In & Out for 2024: Wobble rooms, thermostat wars and the death of pizza parties

So hot right now: the In and Out trend has taken social media by storm as the new year enters the chat.

It seems like everyone (and their mother, florist and favourite fashion brand) is taking January as a cue to channel their inner trend hunter and predict what’s hot – and OFC, what’s not – for the year ahead.

The Jobbio team loves a trend, and the workplace is absolutely no stranger to a fad or three: consider TikTok, which, in 2023 was responsible for the rise of Lazy Girl Jobs, Quiet Quitting and Loud Labouring.

Plugged into what’s really happening at the coalface of the world of work, the Jobbio content team writes about what’s new and next in the workplace every single day. 

That’s why we’re uniquely positioned to understand how things will shape up this year. Below, you can read our work-related predictions for what’s going to be in––and crucially, what’s going to be out––in 2024.

In: Wobble Rooms / Out: crying at your desk

Don’t sob at your workstation under harsh fluro lighting as your colleagues awkwardly pretend that nothing is occurring. Instead, we predict Wobble Rooms will take off as spaces to go to when things become a bit overwhelming in the office.

upset workerDedicated areas for melt-down related incidents, they are calm spaces designed to help with stress at work. The NHS in the UK is already on board––and we can see this one growing legs.

In: energy management / Out: time management

Time management has long been touted as the way workers can juggle their workloads effectively.

2024 is all about energy management––but before you start switching out your light bulbs, this is simply a newer way of optimising your own output. It’s about taking a look at the days and times in which you’ve the best energy levels, can focus on that “flow state” and do your best work, and optimising those.

In: True hybrid / Out: RTO mandates

RTO mandates are not popular with workers; people who enjoyed remote work during the pandemic often don’t get why they should be forced back into the office, with all that entails: commuting, early mornings and late evenings, watercooler chat that distracts from the actual job, and more. 

It has led to a trend called “coffee badging” where people go into the office purely to tag in, have a quick catch up, and then leave.

What workers do want though, is a true hybrid way of working. That looks like giving employees the choice to work flexibly, the way they want, when they want it.

That can mean choosing your own days to be in the office, or working in blocks during the day, breaking to get your real life stuff done, like picking up the kids from school. 

In: Having one job / Out: Side hustles

2023 was a year where we heard a lot about double-jobbing, also known as polyworking. The popularity of having more than one job (that, crucially, your boss doesn’t know about) began during the pandemic. 

Depending on the type of work you do, your capacity, and the level of oversight you are under, it can be possible to do more than one job and have no one be the wiser.

This year, we think it’s enough to have one job you enjoy and which pays you well. Of course, we are well aware that having a few side hustles (or even a second full time role) will net you more cash. But there are significant downsides, not least to your own health and wellbeing. 

Your contract may actually not allow for double-jobbing, especially if you’re also working for a competitor. And it is inevitable that you will drop balls as you try to juggle two full schedules, harming your long-term career prospects as well as letting down your colleagues.

In: Thermostat control / Out: Air conditioning 

Anyone who has ever worked in an office environment will be familiar with thermostat-related tension––truly the new battle of the sexes.

freezing at workIt’s not uncommon to fight over office temperature, according to a survey, which found that 15% of employees report arguing with a co-worker about it, and 19% said they’ve secretly changed the temp.

Instead of working in an arctic office, 2024 is the year the Jobbio team votes for one that should be filled with cosy desk-based comfort. 22 degrees, please!

In: Gender pay parity / Out: Being broke

Amazingly, we’re still not achieving gender pay parity. In the EU in 2021, women’s gross hourly earnings were on average 12.7 % below those of men. There are signs that things are getting better though, aided by a number of factors.

being brokeThese include new pay transparency laws in the US (as of May 2023, eight US states, five cities, and one county have pay transparency laws in effect) which provide tangible information about what a job pays, helping everyone price themselves accordingly.

In Ireland, companies with more than 250 employees must now release a report on their pay gaps, which provides a benchmark year-on-year and will hopefully move the dial in a more positive direction. Which is great news, because being broke is absolutely out for 2024.

In: Career progression / Out: Title inflation

Title inflation, aka vanity promotions, made headlines last year: as the talent crunch bit down hard, especially for tech firms looking to hire software developers. As a result, some companies began to offer senior-sounding job titles to less experienced candidates.

As an incentive it works, but it also creates problems of its own. A study of Gen Z workers by RippleMatch found that nowadays almost half expect an annual promotion––and are prepared to quit if they don’t get one within 18 months.

The practice of job title inflation can harm careers as it can lead to a misrepresentation of a person’s actual skill set, and result in unrealistic expectations being placed on them. 

Instead, for 2024, we’re pointing towards slow and steady growth as the best, and most sustainable way to build your career.

In: Soft skills / Out: College degrees

Don’t take it from us, take it from the World Economic Forum which, in its Future of Jobs 2023 report said that analytical and creative thinking will be two top in-demand skills by 2027. 

Core competencies remain important, but employers are now looking at those differently. Skills-based hiring is on the rise and has been adopted already by companies that include IBM, Google and Dell.

These firms have done away with a college degree requirement in favour of hiring for candidates’ actual skills. It’s another step towards making both recruitment and the workplace a fairer place to be.

In: Real perks / Out: Pizza parties

Smashed your quarterly targets and met all your KPIs? Well done, that deserves a reward, and what workers want when it comes to thanks from their leadership are tangible things like a cash bonus, stock options––or even vouchers.

PizzaBut for some reason, many companies think workers just want pizza. The office pizza party is now recognised as a “universal symbol of corporate apathy” and “a placeholder for legitimately hearing workers’ needs and rewarding them accordingly”.

Following years of inflated perks at tech giants such as Google and Meta, which were then rolled back in 2022 and 2023 under the guise of rationalising the bottom line, it has become clear to workers that while free coffee is a nice to have, it’s things like a good pension contribution, shares, commuting benefits and healthcare that are the genuinely good big ticket benefits they want this year.

In: Belonging / Out: Being included

Inclusion has been a big buzzword in DE&I efforts. While it is obviously vital to make sure that everyone––regardless of gender, race, ability and sexual orientation––is included in the workplace, we are moving on.

Because inclusion just isn’t enough. Being there is great, but that still doesn’t always give you a seat at the table. Instead, belonging is what diversity and inclusion efforts need to focus on for 2024. Creating workplaces with genuine participation and ownership for all employees is the next step to work towards.

In: Taking all your PTO / Out: Burnout

More than four in 10 U.S. workers don’t take all their paid time off, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey.

BurnoutBut you won’t be thanked for this in the long term, and in fact, not taking your allocated leave is a recipe for resentment, burnout and disillusionment. We all need time away from our work as a reset that lets us relax, switch off, and ultimately, get the headspace we need to come back to our jobs refreshed and ready to go.

In: AI as co-worker / Out: Fearing for your job

AI was one of 2023’s biggest stories thanks to the rise of the generative AI platform, ChatGPT. New technologies tend to give rise to fears about job losses and while AI, and the automation that comes from it, will likely affect some roles, what workers really need to focus on is how they can work with AI to enhance their jobs.

Economist Richard Baldwin explains it best. “AI won’t take your job,” he said at the World Economic Forum’s 2023 Growth Summit. “It’s somebody using AI that will take your job.” Learning to leverage these new tools––which are here whether we like it or not––is a great idea for 2024, putting you ahead of the curve and giving you some new skills for your CV to boot.

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Author Kirstie McDermott

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