Are You Ready For The New World Of Work?
We’ve all witnessed how the world changed around us in the past 20 months or so, and the frantic speed we had to adapt with it to continue managing our affairs in the best possible ways. This was surely not easy, but as we know, progress is impossible without change, and if we don’t change, we don’t grow; and if we don’t grow, we cease to live.
Those remarkable circumstances called for extraordinary responses. Ever since many facets of our lives have transformed significantly; the way we learn, the way we shop, the way we spend our leisure time, and most prominently, the way we work. In this article, I’m going to shed light on the 3 key highlights of the new world of work and how these call for both companies and professionals to change their outdated game plans and prepare themselves to become more competitive and fit for the new future of work.
- The Future Arrangement of Work
We’ve all experienced a major shift in the way we started working since March 2020. Remote, Virtual, and Hybrid are 3 buzzwords characterizing the reality of our work-life today. Many organizations and workers are currently in favor of hybrid work structures to get the best of both worlds.
It’s expected that remote work and virtual meetings are likely to continue even after the pandemic is over, as many organizations, as well as individuals, reported more efficiency in time, cost, efforts, and outcome when certain tasks were done remotely without the need to commute. As a result, many organizations started thinking seriously about granting their employees flexible working arrangements and place great importance on results-driven performance management, being the most accurate way to measure productivity for remote and virtual work assignments.
In the same context, around 278 executives told McKinsey during a survey conducted in August 2020, that they are planning to reduce office space by 30% on average. For companies, this will surely bring about some definitive adjustments in cost and focus of doing business. As for individual workers, this will open doors for other possibilities like having parallel career paths, investing quality family time, fulfilling parental duties, and dedicating more time for education or leisure to name a few.
Nevertheless, regardless of the many amazing advantages of remote and virtual work, it’s not all rainbows and unicorns! Overworking, conflicting priorities, constant interruptions, loneliness & lack of social interactions, communication issues, technology hiccups, and bad health habits are all logical consequences to this new approach of how work is being done these days.
Like any other thing in life, practice makes perfect, and the more we get used to this new way of working with all its good and bad sides, the more we learn how to master it and make the most of it. This of course means that we – as businesses and individuals – need to constantly adapt to the continuous changes coming our way in the way we work.
- Learning & Talent Management
The focus in future jobs will revolve around a lifelong learning mindset, and the main criteria for sourcing talent will not be fixated on “Experience” as the practice has mostly been. Companies need to adopt a more agile and holistic approach when it comes to their basis for sourcing and selecting the best person for the job. This is because the future workforce will care less about employment stability and long-term loyalty and will be more characterized by job-hopping, active learning, innovative thinking, and continuous talent development to stay relevant in such a fast-paced world.
Since the new terms of the psychological contract between employees and employers are becoming more volatile, ambiguous, and unpredictable, the key defining factor in this relationship moving forward will be: “What’s in it for me?” for both ends.
Employers need to focus on harnessing a quality work environment and providing a culture conducive to learning, experimentation, and support for making mistakes at the same time for the sake of learning. Highly talented people thrive on challenges and enjoy taking initiatives and implementing original solutions for highly complex organizational problems, and thus having rigid policies or tyrant leaders in place would be a huge disadvantage to the survival of any business in the future and a primary source for talent departure.
Equally so, it’s important for individual job seekers, to keep their eyes on these evolving trends in the job market and understand how this new approach to continuous learning and embracing a more creative mindset about how they carry out their day-to-day work can impact their employability and competitiveness in this new age and time.
So, It’s very clear that in the world of tomorrow, the degree of learning capability, as well as the level of innovation, will be the focal point that determines the attractiveness of both companies and professionals for each other and the key to the survival of all. As Alvin Tofler rightly said: “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write; but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn”.
- Wellbeing, Stress Management, and Finding Meaning
After more than 20 months of uncertainty, stress, and constant adaptation to the ever-changing job requirements, many workers became more aware of what they want and what they won’t tolerate. This was the most prominent finding of “The Great Resignation” Workhuman’s fall 2021 international survey, which highlighted three areas of opportunity for organizations to attract new talent and high caliber professionals as well as increase their retention rates by improving their management practices and company culture. This can be achieved by having better communication, providing greater psychological safety, and running more employee recognition and wellbeing schemes in the business.
Furthermore, building on the above, it’s very important to create more meaningful working goals and assignments that help employees find meaning and fulfillment at work. This can be achieved for instance by providing counseling, coaching, and mentoring that will direct them and enable them to capitalize on their existing talents and skills and thus, view their work as a vehicle to live their core values to serve a bigger purpose in life.
Of course, this would also mean having more flexibility and better work-life integration, as 30% of people planning to leave their employers cited: “I want more flexibility” as their primary reason for leaving. The same survey has shown that a key driver of resignations has been people questioning their lifelong habit of putting work first. It seems that the pandemic has made people more thoughtful of their negative working patterns and gave them the courage to demand more respect for their efforts and more power to control their work and home lives.
We will see concepts like career breaks, part-time, long weekends, flexible working arrangements could be common emerging themes, rather a requirement that many organizations need to cater to during their organizational design process to be able to keep up with the arising needs of the future workforce.
To sum up, both companies and individuals must familiarize themselves with new trends in the world of work, level up their mindset, and devise corresponding strategies to sustain competitive advantage in such a rapidly changing world.
As Osho once said, the greatest courage is being capable of change because without this pivotal ability we will be surely destined to perish. We all must agree that change is an inevitable part of life and if we stay faithful and do our part right, things will mostly turn out to be for our advantage and continue evolving with time for the greater benefit of humanity as a whole.
By Mona AlHebsi, Hotelier, HR Expert, and Success Coach.