Yes, the times are a-changing, to say the least. Part of this is unsurprising to us, the idea of a world evolving at an accelerated pace is something we have all predicted, but recent events have obviously thrown everything into a frenzy trying to predict and prepare for the future of work that waits for us on the other side of this.
Because of the uncertainty we continue to face, everyone seems to have a different opinion of what the future may hold for our workplaces. With that in mind, I thought I would share some of my thoughts and raise some questions for a discussion that may ultimately help us shape our work in the future.
What the future of work may look like:
A learning culture will be more important than ever.
Professionals will be increasingly evaluated by their ability to learn over what they appear to already know. Subsequently, companies will be increasingly be evaluated by talent based on their ability to provide those learning opportunities. This trend pre-dates COVID-19 but is exacerbated by it. The challenges of this chapter have emphasized our abilities to learn and adapt through challenges. Additionally, Millennials and Gen-Z professionals will be emphasizing learning opportunities for their long-term career paths even more than ever (if that is even possible).
Could some of us be more unhappy?
Yes, happier workplaces are better no one will ever argue that. While there are several ingredients that make up happy workplaces, one that may be neglected is the personal interactions and connections many of us relied on. So, will a transition to more virtual work in the long-term play a negative role in putting up more silos between us?
Workplaces will be much more flexible.
The shift to the ‘new normal’ has accelerated a much overdue need for more flexible future workplace conditions. Embracing flexible work conditions will allow us to survive in the short term, and will allow workplaces to be more inclusive in the future (especially for women and single parents).
At what rate will we continue to work virtually?
If this transition to working virtually has proven one thing about the old way of doing work, it’s that some meetings really could have been an email. Jokes aside, it will be interesting to see which aspects of our ‘new normal’ will persist in the future of work. It will also be important to monitor how these persisting changes impact employee engagement, career advancement, and business bottom-lines.
Will some people inadvertently be left behind?
While I do think a transition to flexible work will benefit many, some have (rightfully) cautioned that this new way of work may inadvertently leave some behind especially those with learning and/or physical disabilities. The road to recovery will be an “all hands on deck” experience and we must ensure we are prepared to elevate everyone to new heights to come out of this chapter better than ever.
Supporting our workforces even if we can’t be there physically.
Professional development and talent management efforts need to transition and be adaptable at scale more than ever. This is only augmented when faced with workplaces that will be increasingly decentralized. The future of work will only go to the heights that people take it. With this in mind, I believe our reliance on technology for talent management and professional skills development will only increase.
Trust will govern success in trying times and better times.
Like with flexible work, the trending need/demand for trust and transparency will accelerate through these times and beyond. One thing that will fuel success or failure for many organizations, is their ability to mitigate uncertainty and unrest in their workforce (to the best of their ability at least). By being truthful and communicating transparently to their workforce, organizations are at least playing a role in empowering their people to channel resilience through this chapter.
So, what do you think? What will the future of work look like? Do you agree with any of these predictions? What challenges must we be prepared to address? How can we prepare ourselves as individuals to elevate ourselves and others to build a better tomorrow? Let us know your thoughts and subscribe to our newsletter to join future conversations (if you haven’t already).