To say that the pandemic is reshaping work culture is an understatement. Offices are either downsizing or disappearing. From campaigning for flexible working hours to four-day work weeks, the world is suddenly forced to adopt a ‘work from home’ model with the rapid spread of the coronavirus. Twitter has announced that employees will be allowed to work from home ‘forever’. Whether it is temporary or permanent, one thing is for sure: the pre-Covid office as we know it will be gone.
What’s next then? Suddenly, the concept of remote working doesn’t seem so remote after all. The resistance that companies had towards employees working away from the office is crumbling, and many are now beginning to realise that the unprecedented global experiment of remote working is actually possible. As companies look into preemptive measures towards the future of work, it is hard to ignore predictions surrounding the most important element of the workforce - the people. Are full-time employees going to disappear altogether with office spaces? Will organizational structures flatten even more? Is the gig economy going to boom even further?
The biggest question will be: What can companies do right now to future-proof their businesses? To address this, we’ve rounded up some of the pertinent trends coming our way, and how to smooth the transition moving forward.
More than ever, organizations are seeking new technologies to replicate real office environments as closely as possible and bridge geographically dispersed employees. Technologies that enable social workplace activities, creative collaboration and increased productivity are proliferating and met with soaring demand. As workspaces and meetings move online and workflows go digital, companies are seeing increased efficiencies and cost savings from reduced travel expenses. Digital readiness will benefit businesses and give them an edge to compete in tough times.
By 2025, 75% of the workforce is estimated to be Millennials. Millennials crave feedback and societal contribution in their work and want to feel more as partners rather than employees in an organization. In fact, they have no qualms about leaving the traditional 9-5 work life to seek self-employment. Millennials aren’t your traditional full-timers. Rather, they are crusaders of purpose-driven work and will take on meaningful projects in their careers. Millennials prefer flexible working arrangements and the ability to work remotely on different projects.
Amidst the chaos of the pandemic, the world is discovering that employees can contribute and collaborate effectively, even when working remotely. Once seen as an exclusive employment benefit for a select few, remote working is no longer a perk but a norm. For forward-thinking companies, this flexibility should be built into any hiring role to attract good talents.
As companies let go of middle management for a flatter organization and to stay afloat, many of these retrenched specialists will enter the gig economy in search of both short and long term work. In fact, these former full-timers with a plethora of skills and work experiences will evolve to become ‘freelance-specialists’, and businesses should take note.
As offices become less populated, regular full-timers may have to accept effort-based wages similar to gig professionals. This trend is likely to grow as the world gravitates towards remote working and the gig industry. A monthly remuneration could likely be replaced with an effort-based, project-rate salary calculation. As more professionals enter the gig economy, it is also imaginable that a worker will take on work from several firms at the same time, across geographical distances.
Companies will not be willing to pay high real estate costs when employees are not using the office 5 days a week. Remote working becomes a reality. The workforce will predominantly be a hybrid talent mix of skilled specialists extending their expertise to various companies all at the same time.
The light will be on gig services and talent agencies offering on-demand expertise from a global labor pool. Furthermore, the evolving Covid-19 situation will almost definitely trigger anomalous business needs. This uncertainty regarding the pandemic will lead companies to seek labour alternatives such as freelancers with niche skills to fulfill short-term projects. The only way to future proof the organization is to have digital readiness, forward thinking leadership and an agile workforce that is on-demand, mobile and highly flexible.
There’s a better way to grow. And it’s not the traditional way.
It’s about rethinking traditional employment archetypes. Can we progress from an economy built on full time employment habitually enslaved by unemployment fears, to one where individuals have greater autonomy and are self motivated to do work that inspires them? And as a result, benefit the economy as a whole?
You can’t own full time employees. But you can build a winning team with talent management companies. As businesses demand more, external talents are emerging as the sure forerunners of an agile workforce. At Chance Upon, we partner businesses to get a head start over competition by creating collaborative work between companies and the right talents.
Shivraj Rajendran, Most employees keen to continue working from home after Covid-19 circuit breaker: Survey (29 Apr 2020)
Kari Paul, Twitter has announced that employees will be allowed to work from home ‘forever’ (12 May 2020)
Angelique Parungao, The future of remote work after COVID-19: 3 common predictions (14 Aug 2020)
Santhosh Viswanathan, Commentary: COVID-19 is reshaping what work looks like (27 Apr 2020)
Sarote Tabcum Jr. The Sharing Economy Is Still Growing, And Businesses Should Take Note (4 Mar 2019)
Rahul Dé & Ritu Tripathi, Future of work: Post-pandemic workplace scenarios (1 Jun 2020)