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Flexible Work Arrangements

2024 HR Outlook & Trends Part 2: Flexible Work Arrangements

In the first part of our 2024 HR Outlook and Trends series, we explored the labor market and strategies to address skill gaps. Now, in the second part, we turn our focus to the flexible work schedules and the office space. This prompts the question, how can companies successfully attract top talent in the coming year? The answer will remain what it has been post-pandemic, flexible work arrangements.

The second part of this series delves into the crucial role of flexibility in 2024. The traditional work-life balance has transformed, and workers now seek ways to blend work and personal life seamlessly. Employers offering flexible work arrangements, whether through remote work or a hybrid model, can enhance trust, productivity and improve engagement.

CoAdvantage Odot What is a hybrid work environment?

A hybrid work model involves a flexible setup where team members have the option to work both remotely and in the office. It allows employees to choose the number of days per week they will work in each setting. This tailored approach suits individual preferences and can optimize productivity.

Join us as we explore flexible work arrangements and their impact on company culture and employee engagement. Pave the way for success in 2024 by recognizing the evolving HR trends. 

The Importance of Flexibility in 2024

“2024 will also see an increased focus on flexibility—for workers and workplaces,” Richard Wahlquist, chief executive officer at the American Staffing Association, tells HR Daily Advisor. He argues that any notion of work-life balance that existed before the pandemic is now out of date. Now, workers are more focused on figuring out how to weave work and personal commitments together seamlessly. Employers offering options that give workers more flexibility will cultivate more trust, productivity, and engagement.

In fact, Gartner argues that “radical flexibility” results in higher productivity, morale, and engagement. That may be why they’ve found that nearly nine in ten workers (87%) want the ability to work more flexibly. When that many workers want the same thing, it represents a critical shift in the labor market. Flexible work models are a demand that will continue to be a major theme beyond 2024.

However, flexibility in 2024 doesn’t necessarily mean remote work. It includes a diverse approach, like hybrid plans with a mix of in-office and remote days, flexible working hours, adaptable schedules, responsive time-off policies for individual needs, and increased flexibility in defining tasks. As companies adapt to workforce preferences, they position themselves at the intersection of meeting employee needs and creating an flexible company culture.

Embracing various flexible work arrangements isn't just strategic, it's fundamental for workplaces moving toward a modern workforce. Companies that can proactively respond to the demand for flexibility are better positioned to attract and retain top talent.

Return to Office (RTO) Plans Will Finally Crystallize in 2024

In the meantime, employers will likely find a balance point with their return-to-work plans. Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., president and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management, tells Inc. that many organizations have largely been operating in the dark up to this point. There just hasn’t been enough time to generate and analyze workforce data related to new working protocols like remote work.

That will change in the new year. "We will now finally have data about productivity. We will have data about turnover," he says. That data, in turn, will inform and cement more evidence-based workforce planning for the future.

Work-from-home initiatives plateaued in 2023 at around 28% of the week. Yet even this has had profound impacts. CNBC reports that the average office occupancy rate in the top 10 U.S. cities was less than half (47.3%) of pre-pandemic levels. Most likely, most companies will end up with some form of RTO by the end of 2024, CNBC says.

But what does that mean? The term RTO has evolved into a flexible concept.

“RTO could mean three days a week, it could mean one week a month; it doesn’t always apply to everybody in the organization,” says’s chief career advisor Stacie Haller. “Only 44% said that at least three-quarters [of staff] will be required to come in in-person, so it’s not one-size-fits-all.”

Here too specifics will likely vary by sector. Tech and finance will likely push for more comprehensive RTO policies due to the cost of commercial real estate and the need for secure working conditions. Conversely, other industries may adopt a more relaxed approach.

Ultimately, most industries will almost certainly settle on some kind of hybrid work arrangement. “I think the concept of spending five days a week in the office is dead,” says Brian Elliott, an executive advisor on flexibility and the founder of the research consortium Future Forum. He says that over two-thirds of the workforce support a model where they spend a few days in the office and then work a few days from home.

Tips to Reengage Employees as They Return To The Office

As companies transition to new office arrangements, it's crucial to focus on reengaging employees. Here are some tips to ensure a smooth return and boost employee morale:

  • Conduct 1:1 Check-ins:

Regularly schedule one-on-one check-ins with employees, creating a space for them to share their feelings about working conditions. Ask about their needs for success in the current work environment and any potential challenges they may face while adapting to a hybrid work model.

  • Build in More Flexibility:

Introduce additional flexibility, incorporating elements such as flexible work hours and breaks. Shift the focus towards outcomes, promoting clear communication about expectations. Empower employees to customize their work arrangements based on individual needs.

  • Prioritize Well-being:

Initiate meetings with a well-being check-in, addressing both personal and professional aspects. Invest in employee health and foster a culture of gratitude. Encourage breaks and time off to promote a healthy work-life balance.

  • Recognize Your Employees:

Regularly acknowledge and celebrate employees who contribute to creating positive work environments. Recognize those who actively support their peers and go above and beyond to foster a collaborative and supportive workplace.

  • Provide Actionable Feedback:

Offer constructive feedback to help employees thrive in a hybrid environment. This can include sharing best practices, guiding them in utilizing technology effectively, and promoting health and safety behaviors.

  • Use Pulse Check Surveys:

Implement pulse check surveys to gather continuous feedback on employee needs. Ask questions about the availability of the right tools and overall satisfaction with their current work arrangements.

  • Create a Safe Environment:

Foster a safe and inclusive environment where employees feel comfortable making mistakes. Encourage a culture of asking for help, expressing diverse opinions, and being authentic. Maintain an open-door policy to ensure transparent communication.

Next Up in Part 3: AI and Technology Trends

Join us for the final part of our 2024 HR Outlook and Trends series, where we explore the trends of AI and HR technology. This final blog highlights the impact of AI on recruitment strategies, workforce analytics, and automation of transactional tasks. We cover important questions on governance, workforce readiness, vendor landscapes, and ethical considerations.

AI continues to trend with a rising demand professionals with AI skills. This will reshape the job market, benefiting both job seekers and employers. In 2024, there will be a renewed emphasis on employee experience, with user-friendly HR technology to assist employees in completing task efficiently. We cover important factors for investing in technology, ensuring they not only align with business goals but also enhance the work environment.

In the third part of the 2024 HR outlook, we will explore how AI and HR tech connect with the employee experience. Throughout this series, you've gained insights into the challenges and opportunities in HR, setting the stage for a successful new year. Don't miss out on staying ahead in the fast evolving landscape of human resources.

CoAdvantage, one of the nation’s largest Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs), helps small to mid-sized companies with HR administration, benefits, payroll, and compliance. To learn more about our ability to create a strategic HR function in your business that drives business growth potential, contact us today.