For me, there is always optimism as we head into a New Year – what will it bring?  2024 will be four years since the pandemic hit the world and changed many things about the world in which we live and work. If we haven’t already done so, it is time to embrace the changes at work and adapt to ensure that our team culture and staff engagement is as good as it can be.

I haven’t blogged regularly for a while – there has been an element of treading water in recent years. This year I am making a commitment to share ideas more often, have discussions about the things to do in business – particularly in people and culture practices- to accept and adapt to things as they are.

In some cases there will be no playbook, it has been about figuring things out as we go along. 2024 will be the year of keeping an eye of team culture, researching best practice, and making sure we have reset to life as it is now – over the year I will explore some of the changes we are seeing in more depth.

What are some of the things we have been seeing that require us to embed new ways of doing things?

  1. Increasing levels of remote work

There is an increase in the number of employees working from home, whether it is about flexibility to balance parenting with work, difficulty recruiting people locally, or simply a preferred way of working – it has changed the way workplaces operate.

There are obvious challenges maintaining good communication and teamwork, there may be other challenges of managing expectations of when work is done, productivity levels and provision of adequate technology.  But there are also benefits to both the employee and employer. There may be better work/life balance for employees as well as the ability to retain a role while accommodating changes in circumstances. Employers will benefit from better staff retention and the ability to access a wider pool of people. Depending on how a hybrid workplace is set up, there may also be cost savings.

  1. Employee Well-being and Mental Health

The past few years have accelerated the trend to focus on staff well-being. This has been a very worthwhile trend, though there is still a long way to go. Burnout is still a very real issue and there is still heightened anxiety for many.

Equipping managers and front-line staff with tools to better manage things is a key aspect of helping well-being. It can be a never-ending journey as environments change. External pressures, expectations, and workload change – resulting in more stress.

Many workplaces are still struggling with management practices that accommodate a wellbeing focus, while still retaining productivity and staff engagement.

  1. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The systems and practices within our workplaces should be designed to help everyone bring their best selves to work. A key aspect of people thriving at work, is their ability to be themselves. This means maintaining a workplace which embraces all aspects of diversity within the team.

Organisations who wish to thrive need to do more than pay lip service to diversity, equity, and inclusion measures. Social changes in recent times means that we are having more discussion about diversity, but regardless of social changes, organisations need to consistently monitor their approach to ensure everyone can thrive at work.

There are other trends, such as the use of AI that are changing the way we operate in business. 2024 unfolds as a clean piece of paper in front of us, it is time to build on the last few years to ensure we are set up for well for a few more years to come.