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Eight Workplace Trends for 2024

22 November 2023 Deel

2023 was the year when companies fully left the pandemic behind and deliberated what working model made sense for them for the future. While many went hybrid, others mandated a total return to office, and some ditched the office for good. Amongst all of this, workers approached their work with more variety than ever before. Here are some top workplace trends Deel is seeing as we head into 2024—wherever your workplace may be:

- The five-day office week not so dead: The push to bring workers back to the office, is on. According to KPMG’s Southern African 2023 CEO Outlook, 72% of Southern African CEOs are indicating that they support the working environment returning to in-person work within the next three years. In South Africa, loadshedding was also a big factor in workers returning to the workplace as constant power cuts affected worker’s connectivity at home. Some amount of work from home is here to stay, with many companies still on a hybrid work model. Workforces and management are questioning other parts of the employment status quo, especially in the face of daily hassles and commute costs.

- Worklife integration: Work-life integration (WLI) is a comprehensive approach that aims to harmonise personal and professional demands. Instead of viewing work and life as distinct entities or creating conflict between them, WLI seeks to find common ground and mutual benefit. According to Marieta du Toit, Director, Sensory Coach at Sensory Intelligence Consulting, achieving successful work-life integration should be a paramount concern for both employees and employers. “Work-life integration is not a passing trend; it's the future of employee engagement and well-being. By fostering environments that embrace this shift, we can empower both our organisations and our workforce to thrive in this digital era.”

- “Skills-First” Approach: The days of the college degree being an extremely expensive box-to-check on the resume may end. Companies worldwide are getting on board with the idea that if you’ve got the right skills, then you’re suitable for the job, even if you don’t have a 4+ year degree (or previous job titles, for that matter).

- Airplane Mode: Like the idea of unplugging at work and letting all those email updates and Slack dings melt away for a bit? Well, it may become standard practice for employers soon. In order to foster “deep focus,” one company—Density—is suggesting employees turn on Airplane Mode for 100 minutes and use that time to read, brainstorm, or whatever else helps employees get in the zone.

- Rage Applying: Maybe you were passed over for a promotion, or your boss is being overbearing. Or, you’re just generally feeling mistreated at your job. One reactionary tactic you might resort to is “rage applying.” In response to unhappiness at work, the rage-applier will fire off job applications as both an emotional release and a quick look to see if better options exist. While looking for greener pastures is often necessary, we’d recommend proceeding with caution.

- Queenagers: Meet a new worker category—women who began their careers as early as the 1980s and were forced, through sheer will and determination, to break the glass ceiling by becoming ambitious corporate dynamos. They are typically between 45 and 65 years old, have older kids, and have relatively high incomes. Let’s hope this trend just becomes the norm.

- Unfiltered Zooming: Ditch the digital backgrounds! In the past few years, there have been significant calls to stop the excessive use of social media filters and Photoshop. 2024 might see us apply this to our digital backgrounds to encourage an authentic remote work culture. Apart from the fact virtual environments never work quite perfectly, your actual backdrop is part of you, so try not to cover it up. Tidy up, though—a little professionalism goes a long way.

- Social Side Gigging: To seemingly make up for the social vacuum that remote, officeless work has created, some white-collar workers are taking up weekend jobs that have a lot of social interaction or even as a creative outlet. Foodservice and bartending are a particularly common choice amongst this crowd.

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