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Insights for a Healthy, Safe and Prosperous New Year

  • Published
  • 28 December 2023
  • Category
  • Industry Insights

Along with unpredictable weather forecasts comes business trend projections for 2024. We did some research and offer this collection of insights as you adapt your workplace environment, occupational health and safety programs to address emerging trends in the new year. (Each insight includes a weblink to access more information.)

Economic Outlook

“A smaller workforce will define the economy in 2024. In fact, it will be the key economic challenge we face for the foreseeable future.” (U.S. Chamber of Commerce)

  • U.S. economic growth will return to pre-pandemic rates, inflation will hover around 2 percent and the Fed will lower interest rates. (The Conference Board)
  • Approximately 4.7 million new jobs will be created through 2032 at an annual growth rate of 0.3 percent. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • Business growth will continue to pick up into 2025; inflation will continue to gradually decline. (Congressional Budget Office)
  • Projected risks include declines in consumer spending, cash in short supply, and reductions in certain federal spending and infrastructure programs. (Morgan Stanley)
  • Eight factors are projected to drive up the total cost of risk: energy transition, severe weather, inflation, aging infrastructure, workplace injuries, legal system abuse, cyber events and political unrest. (Risk & Insurance)

 Sustainability and ESG

 Compliance will become a key concern for environment, social and governance (ESG) teams, which will need to work closely with communications and marketing teams to ensure environmental messages adhere to jurisdictional requirements.” (FiscalNote)

  • Renewable energy deployment is projected to grow by 17 percent to 42 gigawatts in 2024 and account for almost a quarter of electricity generation. (Energy Information Administration)
  • Customers increasingly prefer to buy from companies that demonstrate authentic commitment to sustainable practices, including climate risk modeling, clean energy and supply chain management. (PWC)
  • Sustainability is one of the top 10 strategic technology trends that provides a framework for digital solutions driving ESG outcomes; by 2027, 25 percent of a chief investment officer’s compensation will be linked to sustainable technology impacts. (Gartner)
  • In 2024, almost 50,000 companies will be subject to the European Union Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive, including non-EU companies with subsidiaries operating within the EU or listed on EU-regulated markets. (European Commission)

 Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI)

 “To be an industry leader in five years you need a clear and compelling generative AI strategy today.” (Boston Consulting Group)

  • AI will allow companies to enhance customer experiences and streamline internal operations through automation. (Linked In and Forbes)
  • In a U.S survey, 53 percent of responding employees said they don’t feel prepared to work with AI, robotics or other advanced technologies. Employers will need to provide AI skills training and development to avoid blindsiding employees. (Gallup Workplace)
  • The proliferation of generative AI will make it easier to access information, increase productivity for some workers and require employers to demonstrate the value of peer-to-peer interaction. (Glassdoor)

 Workforce and Workplace

 “With the evolution of digital tools and changing work norms, remote work is no longer a niche concept but a growing trend spanning various fields.” (Forbes Advisor)

  • To counteract automation, organizations are hiring people with demonstrated “soft skills” and investing in training on interpersonal communication. Experts say technical proficiency may get workers in the door, but soft skills will help keep them there. (HR Magazine and SHRM)
  • Gen Z employees will comprise a larger percentage of the workforce than Boomers as the older generation ages out of the workforce; middle managers will feel the squeeze as workforce demographics, responsibilities and expectations shift. (Glassdoor and Gallup Workplace)
  • Workplace vs. anyplace will continue as a post-COVID-19 pandemic trend. In 2023, an estimated 13 percent of full-time U.S. employees worked from home; 28 percent had hybrid or flexible schedules. By 2025, it is estimated 22 percent will work remotely, while the majority of employees will continue to present in a workplace or doing a job in the field at least part of the time. (WFH Research and Upwork)

 Mental Health

 “In 2023, 77 percent of employers reported an increase in workforce mental health needs. In 2024, and for the near future, employers will be acutely focused on addressing employees’ mental health needs while ensuring access and lowering cost barriers.” (2024 Large Employer Health Care Strategy Survey, Business Group on Health)

  • In a survey, 64 percent of responding employers said they plan to enhance mental health and well-being offerings in 2024. (Mercer Health and Benefits Strategies for 2024)
  • It is estimated that one in five U.S. adults has a mental illness. As the stigma associated with mental illnesses decreases, an increasing number of employees are expected to seek mental health care. (National Institute of Mental Health)
  • In a survey, 92 percent of workers said it is important to work for an organization that provides support for employee mental health; 43 percent reported that their employer offers health insurance coverage for mental health and substance use disorders. (American Psychological Association)

 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

“Companies should be prepared to receive shareholder proposals for the 2024 proxy season relating to racial equity and civil rights audits.” (The Conference Board)

  • Research shows successful DEI programs improve an organization’s adaptability, in turn producing better financial performance, stronger culture/leadership and more engaged employees. (Harvard Business Review)
  • The U.S. workforce is becoming more diverse as a whole, but diversity within industries is not keeping pace. For example, Black and Hispanic people are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) professions. (U.S. Chamber of Commerce)
  • In a 2023 survey, 51 percent of companies had trained leaders on ways to create inclusive team environments, indicating that many employers need to provide effective DEI training programs with an emphasis on inclusion for leadership teams, and in particular, human resource professionals. (Paradigm)

Happy New Year from all of us at WorkCare! To learn more about ways our comprehensive occupational health, wellness and absence management solutions can help you and your company stay ahead of the curve in 2024, please contact us at