Ina Opperman

By Ina Opperman

Business Journalist

Watch out for these workplace trends in 2024

The workplace has changed and we will never return to the old ways of working. Are any new changes still coming?

There are many workplace trends to get ready for in 2024, such as a return to the five-day office week, work/life integration, airplane mode, rage applying and queenagers.  

The year 2023 was the year when companies fully left the pandemic behind and deliberated which working model makes sense for them for the future. While many went hybrid, others mandated a total return to office and some ditched the office for good.

Meanwhile, workers approached their work with more variety than ever before and these workplace trends are evident for 2024:

Five-day office week is 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 indicated that they support the working environment returning to in-person work within the next three years.

Load shedding was also a big factor for South African workers returning to the workplace as constant power cuts affected their 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.

ALSO READ: How recruitment trends changed in 2023 and what to expect in 2024

Work/life integration

Work/life integration is a comprehensive approach aimed at harmonising personal and professional demands. Instead of viewing work and life as distinct entities or creating conflict between them, work/life balance seeks to find common ground and mutual benefit.

According to Marieta du Toit, director and sensory coach at Sensory Intelligence Consulting, achieving successful work/life integration should be paramount for employees as well as employers.

“Work-life integration is not a passing trend. It is the future of employee engagement and well-being. By fostering environments that embrace this shift, we can empower our organisations as well as our workforce to thrive in this digital era.”

‘Skills-first’ approach

The days of the university degree as an extremely expensive box-to-check on the resume may end. Companies worldwide are getting on board with the idea that if you have the right skills, you are suitable for the job, even if you do not at least have a four-year degree (or previous job titles, for that matter).

ALSO READ: WATCH: Quiet quitting and four-day work week could both help to fix broken workplaces

Airplane mode

Do you 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, suggests that employees turn on Airplane Mode for 100 minutes and use that time to read, brainstorm, or do whatever else helps employees get in the zone.

Rage applying

Maybe you were passed over for a promotion, or your boss is overbearing. Or you are 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 an emotional release as well as a quick look to see if there are better options out there. While looking for greener pastures is often necessary, it is better to proceed with caution.


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 workplace trend just becomes the norm.

ALSO READ: How employers and employees can co-create a new way of work

Unfiltered zooming

It will be time to ditch the digital backgrounds in 2024. 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 that virtual environments never work out quite perfectly, your actual backdrop is part of you and therefore you should not try to cover it up, although you must tidy up, as a little professionalism goes a long way.

Social side-gigging

To seemingly make up for the social vacuum that remote, office-less 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. Food service and bartending are a particularly common choice among this crowd.

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