The Workforce in 2024 and Communications Solutions for the Future of Work

The flexibility of remote and hybrid work scheduling has permanently changed the work landscape, but the new normal varies widely across different demographics and industries. Employees’ ability and preference to work in person or on-site depends greatly on whether they’re given the support and technology — like unified communications tools — to work seamlessly in any location.

Who’s Working Where?

Despite all the attention around remote work, only about 15 million, or 10%, of Americans worked exclusively from home in March 2024. An additional 14 million worked hybrid schedules, while most employees were fully in-person. Notably, most employees (60%) with remote-capable jobs prefer a hybrid schedule.

Specific industries and positions are more naturally suited to remote work. Knowledge- or computer-based jobs can be done anywhere, while frontline and industrial workers must be on-site. Remote-friendly industries in 2024 are:

  • Computer and IT
  • Marketing
  • Accounting and finance
  • Project management
  • Medical and health
  • Human resources and recruiting
  • Customer service

Due to the nature of these positions, remote and hybrid employees tend to have higher levels of education than workers whose jobs require them to be on-site. They also tend to be older and more established than their peers, drawing higher-than-average salaries.

Younger employees (who entered the workforce during the pandemic) are more likely to want to go to the office. They want to experience the benefits of in-person work, like socialization with coworkers, mentorship, and career opportunities. Meanwhile, Millennials and Gen Xers, who are more likely to have families, prefer the flexibility of hybrid work schedules.

Flexible Locations: Geographic Trends

While some jobs can be carried out anywhere, certain areas offer more support to digital nomads than others. The availability of flexible jobs varies widely depending on the State, with the Northeast and West Coast more likely to offer remote or hybrid work schedules than the South and Midwest.

As the new work model continues to evolve, companies in locations that foster flexibility and support their digital workforces will have a competitive advantage in attracting top talent.

Employees with Disabilities Benefit from Remote Work

Remote work has made the labor market more accessible to employees with disabilities, and the number of workers in this category has increased over the past few years. People with disabilities are 22% more likely to work entirely remotely than their colleagues without disabilities and are slightly more likely to have a hybrid work schedule.

Working from home allows employees with disabilities to focus on their jobs without the added mental and physical labor of navigating commutes or dealing with accessibility issues at the office. However, employers should still ensure employees have all the accommodations they need for equal opportunities at home and in person.

Small Businesses have it Both Ways

The new mode of working has allowed small business owners to address the role the office plays in their operations. Many have relocated to smaller offices or have gone permanently remote altogether. This flexibility allows them to meet with clients in different settings and attract a larger talent pool.

On the other hand, some industries – like smaller banks – are asking their employees to work in person, hoping to foster camaraderie in close quarters. Nearly one-third of small banks require their staff to be in the office full-time, compared to just 4% of banks with 5,000 or more employees. Consequently, employees might leave smaller firms for more flexible schedules at larger lenders.

Communications Solutions for the Future of Work

Four years into the new work landscape, virtual meetings still have some room for improvement. Thirty percent of employees feel virtual meetings are less effective than those held in person, while 52% believe there’s no difference. Only 18% think virtual meetings are more effective.

However, with the right unified communications and collaboration tools to connect remote, hybrid, and on-site employees, the digital workspace can be a powerful place for colleagues to connect and create. An all-in-one collaboration platform with audio web conferencing, video calling, direct messaging, group chat, and file sharing fosters real-time collaboration across locations.

One of the most remote-friendly fields, customer service, benefits from omni-channel contact center platforms. With flexible deployment options and real-time dashboards that work on any device, agents can expertly assist clients from on-premises or virtual locations.

When implemented thoughtfully, these technologies enhance employee productivity, inclusion, and cohesion, ensuring every person can perform at their highest ability from any location.

TCI solutions can connect and empower your remote, hybrid, and in-person teams. Give us a call at (703) 321-3030 or

Prepare for Tomorrow… 5 Steps to Future-Proof Your Workforce

What technology and skill sets can you invest in today that can help your employees successfully meet the challenges of the future? Follow these five steps to engage your employees and ensure your business is ready for whatever comes next.

