As the vaccination rollout brings some relief to restrictions, it is time to start thinking about how the world of work should move forward. While the pandemic forced the adoption of new ways of working, some valuable lessons have been learnt. These lessons should feed into new strategies that continue long after the crisis subsides. In reality, the workforce, the workplace and work itself will never be the same again.
According to Paul Bouchier, Sales Director at iOCO, within iOCO Software Distribution, an Infor Gold Partner, there are three concepts to consider in preparing organisations for the future. “The keys to success in this new world of work are automation, adaption, and actualisation.”
When considering automation, Bouchier suggests replacing people with technology. “This may sound controversial and even counter-intuitive. Most people have taken a protectionist stance regarding the perceived destruction of jobs by technology. But the Future of Jobs Report from the World Economic Forum predicts that technology will actually create 58 million more jobs than it destroys, which suggests that avoiding automation would hold people back from new opportunities,” he adds.
The work that automation and technology replace tends to be the rote tasks that most people don’t find engaging or fulfilling. The outcome of the pandemic-inspired collaboration between people and technology is a more efficient and productive organisation, and more satisfied employees who can focus on meaningful work.
To adapt, it becomes essential to stop managing people. “People will fulfill their virtually unlimited potential to perform when management trusts them to do so and empowers them with the right tools. The old-school, command-and-control model of management isn’t up to the rigours of the remote work model. It depends too much on strictly defined roles and outdated assumptions about workers’ discipline, motivation, and commitment. Instead, businesses have discovered that providing their people access to the data, tools, and technologies to work remotely and giving them the opportunity to contribute outside of their assigned job duties can help the entire organisation be more flexible and innovative.”
Thirdly, it’s time to actualise by redefining work-life balance. “Despite working remotely – with all the flexibility it affords – studies show that people still found it difficult to juggle their competing responsibilities. The new paradigm erased the line between home life and work life. If a significant portion of work can now be done anytime, anywhere, by almost anyone, employers and governments will need to rethink how to support this more fluid model. Work-life balance has turned into work-life integration,” concludes Bouchier.