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71: What Trends Will Dominate 2024’s Workplaces? (Part 1 of 2)

Dive into the major trends that are set to redefine how we work in 2024. Part 1 of 2

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This week, we’re looking back at our predictions for 2023 (were we right?!) and looking ahead to 2024 asking, what trends will dominate our workplaces?

This is Part 1 of a 2-part episode so be sure to subscribe!

To bring you the most up to date and accurate insights, we’ve engaged a bumper panel of expert guests.

We’re thrilled to welcome Isabel Berwick of the FT and “Working It” podcast, Mridula Pore from Peppy Health, Organisational Psychologist Professor Sir Cary Cooper, workplace health specialist Amy McKeown, Ruth Handcock, CEO of Octopus Money, and Martin Lindstrom, a New York Times bestselling author.

Join the conversation as we ask:

  • What major shifts are experts predicting for workplace environments in 2024?
  • How might the balance between office and remote work evolve?
  • What new healthcare trends could redefine employee well-being?
  • In what ways could financial well-being become a focus in workplaces?
  • What leadership styles might emerge in response to these changes?

Their diverse expertise promises an in-depth and multifaceted discussion on the future of work and culture!


Connect with Isabel:

Connect with Amy:

Connect with Professor Sir Cary Cooper:

Connect with Ruth:

Connect with Martin:

Connect with Mridula:

Listen to More from Truth, Lies & Workplace Culture

Our 2023 Predictions:

Financial Well-being with Prof. Sir Carey Cooper

The Ministry of Commonsense with Martin Lindstrom 

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The Transcript

⚠️ NOTE: This is an automated transcript, so it might not always be 100% accurate!

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[00:00:00] Ruth Handcock, Octopus Money: So I think what we’ll see is more salary hunting. So about 55 percent of people this year said they were looking for a job purely for salary. And we all know as leaders of businesses that you lose your really good people first.

[00:00:18] Leanne: Hello and welcome to the Truth, Lies and Workplace Culture podcast brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network. The audio destination for business professionals. My name is Leanne. I’m a business psychologist.

[00:00:27] Al: My name is Al. I’m a business owner.

[00:00:29] Leanne: And we are here to help you simplify the science of people and create amazing workplace cultures.

[00:00:34] Al: Well, yes, we are. And it’s the end of the year. It’s been another spectacular year for us. Hope it’s been a great year for you. Um, if you’re a long term listener, then thank you for your support, really. Um, you’ll probably remember back in December. Uh, we, what was our episodes in December? We were doing predictions, weren’t we, love?

[00:00:51] Leanne: We did. It was actually one of our most popular. Episodes this year. Our prediction two parter. So we recorded last December 2022 and now we’re back with our predictions for 2024. Yeah, it’s always

[00:01:05] Al: been in the top 20 of the episodes that are listened to. And there can only really be one reason for that.

[00:01:12] Al: And that’s because you wanted to listen and find out how wrong we were and, um, spoiler alert. I got some things wrong, Leanne. I really didn’t. I got some things wrong.

[00:01:22] Leanne: I don’t know. I think maybe you’re just a bit ahead of your time, Al. We weren’t right on everything, but we did get some things right. So here are last year’s predictions.

[00:01:33] Leanne: So our first prediction last year was the fight for talent will continue. I think I was right about that. The market is stabilized, but the fight for talent continues, especially with our new Gen Z ers joining the workforce. Our second prediction was more of a focus on talent retention. So really that was about a shift in focus from the fight for attracting talent to the fight for retaining talent and specifically making sure you are collecting the data you need to be.

[00:02:05] Leanne: I think that’s definitely building, is bubbling. I hope to see that accelerate a lot quicker in 2024. Our third prediction, people will be investing more in employer brand. Yeah,

[00:02:17] Al: that was one of my predictions. And that kind of was right. Not as much as I expected, to be honest. But, uh, yeah, people definitely employer brand seems to be a little bit more

[00:02:24] Leanne: of a thing.

