5 Workplace Trends For 2024: What’s In And What’s Out?


As more organisations understand that the workplace landscape has permanently changed, the focus in 2024 will be less on how many people come into the office and more on how the office can support people’s needs according to Linda Trim, Director at Giant Leap, one of SA’s largest workplace design consultancies. 



“To evolve with changing demands and earn people’s commutes, the workplace will undergo several key shifts as the focus will move away from static, monotonous office buildings to dynamic environments that prioritise choice and workers’ well-being.

Here are 5 emerging workplace trends to watch for in 2024:

In: Keeping it Right | Out: Getting it Right

Work is dynamic. “Workplaces must adapt as work changes and employee expectations evolve, yet only 38% of workplaces have been remodeled since the pandemic,” Trim noted. 

The best workplaces will be designed for ever-evolving change, like retail environments, which are constantly updated. Piloting new ideas, testing design solutions, gathering data, adjusting for feedback, and always being in beta is in. Out is the physical workplace that is treated as precious and remains static. 

In: Pheromones | Out: Light Rings

Building relationships in-person just can’t be duplicated virtually.

The richness of face-to-face communication is not just words, but also non-verbal cues, body language, subtle nuances, and even the unconscious exchange of pheromones, which are chemical signals that play a role in human attraction and bonding.

Shared physical spaces that foster a sense of genuine connection, allowing people to build trust, empathy, and rapport are in. Out are days full of only virtual connections and online meetings. 

In: People Performance | Out: Real Estate Metrics

“The physical workplace must be effective for people to build community, grow talent, learn cultural norms, and create alignment. This requires spaces for people to work both solo and collectively to get work done,” said Trim. Global architecture, design, and planning firm Gensler’s Workplace research shows that better designed, people-centric workplaces have significant return on investment for individuals, teams, and the business outcomes.

Out are the old ways of measuring success by real estate efficiency, density, occupancy, and ‘bums in seats.’


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In: Abundance | Out: Musical Chairs

A little like learning to drive in an empty parking lot before tackling the highway, navigating the new office with its social spaces, team spaces, unassigned desks, and deep-focus rooms takes some extra physical and emotional space to get used to.

Having more work points than people can provide an opportunity to comfortably try things out while knowing there will always be a seat available. Abundance naturally allows new behaviours, habits and mindsets to form.

Out is a real estate strategy based on scarcity, such as assigning 100 people to 80 desks, which can result in the fear of not getting a seat when in the office.

In: Biophilia | Out: Dungeons

Gardens,outdoor spaces, officeG plants and parks have all become desirable, if ergonomically challenged, workplaces. Light, fresh air, and being surrounded by living things helps us concentrate, be more creative, and healthful. Out are the stark, anti-septic, dungeon-like workplaces where any living organism feels out of place,” Trim said.

This is a time of incredible opportunity to rethink not only how people work, but what people need most to work at their best. 

“It’s time to put people first, foster the joy of work, and create a feeling of abundance in the workplace.” Trim concluded. 


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There is a growing gap between what employees say and do when it comes to office working according to Linda Trim, Director at Giant Leap, one of SA’s largest workplace design consultancies.




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