The Future of Work is changing

Is The Future Of Work Changing? (Yes, It’s 3 Dimensional)

Technological disruptive innovation automation, pandemic and the shifting workforce demographics are potential catalysts for the transformation of the Future of Work. Work from a culture has become a mandate, following the only precautionary measure available to fight against the contagion, that is social distancing and quarantine. With organizations running from the home of the employees, the business models require restructuring. The article portrays the shifting pattern of the Future of Work, which is now in a continuous state of flux.

Since the inception of Industrial 4.0, there have been numerous concerns about the accelerated change in the Future of Work. Industry experts and analysts have pondered about the effects of the accelerated changes on their organizations and businesses.

With the outbreak of the pandemic Coronavirus, this change has been faster than ever. It is challenging the organizations to adapt to uncertain situations. The uncertainties looming large over the global economy. The Future of Work requires restructured workplaces, redefined job responsibilities, rapid learning, and reserves of trust.

In a span of just a few months, the global economy has proceeded from minute observations, precautionary measures and common sense health advisories to massive cancellations of projects, business shutdowns and remote working mandates. Several large organizations like Amazon, Nike, Facebook, JP Morgan etc are trying to virtualize business operations efficiently. The social distancing and being in quarantine are the only known measures to “flatten the curve” of the contagion

This pandemic might be deemed as a great catalyst for business transformations. Previously, the Future of Work was predicted to be unfolded over the years. But now in these uncertain situations, the process is accelerated and it is now changing over months. Several organizations are experimenting with different virtual operational models. All these are done in a span of a few months, something they might not have done over the years.

The accelerated changes in the Future of Work is visible in three major areas, they are:

  • Evolving Workforce
  • Technology-driven solutions (Work)
  • The shift in Work Culture (Workplace)

Evolving Workforce

The fluid gig economy, decentralized workforces, motivational boost, and consistent update of knowledge are some of the primary characteristics of the evolving workforce. The job roles and responsibilities have become fluid. Their preferences have shifted from the strict organizational charts to project-based operational models. This is something that is highly lucrative to Generation Z employees. They are looking for more than just one constricted job roles in a singular place of employment.

The gig economy will continue to expand. As already seen since a few years now, where experts and professionals are onboarded as consultants and freelancers, based on short term or long term projects of the organization.

The smartphone penetration and easy availability of the internet have cushioned the efficiency of remote working, or work from home culture. This will make it convenient for the workforces of the next generations to work from their desired location, without any hassle of relocation. The employees can communicate among themselves and continue working from different locations, nurturing the developments of decentralised work culture.

In such situations, people will need more than just a monthly paycheck to remain motivated to execute their respective job responsibilities. Many expect to work in projects with a mission and purpose they believe in. Incentives, allowances, opportunities for honing personal developments, gadgets to help them with their remote working, useful training sessions etc will help the evolving workforces to remain motivated. And they contribute to the steady progress of the Future of Work.

The evolving workforces will face the rising tides of disruptive innovations and technological advances. They need to develop their technical skills and expertise to remain relevant in the changing scenario. Their work will help them to learn various new skills that will enrich them for a lifetime. This opportunity of lifelong learning will add value to the new age employment models.

Technology-Driven Solutions

Artificial Intelligence (AI), algorithms, intelligent machines like robots seems to be the colleagues and co-workers of humans. Machines will work with their creators, as predicted by the shifting trajectory of the Future of Work. The human workforce will need to develop a level of comfort. And start learning to accept the automated procedures of the new age work culture.

The disruptive technology is continuously reimagining business, industries and markets. The role of technology is shifting to being a catalyst for transforming business models and strategies, rebuilding the expectations and delivery of technology, and thus blurring the lines between business and technology functions. The general workforce demographics and technology workforce, in particular, are being transformed by gig and contingent workers, global talent markets, multigenerational workforce and diverse expertise.

 Satish Alapati, CIO of Media & Entertainment Customer Experience at AT&T said, “Because of technological advances, technology’s role within the organization is itself shifting.” As believed by Deloitte, “Disruptions come in different forms—from competitors using technology at scale to the industrial Internet of Things,” says another technology leader. “As a result, it’s becoming more important than ever to enable everything we do with cutting-edge technology.”