[00:02:25] Leanne: Yeah, I agree. And our next prediction was a focus on professional development. I think so. I’ve heard much more about that. But again, I think there’s work to be done in terms of formalizing that structuring that there are things we can do. And then we also, I guess, similar theme, we felt coaching. Coaching was gonna, gonna really soar in 2023.

[00:02:46] Al: Yeah, we were kind of right. Perhaps the cost of living crisis might have slightly dampened that. My specific prediction was there’ll be an AI coach. So much has happened with AI over the last 12 months now. You can do pretty much anything you, I saw a AI news channel, um, a video entirely made up by AI.

[00:03:05] Al: People or AI machines. So my prediction for AI coaches not quite come true, but then I did have the caveat saying there is maybe a little bit of an ethical issue again on that one.

[00:03:16] Leanne: Yeah, again, though, I think you may be slightly ahead of your time. I can see that starting starting to take off over the next 12 to 18 months.

[00:03:22] Leanne: Our next prediction was around hybrid working and flexible working that was here to stay. And yes, it is. In fact, I think it was just this week that flexible working has now been made law. From day one, is it as a right for UK employees, which is nice to see. And then I think our next prediction was more prediction was more around transparency in business.

[00:03:43] Leanne: Oh, that was that, that was your one, right?

[00:03:45] Al: Yeah. It was around that, uh, there was so much secrecy before. I think some of that is coming true and coming from the, the, the, the sales and marketing world that I’m in. I see a lot more people who are building businesses using the hashtag build in public on Twitter or X if you want to be fancy and call it that.

[00:04:00] Al: Um, and so I think there’s a lot more transparency around that. So I think we are getting there. Whatever tends to happen in marketing probably happens in the rest of the operations that have like 12 to 18 months later. So hopefully we’re seeing a bit more transparency. Yeah,

[00:04:10] Leanne: absolutely. And continue talk of the government starting to.

[00:04:14] Leanne: Mandate the publication of that type of data, um, to help us meet our ESG, um, commitment. So yeah, I think 2024, that will be, be much more of a thing, whereas wellbeing and mental health as a priority has definitely been a conversation of 2023. We have so many episodes about that. So many experts saying that it does.

[00:04:33] Leanne: Um, it’ll be interesting to see how that conversation evolves in 2024.

[00:04:36] Al: Yep. Then my next prediction was technology is going to predict burnout. No, that didn’t happen. It was a bit of a wild one. But my idea was that if we could anonymously collect all the information for people, the usage of emails of documents, all that kind of thing, you could start to predict that there was gonna be a burnout risk.

[00:04:55] Al: Not happened yet, might happen again. If it does happen in the next five years, then I will cite myself as as being one of the Um, one of the people who predicted it years and years ago. If it doesn’t, then I’ll

[00:05:04] Leanne: never mention it again. I think where you were right on that was companies starting to gather more data about employee activity, and we’ve definitely seen that, particularly in terms of hybrid working policies.

[00:05:14] Leanne: So I think, I think your use of technology to track employee behavior was right. I think perhaps you’re a little optimistic that it would be used for good. Fair point.

[00:05:24] Al: Fair point.

[00:05:25] Leanne: Um, our penultimate prediction was a focus on inclusion. Absolutely. EDI has been a key topic of 2023. If you’re interested in learning more about that, look back at episodes 41 on neurodiversity, 45 on inclusive workplaces, 53 with the founder of Canaries, a groundbreaking DIB platform, and episode 62, DEIB washing.

[00:05:48] Leanne: And the

[00:05:48] Al: final prediction was, again, one of mine, and it was that we’d be all have wearables that would be able to tell us exactly how health, how stressed we were, um, how well being was, using a watch. No, not yet, but we’ll see, maybe in the future.

[00:06:04] Leanne: Yeah, I have seen more, more of an uptick in some of the influences I follow online in terms of these, like, wellness rings and health wearables.

[00:06:12] Leanne: So again, I think we’re starting to see that more, the, the early adoption. is, is ramping up into maybe an early minority. But yeah, in terms of workplace, I’m not sure that’s quite got there yet.

