Experts predict 2024 work trends

With 2023 coming to a close, experts have given their opinions on the work trends that are set to be big in 2024.

“2024 will see the rise of ‘umbrella flexibility’”

Molly Johnson-Jones, LinkedIn Top Voice on work-life balance, and CEO & Co-founder of Flexa, where flexible companies get discovered.

“Office-WFH wars have made headlines ever since the tail end of the pandemic, fuelled by an ‘all or nothing’ approach to flexibility. But the reality is that some flexibility - which is more accessible for companies and more likely to be upheld in a genuine way for workers - is better than none. Embracing this way of thinking is a new approach to flexibility. And it promises to unite divided workplaces in 2024.

“‘Umbrella flexibility’ is when employers offer one form of flexibility that covers a lot of different workers' needs at once. This approach is better than offering lots of different benefits that teams don’t necessarily need or want, and means that individuals may have less need for other flexible working benefits in addition. For example, hybrid work (which combines office and home-based work) might accommodate the needs of workers with health conditions and at the same time enable parents - who might otherwise rely on early start and finish times - to switch commutes for school runs.

“The takeaway for employers is simple. Rather than trying to offer every new flexible benefit that springs up in 2024, companies should focus on the overarching needs of their teams, and consider what ‘umbrella flexibility’ they can realistically offer to cover as many of these needs as possible.”

“Job seekers are set to take back control in 2024”

Khyati Sundaram, recruitment expert and CEO of Applied, the ethical hiring experts.

“In 2023, we saw the balance of power swing back towards employers in the jobs market. Increased competition for roles coupled with scaled-back HR teams pushed the time-to-hire up to a record 44 days. And for candidates expected to complete phone interviews, after assessment days, after presentations - only to be ghosted and left without feedback - it’s made for a demoralising process. All this is set to change in 2024.

“To ride out economic turmoil, employers will need talent that’s able to succeed in roles and more likely to stay as a result - and they’ll need to find them first time to reduce hiring spend. More and more companies are turning to skills-based hiring as a result. Anonymous, role-specific skills tests help employers identify and retain the best candidates. Crucially, it’s also a far better experience for jobseekers.

“Cover letters and forms that require applicants to regurgitate their CVs don’t come into it. Skills-based hiring processes require no more and no less of candidates than what’s needed to accurately determine whether they’re a good fit for roles. This way, all candidates know that they’re getting a fair chance to succeed without unnecessary stages or bias or getting in the way. And it follows that employers provide more objective and more specific feedback. Skills-based hiring is on the rise, and job seekers will be all the more empowered for it in 2024.”

“2024 will be the era of ‘bread and butter benefits’”

Alex Templeton, workplace wellbeing expert, and CEO & Founder of Qured, who offer remote health screening for employees.

“Gone are the days of free food in offices, yoga sessions at lunch and extravagant team away days. This year’s perk purge has been an inevitable symptom of the economic downturn. But record rates of sick leave coupled with inundated NHS services - where those left avoiding or unable to get appointments risk getting sicker or missing health checks that could stop them from getting sick in the first place - demand renewed support for staff - and soon.

“Don’t expect a return to ‘fluffy’ benefits any time soon. Essential support that genuinely makes a difference for staff will be the priority next year, making 2024 the year of ‘bread and butter benefits’.

“If the office bean bags and free massages were largely ignored fillers, health benefits focused on keeping workforces well are the bread and butter of employee benefits offerings which deliver real value. Free flu jabs and subsidised gym memberships are a good start. But now we can do more: providing screening for preventable diseases, deficiencies and early indicators of health issues is a golden opportunity to give staff the information and any subsequent healthcare they need to stay well in 2024 and long into their future lives.”