The same report also added, “Yet despite the convergence of technology and business strategies, data from Deloitte’s 2018 Global CIO Survey suggests that CIOs and other technology leaders still struggle with a lingering perception of IT as order-taker rather than business-driver. Only 29 per cent of business leaders participating in the survey agree that the technology organization and its leaders should be deeply involved in developing enterprise business strategy.”

Automation, cloud, as a service technology tools, are accelerating and streamlining IT delivery, intertwining technology and business functions, and inculcating value addition in the whole process. When it comes to the risk of technology, cybersecurity gains the primary focus of technology leaders. The risks of security breach extend to not only the singular business organization or IT firm but also the factories, diverse workspaces, products, customer locations, sensitive information etc. Technology and business leaders should focus on business resilience, risks and disruptions that are a by-product of a combined business-technology strategy.

The shift in Work Culture

Forbes has aptly defined the work culture by asking three pertinent questions. “A company’s culture can be understood in the answers to three fundamental questions: 1) Why do you exist? (Mission) 2) How does the world look differently because you exist? (Vision) 3) What will and won’t you do to achieve your mission and fulfil your vision? (Values).”

As the pandemic is spreading with a speed faster than light, organizations are doubling down on cultures that embrace their commitment to humanity, often at the expense of production. For instance, the luxury brand LVMH Moet Hennessy is refitting several of its perfume productions and for manufacturing hand sanitizers, which is certainly the need of the hour.

L’Oreal, one of the world’s largest beauty product companies has shifted production capacity for producing hand sanitizers. The company is also freezing all the debts of small and medium-size business customers. And it has donated $1 million Euros for those who are disadvantaged during the outbreak. These examples show that the work cultures are strong and can function efficiently beyond the traditional business models if needed.

Several firms and organizations have redefined their work culture and business strategies. The organizations are extending their helping hands to their employees, motivating them effectively. For example, Capgemini has initiated measures which are benevolent for the employees of the organizations.

According to Venkat Neelakantan, Vice-President and Regional Head of CRES Asia-Pacific, Capgemini, “At Capgemini, our large global footprint and robust early warning system enabled us to move rapidly and take proactive measures to face the challenging situation. A crisis team was formed even before the lockdown, comprising different business and function heads with direct oversight from the CEO.”

Capgemini has recently set up a “Benevolent Fund” for standing by its employees at the need of the hour. “As part of this fund, a corpus of €25 million (₹200 crores) will be parked separately and the income generated from this corpus will be used towards health and safety areas for our Capgemini India colleagues and their families, should the need arise,” Venkat Neelakantan said.  

Scaling up the IT infrastructure, increasing internet bandwidth, strengthening VPN (Virtual Private Network) connectivity are some of the steps taken by several organizations like Capgemini. Thus organizations are geared for fostering efficient work from home culture.

Cybersecurity tools and software are installed for securing data privacy. The management and authority have to lend a reserve of trust towards their employees who are working remotely. There can be several challenges of remote working, but one can maintain agility by putting generous efforts from their sides. The remote work culture can certainly be titled as the Future of Work. This is driven by digitization, disruptive innovations and pandemic outbreak in recent times.

Wrap Up

We are passing the third moral test of the century. Firstly, the climate change, second income inequitably social polarization and third the outbreak of the contagion. The Future of Work is speeding up its processes judging the uncertainties of modern times. Automation, digitization, remote working, disruptive technological innovations are fuelling the steady transformation of the Future of Work. With the progress of the gig economy, the on-demand services and part-time employment structures are gaining momentum. The contemporary times are bringing unprecedented transformation. These changes are affecting not only the work sector but also the daily lives of the modern man.

2 thoughts on “Is The Future Of Work Changing? (Yes, It’s 3 Dimensional)”

  1. Dr S. K. Mazumdar

    Looking at the present situation , it is quite certain that we have to live with corona virus . So every activity related to bussines, technology and society need to change accordingly to align with the best practices possible . This is because the only constant thing in the Universe is change which is dynamic in nature.

  2. Absolutely agreed. The pandemic will be accompanying us for a long time it seems, disrupting everything on its way, the work, industries, market landscape, human lives….

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