[00:06:22] Al: So I think one thing is very, very clear. And I should have predicted this is that Leanne’s predictions mainly came right in mind, maybe came wrong, but that’s fine because she’s the expert talking of experts.

[00:06:32] Al: We thought, well, this year we’ll do, we’ll do something a little bit different. I was trying to remember the one lyric there this year. To set my frontiers to save us from tears, save us from tears. Is that it? I’ve always thought it was set your frontier. Oh dear.

[00:06:46] Leanne: To save

[00:06:47] Al: I think so. Yeah, no, that makes more sense than what mine was.

[00:06:50] Al: I don’t know why George was thinking about frontiers. Anyway, to save us from tears, we are going to get experts in. And so we have an amazing panel of experts who we’ve said. What do you think? What are your predictions for 2024? Yes,

[00:07:03] Leanne: we do. Our panel includes some incredible people. First up, Isabel Berwick.

[00:07:09] Leanne: She is a Financial Times journalist and host of the podcast Working It. We have Maduro Pule, co founder of Pepe Health, a startup revolutionizing the healthcare sector for workplaces. We have the awesome, incredible Professor Sir Kerry Cooper. No, no more introduction needed, I don’t think. Also thrilled to welcome back Amy McCowan, a true friend of the show now, a regular guest and expert in workplace health.

[00:07:33] Leanne: We also have the awesome Ruth Hancock, one of my favorite conversations of the year. She is CEO of Octopus Money and an all round amazing human, really. And Lindstrom, New York Times bestselling author of books such as Biology. Brandwashed and Ministry of Common Sense. So let’s discover the first prediction for 2024.

[00:07:55] Al: Yes! So one of Leanne’s predictions was that hybrid working would continue to gain pace. Oh my god, there has been some arguments about this. What do

[00:08:06] Leanne: you think, Lee? Yeah, I mean, companies like Zoom, I think Zoom was the real kick in the teeth, wasn’t it? Companies like Zoom, X, Twitter, whatever are calling it these days, you know, demanding that employees return to the office.

[00:08:19] Leanne: Then we have companies like HelpScout and Wistia who are making work even more flexible. So the chasm seems to be actually increasing between office versus remote. Isabel Berwick is from the Financial Times and hosts the amazing podcast, Working It. She feels we’re on a precipice. So I’m Isabel

[00:08:39] Isabel Berwick, Financial Times: Berwick.

[00:08:40] Isabel Berwick, Financial Times: I have worked at the Financial Times for 22 years. I’ve done a lot of jobs for the last couple of years. I’ve been a podcast host. And I have a weekly newsletter for our subscribers about the world of work. They’re both called Working It, and it’s about the modern workplace, the future of work, leadership, management, all those things that FT readers are very interested in.

[00:08:59] Isabel Berwick, Financial Times: But I think there’s a lot of tension. We’re at a very sort of pivotal moment. A lot of CEOs are trying to get their People back to the office. So there’s a huge kind of pull back to the office or RTO and people want to work from home. They want flexibility. And so I think that’s the key tension of our time.

[00:09:18] Isabel Berwick, Financial Times: And we deal with that and there are loads of other things going on, but I guess the post pandemic workplace has changed so significantly that there’s a lot to say. The only rule is that you have to be clear about what it is you want from your staff. If you want them in five days, you can say that. You have to be clear.

[00:09:35] Isabel Berwick, Financial Times: I think the worst possible outcome is when you say you can come in when you want. And then you get lots of particularly young people turning up, their managers aren’t there, their teams aren’t there, you know, be, as they say, intentional about when you want your people in.

[00:09:49] Al: Amy McCowan is an expert in workplace health, having worked with organisations such as the EU Parliament to develop strategies for health at work.

[00:09:58] Al: She sees this huge opportunity that we might all be missing.

[00:10:01] Amy McKeown: In my opinion, a lot of the people trying to force people back to the worked, worked for before, right? So when you’ve got Elon Musk and people like that insisting and bankers that five days a week, what we’re in danger of is missing the opportunity that the pandemic has given us, which is that actually a flight flexible and hybrid working we’ve seen from the society of occupational medicine, flexibility reduces long term sickness.

