a significant boost for employees, with a 56% increase in job performance, 75% fewer sick days, and a much higher likelihood of recommending their employer to others. 

On the other hand, this might be a chicken and egg issue. Let’s not forget that belonging is more about communication, values, culture, and priorities. If these were not solid in an office-first environment, when the switch is made to hybrid arrangements…employers will start seeing the cracks.  

Going back to the values idea, Randstad survey data shows 42% of their respondents wouldn’t take a job if the companies’ values with not align with theirs. It’s important not only to state some values on a website career page or during interviews but prove them all the time.  

 

"In-office work policies do not guarantee “a sense of belonging”; they just guarantee that employees will work from the same place. So, if we admit first that “in-office work” is not always filled with sunshine and rainbows we can also admit that the “feeling of belonging” is actually triggered by many other factors such as regular feedback, rewards and recognition, promoting a shared company culture, etc. Things you can do (or not) regardless of your place of work."
Maria Mosneag
Maria Mosneag
Global HR Operations Manager, WorkMotion
"Yet, belonging is dynamic; you can feel you belong to the team now, but this can change after a while, triggered by a change in your values, culture, and priorities. It’s important to know that you probably won’t belong anywhere forever, and that’s perfectly fine."
Giorgia (Đurđija) Savić
team culture facilitator & consultant

Now, employers and employees think that without physical presence, employees may become less engaged.  

In a Workable survey, people were asked what they would do to ensure employee engagement in hybrid and remote environments. 

Ensuring clear and consistent communication was a key focus, with a majority of respondents (54.5%) indicating plans to increase the frequency of virtual team meetings. Additionally, over half (52.8%) plan to adopt more communication technologies like chat and video conferencing. 

The focus on increased virtual communication underscores a crucial point: collaboration is key to successful remote work. 

So, what should companies do to ensure proper employee experiences in the new workplace? 

  • Employee Value Proposition
    Businesses usually need to create their unique selling proposition (USP) when selling their products. The same goes for acquiring talent: the need to craft an employee value proposition (EVP) that resonates with their values and aspirations. Actively gather their input, prioritize impactful actions, and measure their effectiveness. Remember: employee needs evolve, but also differ based on age, gender, location, or type of working arrangement.
  • Career paths
    Regularly discuss employee aspirations and map out the proper career paths. Invest in reskilling and upskilling to empower your workforce and fill future talent needs.
  • Values
    Long-term retention depends on employee alignment with company values. Regular surveys are crucial to identify any gaps. Next, it is time to bridge the gap, and explore your options: either refine company values to reflect employee perspectives or adjust recruitment strategies to target candidates who are a natural fit.
  • Performance management
    Effective performance management isn’t just about evaluation; it’s a powerful tool for boosting employee engagement and well-being. Done right, it fosters a culture of continuous growth and development by recognizing achievements and setting clear goals for the future. This creates a win-win situation for both employees and the company.
  • Work flexibility
    Employers should reconsider work flexibility (location-wise and time-wise) and develop better policies. Would breaking free from the traditional 9-to-5 workday allow for greater employee autonomy without compromising work progress?
  • Technology
    Embrace the technology that makes remote work, actually work for you. Ongoing advancements in technology will make remote work even more accessible and efficient, while making employees achieve a better work-life balance.
  • Sustainability and societal concerns
    Showcase your commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility through sustainability efforts, ethical practices, and social initiatives. When your company values align with societal concerns, it attracts talent who want to work for a purpose-driven organization that reflects their own values.
  • Well-being initiatives
    Future-proof your workforce by prioritizing employee well-being and mental health initiatives. This will equip them to thrive amidst the ever-evolving technological landscape and navigate potential stress associated with rapid change.
  • Transparency
    Transparency is key to fostering employee engagement, so you need to keep your team informed. Understanding how company decisions affect them, empower them employees and build trust. But information flow isn’t a one-way street. Encourage open communication by actively approaching employees and their concerns.
Tomorrow’s leaders should “servant leadership”, open-door policies, and avoid using information as a tool for control.   
"Most people I know have a to-do list they’ll never get through on their own. And even with AI increasing their rate of completion by 80% or more, they still might not get through everything. And that’s just the quantity of work. When we think about doing more but with higher quality, there’s a lot of room in the future for us to keep our jobs."
Jim Kalbach
Chief Evangelist at Mural and an advocate
for remote collaboration and design thinking

Tomorrow’s leaders should apply “servant leadership”, open-door policies, and avoid using information as a tool for control.   

