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Five transformative trends in the digital workplace for 2024

Alan Connolly, James McMahon, & Lukasz Ulaniuk
22 Jan 2024

Today’s workplace has the potential to be far more than a set of tools and technologies. It can be a philosophy, a lifestyle, a community, and a culture that fosters innovation, empowers employees, and truly puts people first.

Developments in immersive technology, artificial intelligence (AI), predictive analytics, machine learning, and cloud have laid the foundations for this new era of work. Advancements in these technologies now provide all people the ability to transcend physical barriers for collaboration and engagement, be more innovative and creative in their daily work, and allow businesses to make better more accurate decisions backed by data.

The driving force behind this was experience. The personal experience of each employee across key moments that matter within the workplace has become the yardstick for success. This shift in focus from productivity to performance, from physical boundaries to borderless connectivity, and from mundane routines to dynamic processes, all revolve around the idea of creating a personalized and enriching journey for every individual within the organization.

If 2023 was the year people realized the power of new tools, then in 2024 the stage is set for unprecedented growth for continued technological advancement, augmented human intelligence, and embedded sustainable practices.

It comes at a time when many of today’s employees are, to some degree, unsatisfied or unhappy with their experience at work. They want to be in the driving seat but their managers are often unaware of this: Capgemini research last year found 92% of leaders say their employees are happy at work, while only 30% of individual contributors and 65% of managers agree. The smartest organizations in 2024 will be those that successfully reimagine jobs and work environments around employees, putting well-being, skills, and culture at the core of business design.

1. The workplace becomes more human-centric by design

Over the next 12 months, the focus will continue to shift from productivity to performance. With many people now working remotely at least a few days a week, many leaders realize that getting the most out of employees is not a reflection of time spent at a desk, but by flexible approaches that allow people to add value in the way that works around their life.

Personalized services, customized learning paths, and adaptive environments based on individual needs will become the norm, and the use of digital assistants such as Microsoft Copilot will increase, augmenting human capabilities in new ways. The broader shift from reactive support to proactive enablement is creating a people-centric approach that will change the way workplaces are designed and operate. Importantly, we expect this to extend to the frontline, where automation will increasingly handle repetitive tasks, freeing workers to focus on shaping outcomes rather than just producing outputs

2. Immersive technology augments employee experience

Immersive technology, and virtual reality in particular, has ridden the hype curve since Facebook rebranded to Meta in 2021. This year, however, we expect the potential of immersive technology to start maturing across industries ranging from medicine to manufacturing.

For example, by using smartphones, tablets, or wearable devices such as the Meta Quest VR headset, factory employees could access a digital twin of the appliance that they are manufacturing, permitting practical training and diagnosis of faults without interrupting or otherwise negatively affecting the production process. Similar simulations can happen in almost any industry to help with onboarding and training with a host of benefits, whether that’s minimizing risks like in surgery or enhancing collaboration in the hybrid workplace.

According to Capgemini research, less than one-third of employees (29%) are happy with the collaboration tools to which they have access to at work. To engage and attract a new generation of workers, organizations will therefore have to leverage the consumer devices launched last year to start testing and creating immersive environments for their teams. Case studies, such as Airbus’s application of digital twins in guiding new hires through complex processes showcase the potential of this approach.

3. Time to deliver on the ‘social’ in ESG

According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), one in four people do not feel valued at work. Yet research has consistently shown that high levels of diversity, equality, and inclusion (DEI) are closely associated with a variety of business-related benefits, including higher levels of productivity, stronger innovation, improved performance, and better talent retention.

As the ambitious 2030 deadline set by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals approaches, this year companies must not only foster cultures where employees can bring their whole selves to work and celebrate unique perspectives and experiences, they must also take greater account for their responsibility for driving positive social change. They can do this in many ways, but they’ll find that leveraging immersive and mixed-reality platforms will accelerate their efforts.

4. Sustainability becomes more deeply embedded

The workplace of the future is, and must be, a sustainable workplace, and in 2024, we expect to see greater efforts to embed green practices in the digital workplace. Again, this will require a proactive approach that combines skills programs such as Capgemini’s Virtual Sustainability Campus, renewable and circular energy management, and embedding sustainability components into modern endpoint management and Device-as-a-Service offerings. With over 50,000 companies facing new regulatory requirements to disclose the impact of their operations on nature as the EU’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive comes into force, it’s likely that leading brands will need to go beyond reporting their impact to stand out from the crowd

5. The impact of intelligent automation, AI, and data

The marriage of AI, automation, and data sets the stage for continued advancements and ensures that the digital workplace remains at the forefront of innovation. AI, with its ability to analyze vast datasets and derive meaningful insights, empowers organizations to make informed decisions promptly. Automation streamlines processes, eliminating bottlenecks and expediting workflows, and the integration of data ensures that these processes are not only efficient but also adaptive, continuously learning and evolving to meet the dynamic demands of the digital landscape.

The impact of all three will ultimately prove fundamental to accelerating growth, streamlining governance, and ensuring compliance long, long into the future.

In 2024, experience is king

As we navigate the complexities of the digital workplace in 2024 and beyond, one thread becomes clear: AI plus immersive experiences are the new power couple, and a focus on employee well-being, coupled with performance, will become the cornerstone of delivering exceptional employee and customer experiences.

The future workplace is driven by automation, powered by intelligence, and focused on the moments that matter to employees. In essence, the digital workplace of 2024 is a fusion of technology and humanity, creating a thriving ecosystem where employees are empowered, ideas flourish, and innovation knows no boundaries.

Driven by intelligent automation, AI, and data, the digital workplace will continue to be a hotbed of innovation and growth. It’s a world where employees are not just contributors, but key players in shaping their organization’s future, empowered by technology to bring their unique skills and ideas to the forefront.

And, as we prioritize inclusivity and diversity in the workplace, we’re setting the stage for a richer, more dynamic environment. By celebrating unique perspectives and experiences, we’re fostering a culture where employees can truly be themselves, driving higher levels of productivity, creativity, and innovation.

Today, the question leaders should be asking is not whether we embrace the digital workplace revolution, but how quickly can we do it?

Are you looking to create a human-centric, experience driven workplace? Talk to us!

Author

Alan Connolly

Global Head of Digital Workplace Services – Cloud Infrastructure Services
Alan has a passion for working closely with customers, partners, and industry experts to solve complex challenges across the workplace. As a seasoned professional with over 20 years experience, he brings a unique blend of creativity and analytical thinking to the table to develop comprehensive plans that meet the needs of both the organization, and its employees.

James McMahon

Global Head of Employee Experience – Cloud Infrastructure Services
Global Head of Employee Experience at Capgemini, James has over 20 years’ experience in the field of employee experience and digital workplace services.

Lukasz Ulaniuk

Lead, Employee Experience – Cloud Infrastructure Services.