[00:10:30] Amy McKeown: And given that in the UK at the moment we’ve got more people out of the workforce with sickness than ever before, I’m really reluctant to rush back into that kind of working pattern that we had before because it just excluded so many people. Women, people with caring responsibilities, people with disabilities, people with illness.

[00:10:45] Amy McKeown: So that’s what we were talking about. How do we work? Because it’s all very well doing well being at work and that’s what the conference is about. But there are some fundamental issues in the workforce right now, which is long term sickness. We haven’t really managed to square the circle of having two incomes and families with a school system that chucks out at 3.

[00:11:05] Amy McKeown: 30. And also rushing back to where we were is a massive lost opportunity.

[00:11:10] Leanne: Talking of long term sickness. Our experts prediction number two is that we’ll be seeing a whole host of new healthcare services springing up that are specifically designed to deal with highly complex issues. We’re talking bespoke health needs here.

[00:11:26] Leanne: So Madhuri from Pepe, one of these brand new healthcare providers, we asked her to explain what the difference was between the NHS and companies like Pepe.

[00:11:35] Mridula Pore, Peppy Health: So my name’s Meridhelal, I’m a co founder of Peppy, which is probably what I’m most famous for, along with Max Landry and Evan Harris. We founded Peppy in the UK five years ago, and we serve employees of enterprise clients, typically, um, in areas that are traditionally underserved by healthcare services.

[00:11:52] Mridula Pore, Peppy Health: Yeah, so I describe Peppy as really the big white space we fill as the Conversations that happen between your kitchen table and when you walk into your doctor’s office. If you think about the conversations that happen with your health, which you might have with a spouse or a friend, you know, really, they don’t, they don’t know their experience could be completely different.

[00:12:11] Mridula Pore, Peppy Health: What PEPI allows you to do is to speak to a specialist. So we have specialist nurses on staff, be they fertility, menopause, urology and others, nutrition therapists, lactation consultants, midwives, um, you know, you get the idea. Um, and so rather than speaking to somebody who. quite frankly, might be sympathetic but doesn’t know what they’re talking about, Peppy gives you access to a specialist in your pocket.

[00:12:33] Mridula Pore, Peppy Health: So that can be, for a lot of people, preventative and that’s really a big gap that we want to fill, but we can also be your companion with you along your health journey. You know, if you are exploring treatment options, undergoing treatment, you’re worried about what’s going to happen. You know, you want more information.

[00:12:50] Mridula Pore, Peppy Health: We, our team are there as a resource to you. We are also CQC registered in the UK and a licensed healthcare provider in the US, so we can also prescribe and increasingly become a virtual healthcare provider. There are two

[00:13:01] Al: groups which are really kind of at risk at the moment in 2024, and they are young men and older women.

[00:13:09] Al: Let’s hear more from

[00:13:10] Amy McKeown: Amy. But I started to nuance what that was. So the Society of Occupational Medicine report came out, but also I was at a Women in Work conference last year, sorry last week, which was an inaugural one. And the bit that’s missed from those frightening long term statistics are that the majority of people out of the workforce are young men with mental health problems.

[00:13:30] Amy McKeown: So there’s a specific demographic of young men, but the majority are also older women. So we know that women have more rates of chronic illness. We know they have more higher rates of mental illness, but what those long term sickness statistics show is that the majority of those were women over the age of 50, a fifth of which are on gynecological waiting lists, which are the worst in the UK.

[00:13:53] Amy McKeown: And obviously women are often usually ones who have. Agenda pay gap and smaller pensions. So that is a huge amount of experience, knowledge, uh, you know, productivity out of the workforce as a result of health. So it’s one thing talking about long term illness, and there’s a whole discussion about use of Fitnotes, but it’s actually looking at the demographics and what is happening, you know, actually it’s women and it’s younger guys with mental health problems.

[00:14:19] Amy McKeown: So if we can start to look at those sorts of things, it’s much easier than just talking about, um, ill

[00:14:23] Leanne: health. And the key word here is equity in healthcare. Midori explains what healthcare equity really means.

