As we navigate through 2024 and beyond, the insights from’s recent survey on employees’ outlook on the future of work reveal critical trends that small and midsize businesses (SMBs) cannot afford to ignore. While the survey highlights both optimism and concern among workers, it underscores the necessity for employers to adapt proactively to these evolving expectations.

Economic Challenges and Wage Concerns

One of the most striking findings is the widespread pessimism regarding the economy’s impact on wages. A significant 62% of workers believe that wages will not keep pace with the cost of living over the next 30 years. This sentiment poses a considerable challenge for SMBs, which often operate with tighter budgets compared to larger corporations. To attract and retain talent, SMBs will need to find innovative ways to offer competitive compensation packages, possibly incorporating non-monetary benefits such as flexible working conditions, professional development opportunities, and wellness programs.

Loyalty vs. Job Hopping

Despite economic concerns, employees anticipate relatively high rates of loyalty, with 22% expecting to stay at the same company and 48% predicting they might move two or three times within 30 years. This is surprising given the current trend of job hopping for better pay. For SMBs, this indicates a potential to foster long-term employee relationships by creating a positive and supportive work environment. Investing in employee engagement and career development can pay dividends in employee loyalty, reducing turnover costs and building a stable workforce.

Retirement and the Aging Workforce

The survey reveals mixed feelings about retirement, with a notable portion of employees expecting to work beyond the traditional retirement age. As average lifespans increase, the notion of retirement is evolving. SMBs must prepare for an aging workforce by considering flexible retirement plans, part-time roles for older employees, and opportunities for knowledge transfer between generations. This not only supports older workers but also leverages their experience and expertise to mentor younger employees.

The Demand for Flexibility

Perhaps the most transformative expectation is the demand for increased workplace flexibility. Only 12% of workers believe that the traditional 9-to-5 schedule will remain standard. The pandemic has accelerated the shift towards remote and hybrid work models, and this trend is expected to continue. SMBs should embrace flexible working arrangements to stay competitive in the talent market. This includes investing in technology that supports remote work, fostering a culture of trust and accountability, and rethinking office space utilization.


The future of work, as envisioned by employees, presents both challenges and opportunities for small and midsize businesses. By understanding and responding to these trends, SMBs can not only survive but thrive in this evolving landscape. Embracing flexibility, fostering loyalty, addressing economic concerns, and preparing for an aging workforce are essential strategies for ensuring long-term success.

As we look ahead, it is clear that the businesses that adapt to these changes will be better positioned to attract and retain top talent, drive innovation, and maintain a competitive edge in their respective markets. The future of work is here, and it’s time for SMBs to step up and meet the expectations of their most valuable asset—their employees.

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