The Workplace Is Changing Fast — Here’s What Employers Need to Know

In case you haven’t noticed, the world has changed a lot in the past few years.


In few places is the shift more obvious than in the workplace. For the majority of the white-collar workforce, at least, the very notion of the workplace has changed. The setting is different, for one thing: Many of us are still working from home most or all of the time.

The reality of the workplace circa 2024 is more complicated than “everything is remote or hybrid now,” of course. Much more complicated. 

If you’re an employer who feels like they’ve been doing nothing but play catch-up since 2020, and maybe before, you’re certainly not alone. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have to work every bit as hard as your peers — if not harder — to keep pace.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at four ways the workplace continues to change in 2024 and beyond, and what employers like you should do to remain competitive.

Hybrid Work Is Here to Stay

Again, for those in the back: The hybrid work model is here to stay. 

Some executives are fine keeping things mainly remote, letting staff continue to work out of their homes and meet over Zoom. On the flip side, an increasing number of corporate leaders, like Steve Streit, who founded Green Dot and now runs a venture capital fund, side more with the “return to office” camp.  

Employers who don’t yet want to embrace hybrid work as the default mode can take some comfort in the fact that as the labor market loosens, managers may have more leverage to call employees back into the office for a greater proportion of total valued time — or even mandate full-time in-person work. But the jury is still out on what full-time RTO would mean for worker morale.

A Paycheck Doesn’t Cut It Anymore — Purpose Matters

Some employers interpret the DEI backlash as a sign we’re heading back to a simpler, more transactional employer-employee relationship, where a paycheck and some basic benefits were enough. 

That’s a risky assumption to make, at least at this early stage. If anything, the past few years have shown that the opposite is more likely to be true. Employers without clear, compelling mission statements or business models built around “purpose” continue to lose the talent war. 

Fringe Perks Are So Passe

Despite the importance of purpose and mission in attracting and retaining talented workers, the days of lavish “fringe” perks are all but over. 

In part, this is a consequence of financial reality. At zero percent interest, it’s a lot easier to finance all-you-can-eat office lunches every day. 

But it’s also deeper than that. Workers today are more sophisticated than their predecessors. They understand when they’re being humored, manipulated, or even lied to. For employers, the least treacherous path forward is a fair, honest, gimmick-free one.

Mentorship Matters

Have you taken the time to be a mentor today? You should, and so should every member of your senior leadership team. Employees today want reliable and value-added mentor relationships that help them get where they’re going faster. 

What’s in it for you? Loyalty, performance, valuable feedback — everything you should hope for and expect from your workforce, and then some.

Adapt or Die?

You’ve heard the saying. Should you live by it?

It’s a bit drastic, sure. But as we’ve seen, the workplace is changing incredibly fast. Employers that can’t or won’t stay ahead of the pack risk losing key employees, clients, and market share. They might not fade away tomorrow or next year, but their futures aren’t exactly bright.

So, if it helps clarify what’s at stake for you and your leadership team, by all means make “adapt or die” your corporate slogan. There are worse sayings to live by.