[00:14:31] Mridula Pore, Peppy Health: Equity means recognising that different people will have different health needs and supporting them so that each of them can be at the best they can.

[00:14:44] Mridula Pore, Peppy Health: To handle their lives at home and at work. I mean, ultimately it’s their workplace that’s paying for peppy for them. Um, but recognizing that what, you know, person a might need, who is a 27 year old female, maybe having gone through, you know, early ovarian insufficiencies, experiencing early menopause could be extremely different to somebody who is, um, male 55, you know, struggling with some urogenitory issues.

[00:15:15] Mridula Pore, Peppy Health: That we, what we aim to do is to ensure that people have what is appropriate and necessary for them to enable them to make the most of the opportunities that are in front of them in the workplace.

[00:15:30] Leanne: So prediction number two is that we’ll see a huge improvement in healthcare for workers. What’s our third prediction

[00:15:36] Al: at?

[00:15:36] Al: The third one is around financial well being. Now we did an episode around about a month and a half ago, episode 55, which is all around financial well being. One of the leaders and pioneers in finances and financial well being is Octopus Money. We asked the CEO Ruth Hancock to explain what trends she’s seen around financial well being in the world.

[00:15:58] Ruth Handcock, Octopus Money: I’m Ruth Hancock. Um, I’m CEO of Octopus Money, and we’re on a mission to give every employee access to help with their money through a person. So we’ve talked a lot about physical health. We’ve talked a lot about mental health. Actually, I think this is the first year. When financial health has been one of those pillars and I speak to more people who think it’s a pillar in their Um benefits and well being strategy than people who don’t yet so it feels it feels pretty pivotal for us So what we’ve learned in mental health is that people like to have a safe space They like to be able to talk about themselves, to be listened to, and actually have a regular engagement with the same person.

[00:16:38] Ruth Handcock, Octopus Money: I think the exact same is true with money. We’ve thought for a long time that you can put on a pensions webinar and suddenly everyone will leave feeling differently about saving for retirement. I don’t believe they do. Because I don’t believe that people engage with information about money, unless it’s delivered in a really personalized way because money is an emotional topic.

[00:16:59] Ruth Handcock, Octopus Money: When you ask people whether they’re good with money, most people will say, no, not really. It makes me feel like I’m stupid or it makes me feel like I’m losing. So I think a brilliant financial health strategy encompasses those things which are about safe space. They’re about personalization. They’re about being listened to.

[00:17:16] Ruth Handcock, Octopus Money: and understanding that it’s an emotional topic, not just a numerical

[00:17:19] Leanne: one. So now we’ve actually started the conversation. In 2024, is it going to be any better? Ruth is not sure.

[00:17:28] Ruth Handcock, Octopus Money: It’s a great question. I hate to be a bit of a voice of doom on this, but I’m afraid I am at the moment, which is if you pick up a paper, you see cost of living.

[00:17:37] Ruth Handcock, Octopus Money: Much less prominent than it was this time last year. But actually, I think that the worst impacts are yet to come. And that’s because people over the last year have been living off the small savings that they have. But the economy has not got any better in that time. So inflation is still high. People are still struggling to heat their homes, to afford to buy food.

[00:17:59] Ruth Handcock, Octopus Money: They’re probably re mortgaging or seeing their rent go up because their landlord is having to re mortgage. And actually we’re getting to the stage where people’s savings are depleted. So I think what is the most critical, um, consequence of cost of living, which is the gigantic stress it places on people, is going to worsen over the next year rather than get better.

[00:18:20] Ruth Handcock, Octopus Money: As people realize that lots of the things they’ve relied on over the past year, those, those critical savings aren’t there anymore. So I think for employers. They’re probably going to see more people worried about the real impacts of cost of living than they have over, over the last year, even if we see it in the headlines less, I think people are going to feel it more.

[00:18:40] Leanne: Most of us remember the bad times of the global financial crisis. I personally graduated in 2008, which is the worst Fabulous time to do that. We asked Professor Sir Kerry Cooper if we’re about to see history repeat itself.