Digging further into the topic of leadership, Gallup research showed that managers hold the key to unlocking high-performing teams. Research indicates they’re responsible for 70% of the variation in employee engagement. 

This means that they need to feel more supported by top management. Managers are caught in a squeeze. Increased responsibilities, tighter budgets, new teams – it’s no wonder Gallup reports many feel overwhelmed. They navigate constant organizational change while balancing directives from above with evolving employee expectations. To thrive in this new environment, managers need more training and support. Their success is key to building a successful and engaged workforce. 

Also, there’s another trend we’re facing when it comes to leadership: Goodbye, rigid hierarchies!  

Leadership is now a relational dance, focused on driving purpose, inspiring employees, and keeping strategy adaptable. Management structures are flatter, empowering teams and networks to collaborate freely. This autonomy thrives on clear expectations and transparency – everyone, from within and outside the company, understands the organization’s goals without needing a manual. In essence, it’s about knowing, not memorizing. 

Wellbeing in the Modern Workplace

The 2023 Randstad Workmonitor showed that 61% of respondents prioritize work-life balance so highly they wouldn’t take a job that disrupts it. This sentiment is strongest among younger workers (18-34), and slightly lower in those aged 55 and over. 

Soaring living costs are pushing employees to seek support from their employers. A monthly stipend to offset these costs is the most desired form of relief (41%), followed by pay increases outside the usual review cycle (39%). 28% of respondents seek assistance with everyday expenses like energy and commuting. Interestingly, nearly half of the respondents report they have already received some form of company aid. For some, this translates to cost-cutting measures enabled by hybrid or flexible work schedules, which can reduce childcare and commute expenses. 

 Gallup data is showing that in the past years employees started feeling more and more stressed.

In the U.S. and Canada, employee stress is even higher – with 52%.This trend holds implications for peoples’ wellbeing at work and home, as well as their productivity and longevity. 

 The past few years have fundamentally shifted priorities. People are taking control, demanding work that complements their lives, not the other way around. Economic uncertainty can’t shake their resolve – they know what kind of work environment thrives for them. This is what drove the “quiet quitting” movement. 

This is what led to the next statistic: 94% of employees consider work-life balance important (Randstad). The same research showed that 61% wouldn’t accept a position that is detrimental to their work-life balance. Those under 45 are leading the change in attitude.   

Now, there’s a “but”. Talent scarcity is very important to this topic. If unemployment starts to rise, attitudes will be affected due to rising insecurity. So, there will be some hiccups along the way. 

But the trend is clear: those just entering the professional world have the strongest desire and highest expectations for achieving a healthy work-life balance. And they are influencing the rest. 

Flexibility and a stimulating work environment are no longer perks, but essential for attracting and retaining top talent. A growing remote and hybrid workforce necessitates prioritizing employee well-being. This means offering flexible hours and locations, ensuring healthy work-life balances, and providing ample opportunities for advancement. Only by implementing empathetic policies that cater to the whole employee experience can organizations solidify their position as an employer of choice. 

of respondents prioritize work-life balance so highly they wouldn’t take a job that disrupts it.

Source: Randstad Workmonitor

Source: Gallup

I would quit a job if it prevented me from enjoying my life

Source: Randstad

Conclusions

The rapid transformation concerning the future of work presents major challenges for businesses, governments, and workers globally. Now, when there are challenges, there are also risks and opportunities.  

Let’s sum them up: 

  • Uncertainty and disruption: While anxieties about job losses due to green technologies and AI dominate headlines, these sectors are also expected to create new jobs. We might be facing job displacement not job destruction.  
  • Skills gap and skills upgrading: While access to skilled talent remains a concern, there’s room for opportunity here. For the workforce it’s time to seize the moment, for businesses it’s about adapting their learning and development processes. 
  • The future of white-collar jobs is hybrid: The key to unlocking the power of hybrid working is effective management and proper policies. 
  • Flex and stimulating workplaces: Forget perks like free lunches – the new generation of workers prioritizes work-life balance above all else. And their influence is spreading. 

 

The message this report wants to leave you with is this one:

We’re Shaping the Future, Together. 

 

Thank you for reading
2024 and Beyond: Understanding the New Era of Work