2023 ushered in many changes to the workplace as we knew it. These changes will likely have a longstanding impact on the way we work, where we do it, and the technology we use. From the accelerated rise of artificial intelligence (AI) to changing attitudes towards hybrid and remote working models, the receding impact of COVID-19 and perpetual technological innovation have created a working environment that can feel as exciting as it is unpredictable.
Turning our attention to the year ahead, we explore what we predict will be the top future workplace trends in 2024 and what they could mean for you and your organisation.
Increased focus on eliminating psychosocial hazards
Over the last two years in Australia, there has been a renewed focus on psychosocial safety in the workplace. June 2022 saw Safe Work Australia update its work health and safety (WHS) regulations to specifically address psychosocial risks or hazards in the workplace. This was followed by the release of a new code of practice in August 2022 that provided further elaboration on ways to reduce the impact of these risks.
Examples of psychosocial hazards range from explicit risks to mental and physical health, such as bullying, harassment and aggression, to more subtle triggers, like lack of role clarity, job demands and poor support.
In the past, workplace hazards tended to be thought of more as injury risks, such as slipping on wet surfaces or standing on chairs to access out-of-reach shelving. In contrast, this shift is predicted to hail in a new era of workplace well-being in which mental health is taken as seriously as physical health. That being said, the way these regulations will translate into the day-to-day activities of the workplace and the lives of employees is still becoming apparent.
The continued rise of AI
OpenAI’s Chat-GPT has become the preeminent AI tool globally, but it is by no means the be-all and end-all of modern AI. While Chat-GPT is the most recognised generative AI tool, there are many competitors emerging with their own offerings, not to mention tools that provide assistance in a range of other tasks, from predictive analysis and client relationship management to search engine optimisation and content recommendations. Because of its breadth, we’ll examine the role of AI in 2024 across a number of different areas of the working environment:
Crafting jobs and role descriptions
From supporting the development of precise job advertisements to enabling employees to better shape their role and steer their career progression, AI will play a crucial part in acquiring and nurturing talented team members.
Changing how productivity is measured
Because AI has led to a paradigmatic shift in our expectations around how long certain tasks should take, it follows that it will also change how productivity is evaluated. Not only that, AI will likely play a part in developing new productivity metrics that are designed specifically for different working environments.
Advancing AI maturity
Though only 12% of surveyed firms had mastered using AI to achieve high performance (referred to as ‘AI Maturity’) for all key stakeholder groups in 2021, projections from Accenture indicate that this will more than double in 2024, reaching 27%. The pressure for businesses to remain competitive by integrating AI across their operations will also drive demand for tech skills in the workforce.
An evolving work environment
While remote working allowed many businesses to weather the peaks of COVID-19 and emerge more or less intact, its role in a post-COVID world is still becoming clear. The number of fully remote jobs being advertised is decreasing and many businesses are starting to find that remote and hybrid working models don’t suit their needs as much as they did two or three years ago. At the same time, employees have embraced the more balanced lifestyle that these new working models have made available to them and are resistant to returning to the status quo.
Workplace flexibility trends like hybridisation are unlikely to go away but we’ll probably see more customisation and optimisation of the models across industries and individual businesses. This will likely include cultivating a degree of ‘intentionality’ around office days e.g. if employees are required to come to the office on particular days, it will be because there are specific collaborative or professional development tasks that will be easier to accomplish in that setting.
Businesses will also need to consider the kind of facilities that make a workplace attractive to employees, particularly if they are expected to spend significant amounts of time in the office. Central Park provides luxurious, tenant-only end of trip amenities to promote comfort and convenience for those who prefer alternative means of transportation, while also maintaining the CBD’s only dedicated green space.
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