Leadership   //   January 8, 2024

RTO lessons, AI blunders, talent-retention realities: what’s changing for workforces

So much happened last year in the world of work that for many professionals, much of 2023 felt like being stuck in a revolving door of endless unsettling changes. From abrupt return-to-office demands from employers, mass layoffs, budget cuts, organizational restructuring, and the unforeseen challenges of managing hybrid teams, to the arrival of generative artificial intelligence, the proverbial (and in many cases literal) temple vein of most employees was kept pulsating at a steady clip throughout 2023.

But there were also many positives gained, and some solid lessons learned that will assist us all as we embrace what 2024 will usher into modern workplaces.

We spoke with a wide range of experts to recap some of the milestone moments that shaped 2023 in the world of work, and to hear how those will influence and evolve how we work in 2024.

In case you missed them, here is a look at the highlights:

  • The second wave of the Big Stay is set to play out this year, with employees staying at companies longer than in 2023. But that comes with new, heightened expectations around learning and development opportunities. Here are 2024’s talent retention realities.
  • ‘Master/slave, blacklist/whitelist, low-hanging fruit’: Here are 10 words that need to be dropped from the workplace due to their ugly historical origins, say diversity, equity, and inclusion experts.
  • The transition back to the work routine can feel daunting. Here are five ways to reset at work in the new year.
  • The return to office movement was messy in 2023. Here is a timeline of the year we returned to in-person work.
  • Rather than getting entangled in RTO policies, employers will need to double down on how to ensure their workforces are performing strongly, regardless of where they’re located. We spoke with experts to hear just how leaders should approach this, and ensure they’re reconnecting with their employees in the process.
  • The fear-mongering around AI taking everyone’s jobs, shaky economic markets, and layoffs that we have seen so much of in 2023, will make way for some new trends next year as we adapt to the new work reality. Here’s WorkLife’s definitive guide to what’s in and out for 2024.
  • Employers still need to handle their RTO transitions with kid gloves. Here’s a deep dive into how to manage that transition successfully.
  • Often middle managers are the forgotten workhorse of large organizations. But that neglect is starting to show some major cracks. Here’s what support managers need to ensure they lead engaged and productive hybrid teams in 2024.
  • Taking sick days?? Leaving work on time?? Is Generation Z out of control?? It seems not, this age group is simply pushing back on some of the bad habits workforces have doggedly maintained for years. Here are some of the traditional workplace norms Gen Z rejected in 2023.
  • Return to office, quit rates, the rise of generative AI: Here’s a look at the state of the working world in 2023, by the numbers.
  • Virtual assistants, cyber network defenders, people insight managers: Here are the top jobs for 2024, according to career experts at Indeed, Zip Recruiter and Glassdoor.
  • Four-day weeks were hot in 2023. Here’s a look at why some companies are sticking fast to the new model.
  • Here are five things worth knowing about the state of the job market as we head into 2024 – by the numbers.