[00:18:52] Professor Sir Cary Cooper: So financial well being is just another source of stress for an individual in the workplace.

[00:18:58] Professor Sir Cary Cooper: It’s become more significant than ever before. It started becoming significant in 2008 to 2015 during the financial crisis. Lots of people lost their job. Job insecurity was rife. Uh, people, um, were out of jobs for quite a long time. Lost their jobs in the finance sector. Something like 35 to 40 percent of people lost their jobs in that six, seven year financial crisis we’re in.

[00:19:26] Professor Sir Cary Cooper: The major I call that the depression rather than the recession. I’d call it depression too. Now we’re in a recession. Many countries, Germany, Britain is bouncing along the bottom and it really is in recession, in effect. And so Financial well being is all about the problems that your finances are having on you and how it’s affecting you at work, in your family, and elsewhere.

[00:19:56] Professor Sir Cary Cooper: And since I focus in on the workplace, then my concern is about how do we get people to be open about their financial circumstances with their employer. Because the employer wants to help, many employers want to help. But if employees, a recent survey found a huge percentage of people, two out of three, will not reveal to their employer that they’re having any financial difficulty.

[00:20:26] Professor Sir Cary Cooper: Yet it affects them at work, it affects them in their relationships, it affects them at home, and um, and their, their performance as well. So, how do we get these people to actually talk about it? Feel open to talk about it. How do we get the organization to train line managers to be able, uh, to broach this subject with their subordinates and their direct reports.

[00:20:58] Professor Sir Cary Cooper: And again, uh, about a third of people, it is found. Um, feel that their employer, you know, well, a lot of them feel they’re employing number one. They don’t want to talk about it with their boss. Number two, they don’t think their boss would necessarily be open to talking about it. And many organizations are not really dealing with this as an issue.

[00:21:20] Professor Sir Cary Cooper: They feel that would be intrusive or it’s not in

[00:21:24] Al: their bailiwick. And the issue isn’t just that you are distracted at work because you’re thinking about money. You actually run the risk of losing your best people because they have to go and chase So, yeah. Yeah. The dollar they have to look for the salary that pays in the most

[00:21:37] Ruth Handcock, Octopus Money: 80 percent of people who couldn’t concentrate on work because they were so worried about money.

[00:21:43] Ruth Handcock, Octopus Money: If that’s what it’s like when before the cost of living crisis hit, imagine what it’s going to be like next year. So I think what we’ll see is more salary hunting. So about 55 percent of people this year said they were looking for a job purely for salary. And we all know as leaders of businesses that you lose your really good people first.

[00:22:03] Ruth Handcock, Octopus Money: Um, I think we’re going to see more people not being able to focus on work because they’re so

[00:22:08] Leanne: worried about money. So those are our first few predictions for the world of people and culture in 2024. Thank you to our incredible expert panelists for helping us out there. We will be back next week with part two of our predictions for 2024 and bring you even more insights of what the world of work will look like in the next 12 months.

[00:22:29] Leanne: So if

[00:22:29] Al: you’re not subscribed, click on subscribe, as ever, you’ll find Leanne on LinkedIn. I’ve said before, I’m not on LinkedIn. I can’t be bothered with it, but Leanne’s brilliant at it. So jump on LinkedIn, all seriousness, jump on LinkedIn and you can continue the discussion and you can message Leanne if you want to speak to her, just send her any message.

[00:22:43] Al: If you want to sell her something, maybe don’t do that. But if you just want to have a chat about something feel free to DM her. What do the kids say? The Gen Z’d say DMs are open. Is that what they say? Slide into your DMs? I

[00:22:53] Leanne: don’t know. I’m far too old to have people sliding into my DMs, but if you want to drop me a message that would be nice.

[00:22:58] Leanne: I’d love to.

[00:22:59] Al: So we will see you next week for part two. Bye for now. I

[00:23:12] Leanne: realized that this is something that’s not just being talked about because that’s not what I’m going to say.

[00:23:19] Al: We hadn’t had an outtake yet. That’s our first one. You’re welcome. Thank you very much.

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