Return to office. 
Loud quitting. 

The productivity paradox. 
Remote work and its related trends have been hot topics since the start of the pandemic, but the last few months brought a major shift in the conversation. For many knowledge workers, 2023 marked the end of the work life they had become accustomed to, as they left their home offices behind and resumed their in-office routine. 
So, what does 2024 have in store for remote work?  I recently talked about my predictions for remote work on Fast Company.     

Here are three things I shared, on what to expect in the remote work sphere over the coming months. 

#1 Reports of the end of remote work have been highly exaggerated  

Although headlines predicting the end of remote work are gaining momentum, remote work is nowhere near dying out. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Remote work is here to stay. While some companies may be quick to enforce a return to the office, it’s crucial to recognize that people’s craving for independence and flexibility remains unchanged. 

According to a recent survey, 98% of workers want to work remotely at least some of the time. At the same time, our own survey revealed that 84% of Alludo employees reported that their work-life balance has improved since making the transition to remote work, in contrast to the traditional in-office setting. 

I believe that this data isn’t unique to our staff, but that it likely reflects the reality of knowledge workers everywhere. So, for those who think remote work is dead, I have two words: Think again. 

Instead, I foresee 2024 as the year when forward-thinking employers recognize the importance of providing autonomy and remote work opportunities. These factors will continue to play a pivotal role in fostering employee engagement, bolstering retention rates, and attracting top talent. 

#2 Organizations will discover that “Diversity Ditching” takes a misguided, short-term view 

Economic difficulties have led some organizations to reduce their DEI efforts. Additionally, leaders are pushing for a return to the office, which we know undermines diversity within companies. Focusing solely on short-term gains ignores the fact that supporting diversity isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s also smart for business. Look at the numbers: Studies show that companies with diverse teams are more profitable. For instance, research by McKinsey found that companies with gender-diverse executive teams were 25% more likely to have above-average profitability and that those with ethnically diverse executive teams were 36% more likely to outperform their peers. 

Remote work is a powerful tool to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. It allows people to work from anywhere, regardless of their location, background, or personal circumstances. It also enables people to work in ways that suit their preferences, needs, and strengths, rather than conforming to a rigid and outdated norm.  

We know that remote work is what many people want and need to thrive. When leaders choose to leave remote work behind, they also leave behind a big opportunity to support DEI in their organization. Leaders will have to ask themselves if diversity ditching really is the best thing for their business to be doing. 

#3 Wise leaders will check the remote work data 

It may feel like the debate about remote worker productivity has been put to rest if you scroll through some of the most quoted stats and studies. But, I encourage leaders to take a moment and peek backstage before rushing everyone back to the office and realize that the results they base their decisions on are far from clear. 

For as many reports we see claiming that remote workers are less productive, we see just as many proving that they are in fact more productive and more engaged. So, when it comes to scrutinizing corporate productivity, wise leaders will take the time to understand the actual (and possibly unfavorable) impact that enforcing a return-to-office policy could bring to their team and organization. 
At Alludo, we have seen firsthand how remote work boosts productivity and employee experience. We will continue to rely on data and evidence, rather than anecdotes and assumptions, to guide our decisions. Read more about our remote work survey and how it demonstrates why we are committed to remain remote-first in 2024 and beyond. 

Read the full version of my article on Fast Company