While technology will continue to dominate the future workplace, the challenge most organisation will find lies in finding the best way to use it in order to boost workforce motivation and productivity.
Four years ago, a world where remote would be the norm was unfathomable. Remote working, while not a new concept was still in the ‘testing’ phase. Then the pandemic hit, forcing businesses to go fully online fulltime. Welcome to the pandemic workplace, where the remote working is the norm. As countries roll out vaccination programmes and the world continue to grapple with a virus that continues to mutate, businesses must go on, learning identify and roll out workflow and schedules that support staff and boost productivity. But that’s easier said than done.
After over a year and half of working remotely, employees seem to be divided between continuing to work remotely and going back to work, while managers and C-suite executives having to now revaluate expectations of staff coming to the office fulltime. According to a recent McKinsey survey nearly three-quarters of around 5,000 employees globally stated the desire to work from home for two or more days per week, and more than half wanted at least three days of remote work. Ironically the same survey found that more than three-quarters of C-suite executives expected the typical “core” employee to be back in the office three or more days a week.
Employers, therefore, will have to now look to find flexible solutions to employees, embracing a more hybrid model of working.
That digital technology will continue to remain as the fulcrum of daily life and business is stating the obvious. It is the fact that enhanced tech such as Ai and automation are now taking centre stage. For example, the Future Health Index (FHI) 2021 India Report: ‘A Resilient Future: Healthcare highlights that there is an imminent shift towards prioritizing remote care, adopting digital health technologies, and implementing sustainable healthcare practices. According to the report, Indian healthcare leaders almost unanimously (99%) believe that the country’s healthcare policies and plans, such as Ayushman Bharat, are contributing towards building a resilient healthcare system.
And what about the old fear of machines replacing humans? According to a recent survey conducted in Canada, that is just a myth. The study is titled “The Robot Revolution: Managerial and Employment Consequences for Firms found that contrary to popular belief, the data showed that increased automation leads to more hiring overall. That’s because robot-adopting firms become so much more productive that they need more people to meet the increased demand in production.
Globalisation and the increasing use of digitalisation and Ai means that employees will be offered more flexibility. The widespread use of Ai to streamline work will free up employee time to think more creatively. However, it also denotes a shift in skills and the need for employees to quickly learn new skills. According to BCG, the combination of demand for digital skills and demographic shifts will put extreme pressure on the labor supply pipeline, creating fierce competition for talent. Thus, companies may need to shift the recruitment focus from hiring for skill to hiring for will: as some of the skills needed in the future (such as coding computer languages) will most likely be self-taught or come without an explicit certification, HR professionals will need to view candidate criteria with a more open mind and embrace diverse curricula.
Ultimately, no one can pinpoint exactly how the future of work will look like, but more and more organisations are finding the need to collect data and analyse what their employees and business needs in order to strike the right balance. Technology, of course, will continue to dominate the future workplace, the challenge lies in finding the best way to use it in order to boost workforce motivation and productivity.