Predicting the Future of Work
We have all experienced rapid and dramatic change over the last 2 years and the pace of change is likely to continue. Here at SWR, we believe it is more important than ever to keep an eye on the long game. We want to ensure that our Client’s business models and strategies continue to develop so that they survive and thrive in an increasingly complex and fast-paced world.
As you would imagine, we are interested in what is coming in the next phase of change so that we can prepare our clients in advance.
We have been researching the factors that we feel will drive change over the next couple of years. Scanning the worlds top consultants for their views – but then adding our own unique predictions to the pot.
Catalyst for change
Led by the Pandemic, these catalysts for change are collectively propelling the world of work to transform at pace.
The Pandemic Catalyst.
Covid was a shock for many leaders, but it was also catalyst for immediate and significant change. It required leaders to trust their people to work remotely, almost overnight! Mindset that would have taken decades to shift – were shifted over night by the need to stay in business.
Hybrid working is here to stay, but going forward we should not only consider where we work, but how we carry out work, too. Work happens in brains not offices – and work practices should constantly evolve.
There is so much talk about the Metaverse. But in reality what does this mean? It’s not clear yet – but it appears to be a combination of virtual reality interventions and the natural evolution of the internet.
On a more practical note, the way we must provide customer service has changed over the past couple of years as has employee experience. Thus the emerging technology that we use to connect with colleagues and clients is at a pivotal point.
It is also time to pilot stuff like virtual offices, robotics, gamification of learning, expedient workflow systems right now, to see how they can positively impact the service that we give to clients as well as ensure satisfying work for our teams.
Technological advances have rapidly changed consumer behaviour which impacts the world of work. Online shopping has embedded as a result of the pandemic and we are seeing the extinction of the High Street.
There are fewer retail assistants whereas delivery firms are offering more driving and logistics vacancies. Amazon offer a signing on bonus – a true sign that Talent is the new cash flow. Yet, before long we may see driverless vehicles and robots replace those jobs too.
Social media continues to drive a lot of societal change and as consumer and employee expectations and values continue to shift, businesses need to work ever harder to met their needs.
Concerns about sustainability are accelerating change. Everything we do in our day-to-day life has an impact on the planet, from the food we eat to the car we drive on our commute. How will global warming affect the work we do? How will it affect agriculture as temperatures rise? Will agriculture shift through the globe?
Pressure may also be put on Leaders by Government, in the future, to make a concerted effort to become paperless, save energy or use renewable energy and ensure that their carbon footprint is as effective as possible.
We’ve seen quite a lot of intervention by the Government during the Pandemic. Some positive – such as furlough payments and help for business owners. Some negative, such as the drive to encourage workers to return to the commute and be present in offices, in order to protect property development firms and business that has lived off the back of the commute for donkey’s years.
Whether we voted Remain or Brexit, our exit has had some negative impacts on businesses and it will be interesting to see on what footing business partnerships with our European counterparts will take in the future. We believe that the Pandemic, plus the current tensions with Russia, have healed wounds and bought us back together somewhat. Perhaps some form of new type of partnership will emerge within the next generation?
It is fair to say that the future direction of British politics will influence the future of work in this country, not least in the way work is organised, taxed and regulated. But, what the government cannot quell, is the appetite for offices to be repurposed. They will become places of collaboration and to engender a sense of belonging, Presenteeism, for the most part, is dead.
We believe the workplace will shift to reflect the organisation’s customer base and wider society. Let’s take, for example, the fact that people are living longer and healthier lives and are ready to work well into their 70’s.
This means that organisations will need to remove the unconscious bias of ageism. Their wisdom and rich experience is a valuable resource in bridging the skills gap and consider how to attract this rich seam of talent. After all Talent is the new Cash Flow.
Meanwhile, it will be interesting to watch how our children feel about work and whether the values of the younger generations will change as they grow older.
Globalisation and Global Unrest.
The Pandemic has shown us just how reliant we are on one another’s health and wellbeing. The question is, will our reaction to it mean that globalisation will continue or reverse as a result?
The key areas of the UK economy most likely to be exposed by the recent invasion of the Ukraine by Russia are energy, commodities and financial markets. Business is likely to be impacted by the indirect effects from price rises and volatility in commodity markets – particularly energy.
People are exiting the City to live in rural areas. Cornwall, for example, is among the fastest-rising house price locations. But this is also causing significant social housing problems for local people and front line workers. Will we see a levelling up of economic development. We hope so.
Following on from the Global unrest we have seen recently in Ukraine, it may be that the influx of migration from Ukraine into the UK will impact the employment rate and reduce skills gaps.
Each of the drivers of change, outlined above, continue to generate major upheavals in the world of work. Lewis Silkin, in their report on the Future of Work, believe they will impact:
- The type of work and jobs that we do
- The place that we choose to work
- The sources of work available as the world evolves
- The times at which we work
- The way we carry out the work and the relationship between worker and employer
- The number of jobs and the amount of time each person spends working
- The personal characteristics of the individuals who fill the jobs
- Why people choose to work for a particular organisation, or indeed at all.
Leaders have a tough job ahead of them if they are to meet the ever shifting demands of a changing world of work. Is your business equipped with the mindset and skills to face the evolving landscape?
Perhaps we can help with that. Contact Us at the Smart Working Revolution to discover how we can help your Leaders and People get ready for the new world of work.