The monumental shifts put in motion by the outbreak of Covid-19 has signaled the beginning of a new epoch. According to Weforum, the collective consciousness of the global population now considers time markers as “Before Corona” and awaits “Anno Remedio”.
As the world is on a collective mission to “build back better” new things are being adopted and new ways of working are emerging progressively. Weforum suggests that the following four changes in the ways of working will be necessary by 2025.
- “Remotopia” – Remote working will become mainstream
Pre-Covid, approximately about 5% of knowledge workers used to work remotely, but post-Covid, over 50% of the world’s knowledge workers are working from home. In the wake of the pandemic several trendsetting global companies like Google, Facebook, Shopify, PayPal, Siemens, etc. have declared embracing remote working policies permanently or for long-term.
For making remote work model effective, employees need to master new ways of collaborating and thinking – such as enhancing soft skills like relatability, empathy, communication and flexibility. Several studies point out that people working remotely work longer hours in a day and are more productive in comparison with in-office staff.
Moreover, with remote work model, recruiters can choose to employ the right candidate from a distant geography or even gain access to the disabled or elderly talent pool. These dynamics are expected to place the HR department of a company under the spotlight.
- Emergence of a potential “Green Collar”
As the impending climate change crisis gets closer and graver, policies and measures for climate change mitigation will increase giving rise to new business opportunities. For instance, Electric Vehicles or EVs are expected to break even with combustion engine vehicles, in terms of price, by 2024. Several premiere companies like Amazon and Uber have already set goals to electrifying their fleet, signaling the increasing significance of the green economy.
New technologies and regulations will change the ways of conducting business, necessitating worker evolution or upgradation. The emergence of green collar jobs will create new jobs and can be a way out for many workers who lose their jobs due to automation and new policy adoption around commercial carbon cuts.
As digital transformation accelerates further, so will changes in sustainability policies and practices. In an endeavor to become a green business, companies will need green collar workers who will possess tech-skills and domain specific business processes that are environment friendly. Green collar jobs will include a vast range of professionals including solar installation experts to ESG Directors who will be responsible for managing a company’s climate change mitigation efforts.
- Evolution of the “Gig Economy”
Employees of all levels, be it a manager, frontline worker or a COO will be hired virtually, and work remotely for shorter periods like 6 months and yet prove to be more effective than earlier. Several platforms offering on-demand labor are already proving to be very useful to companies who want to hire for short term and virtual connectivity enabling platforms are allowing smooth coordination between a fragmented workforce. The outlook towards freelancing will change from a “last resort” to elements of agility and flexibility for companies.
Embracing the “Gig Economy” will be beneficial for both the parties, however, companies would need to make sure they adopt the right tools to transition towards a just platform that is less exploitative in nature and practice accountability and transparency.
- Workforce augmentation by AI and Automation
Much speculation has taken place around uptake of advanced technologies like AI, automation and robotics since the Fourth Industrial Revolution kicked in. However, it is clear that technology will not lower the importance of knowledge workers or creative professionals. In most of the scenarios, machines will augment the jobs of humans, making way for a new era of work where man and machine will work together for the betterment of mankind.
Machines will eliminate a large number of manual labor jobs but in many cases, it will make peoples’ jobs easier. For instance, rise of automation will not lower the demand for truck drivers but make their jobs easier. New jobs roles will be created at the intersection of machine efficiency and human creativity, to drive man-machine teams effectively.
Covid-19 pandemic marks a watershed moment that will redesign the future of work in the coming years and businesses best prepared with an action plan to adapt the change will be a step ahead in the race of the future.