1. Practice Curiosity

You and other decision-makers at your company have probably spent a lot of time asking yourselves big questions: How do we fulfill our mission statement? Who is our client base? Where are our growth opportunities? Much of the time these discussions occur behind closed doors, and while they’re important conversations to have, they’re not the only ones that should be happening.

Take time as you plan for 2024 to practice curiosity about your business on a granular level. Talk to your employees about their experiences and ask them for their thoughts. Often, those on the ground floor have the most interaction with your clients or know the smallest details that keep everything running. What works for them? What concerns do they have? What do they have to contribute and how can you facilitate that?

Begin these discussions with an open mind, asking new questions and understanding that you might not already know the answers. Explore avenues that might not be the most obvious. Try different ideas, and don’t be afraid to fail. Exercising genuine curiosity is an important leadership trait that takes practice but ultimately leads to exponential possibilities for growth.

2. Embrace Empathy

This second tip builds on the first. Curiosity is the start of connecting with your workforce, but empathy puts it into action. Meeting Management software leader Zipdo reports that leaders showing compassion for work environment issues and staff well-being was essential in increasing motivation in 96% of employees.

The pandemic made it clear that work styles vary and what works for one person may be completely unproductive for another. When you begin to ask questions, be prepared for a variety of answers and know they might all be correct on some level.

One key aspect to maintaining your workers’ well-being is to meet them where they are. The last few years have been a wide-scale experiment in new styles of work. According to the Harvard Business Review, many companies recognized that personalized, non-traditional schedules and workplaces lead to increased productivity and happiness, with 58% of organizations having invested in their employee experience.

Allowing flexible workdays, recognizing progress, encouraging mental health, and sometimes simply listening, not only makes you a better leader but keeps your employees feeling fulfilled, healthy, and engaged.

3. Foster Collaboration

Once you’ve worked to understand your employees’ needs, it’s time to come together and collaborate. It looks like non-traditional offices are here to stay, with a majority of people saying they want to work from home at least part of the time.

With blended workspaces blurring the line between in-person and remote, it’s essential to ensure everyone feels connected no matter where they are. Zippia found that “86% of employees in leadership positions blame lack of collaboration as the top reason for workplace failures” and that job satisfaction increased by 17% through collaboration.

Real-time communication is critical, whether you use chat, video conferences, phone calls, or email to keep up with projects. Using all-in-one tools and integrated collaboration software facilitates switching between modes of communication and promotes trust between colleagues, which encourages creativity, a sense of belonging, and that elusive authentic culture many employees value.

4. Adopt and Adapt Technology

When the COVID-19 lockdowns first took effect, companies were thrust into the digital-first world, ready or not. Almost 3 years later, even the most self-identified “technology laggards” have gotten on board, with many workplaces experiencing significant increases in operational efficiencies.

Taking advantage of technology is no longer optional for companies. Investing in cloud storage, unified communications systems, and employee training is critical for success. Adopting the right technology can make or break the productivity of your workforce.

5. Maintain Flexibility

The final way to future-proof your workforce is something we’ve all been practicing for a while now – maintaining flexibility in the face of whatever comes next. Though it may be challenging, continue to embrace change and allow your company to grow and adapt.

Listening to your employees and recognizing that each of them has unique needs will not only make you a better leader, but it will help guide your business through whatever lies ahead. Meeting workers where they are reminds them that you care and encourages satisfaction. After all, a happy employee is more productive and dedicated to their job.

Technology has helped with this transition already and integrating it into your workflow will keep your employees engaged and your company successful. Using new tools instead of trying to force old ones to work will keep you connected and on top of your game.

2023 was a year of technological evolution for many companies, and 2024 will be the year to reap the rewards of that evolution.

No matter your needs, TCI can help you prepare for tomorrow. Call us today at (703) 321-3030 or