The A to Z of the Future of Work

The A to Z of the Future of Work


No matter what your job title or paygrade, the future of work is a subject that affects us all. Advancements in technology are changing the fundamental nature of work, forcing us humans to rethink processes that have been set in stone for decades.

Some see the future of work as an unfolding crisis, defined by issues such as wide-scale automation, growing skills gaps, and job displacement. Others see it as a world of opportunity, where technology enables us to work in a way that is more engaging, productive, and enjoyable.

In truth, the future of work could be either of these visions – the story is not yet written. But the better prepared we are, both at an individual and organisational level, the more likely we are to build a future of work in which we all thrive.

To help you grasp some of the key themes, we’ve prepared a handy A to Z of the Future of Work.

A

Augmented Check-ins

In a world of constant change and instant communication, the need for regular feedback has never been greater. That’s why forward-thinking organisations are replacing the outdated annual appraisal with regular, ongoing performance check-ins – informal one-to-one conversations where managers and employees discuss everything from progress and goals to wellbeing and happiness.

Although check-ins are a fundamentally human activity, technology has the power to enhance the process, and this goes beyond simply scheduling and recording outcomes. Through a combination of AI and analytics, we will gain greater insights into what makes us tick at work, and what hinders our performance – information that employees can then take to check-ins and discuss with their managers.

Technology can even augment the human conversation, providing managers with ice-breakers and talking points based on relevant employee information.

Artificial intelligence (AI)

Intelligent chatbots have already given us a glimpse of AI’s potential to transform the employee and customer experience, but this is just the tip of the iceberg – AI is set to dominate the future of work, with Deloitte predicting that 85% of UK businesses will invest in AI by 2020.

Automation

As machines become more intelligent and adaptable, the scope of their abilities will grow. The future will likely see tasks automated at a faster rate than ever before. While some jobs will disappear completely, others will simply change, as machines augment human processes. Whether automation results in a technological utopia or dystopia largely depends on how policy makers and business leaders plan for an automated future.

For a closer look at the opportunities and risks associated with an automated future, check out our blog: Wide-Scale Automation – Catastrophe or Opportunity? 

Alliance Agreement

Changing attitudes to work will force us to rethink the relationship between employer and employee. The traditional parent-child dynamic, where the employer dictates the conditions of work, and the employee must accept them or move on, will be replaced with a more balanced, grown-up relationship – one that reflects the value that both parties bring to the table.

To rebalance the power in the workplace, we’ve created the Alliance Agreement – a blueprint for a new employer-employee relationship built around mutual trust and respect. For more information, check out this handy guide 

Agile

In the face of constant change, organisations will have to become more agile in the future of work. This will involve rethinking traditional organisational structures and modes of employment, and replacing them with more flexible and adaptable alternatives that allow organisations to react quickly and fluidly to change.

 

B

Blockchain 

There has been much discussion about the potential impact of blockchain, the technology behind cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. While some see it as a fad, others have compared its potential to that of the nascent internet.

Beyond cryptocurrencies, blockchain has the potential to revolutionise any process that involves the recording, verifying and tracking of data, and is already proving useful in recruitment and the creation of smart contracts. Through a combination of cryptographic techniques and a decentralised and collaborative approach to verification, it is virtually impossible for anyone to tamper with the information stored in a blockchain, ensuring a new level of accountability and transparency.

Bias

Unconscious bias is something we all have but by definition, cannot see. We may think we are tuned into notions of diversity and inclusion, but we still favour certain types of people over others. So how do we tackle something we cannot control? As with all things ‘future of work’, technology could be the answer. Through a combination of AI and data analytics, we will be able to make better, clearer, more impartial decisions, based on facts rather than preconceptions.

For a deeper dive into built-in bias and its effects on technology, check out our blog: Why Diversity in Tech Matters.

 

C

Company culture

As attitudes change, company culture will become even more critical in the future of work. Employees are now driven by more than just a paycheck – they want to work for an organisation that matches their own values and worldview. Younger generations are more concerned with social issues such as equality, diversity and the environment, and they seek out employers that live up to their expectations on these matters.

In the future of work, company culture will play an increasingly important role in uniting remote workers and virtual teams behind a single coherent vision. As fewer people work in traditional office spaces, companies that fail to outline their culture and values to a dispersed workforce risk a crisis of identity.

Chatbots

The chatbot revolution is already well underway, with digital helpers rapidly transforming the employee and customer experience. But the next few years will see an explosion in chatbot usage, with Gartner predicting that the average person will have more interactions with a bot than with their spouse by the year 2020.

Collaboration

An organisation’s biggest asset is its people. But to make the most of the combined knowledge, experience and expertise of their workforce, companies will need to create a culture of collaboration, where information flows freely between individuals, teams, and locations. Successful companies will make use of modern collaboration tools, allowing people to connect and collaborate no matter where they are based.

To read more about the link between collaboration and technology, read our blog: Workplace Collaboration Tools: How Effective Are They?

Connected workforce

As remote working and virtual teams become the norm, employers must maintain a level of connectivity between a physically disconnected workforce. 

In the future of work, we will rely heavily on social collaboration and engagement tools to unite dispersed teams. The challenge for employers will be to find tools that promote connectivity and productivity without adding more noise and distraction to people’s work lives.

 

D

Diversity

Closely related to ideas of fairness, equality and inclusion, diversity is now a critical issue in the modern workplace. But as well as being the right thing to do, diversity brings tangible benefits – according to research by McKinsey, diverse teams are more successful than homogenous ones.

This is hardly surprising: teams comprising people of different ages, stages, cultures and backgrounds are more likely to approach problems from various angles, leading to more creative outcomes.

The challenge for organisations is to create a workplace culture and environment that supports diversity in all its forms and embraces the differences between people. This means not only welcoming different ages, cultures and ethnicities, but also different personality types and ways of working.

For a closer look at the benefits of diverse teams, check out our blog: Is Diversity More Important than Ability?

 

Data

In Deloitte’s 2018 Global Human Capital Trends survey, 84% of respondents considered people analytics to be important or very important, making it the second-highest-ranking trend in terms of importance.

This trend will continue in the future of work, where technology will give us access to an ever-growing volume of data, helping us to understand the way employees work, and customers consume, like never before.

Successful organisations will leverage the power of data to provide tangible improvements to the employee experience while balancing concerns around privacy.

Digital assistant

Until recently, personal assistants were the preserve of those at the very top of the corporate ladder. In the future of work, however, each and every employee will have access to their very own personal digital assistant, there to answer questions, simplify processes, and manage their daily schedule. This will save time not only for individuals but also for managers and HR staff, allowing everyone to concentrate on more high-value work.

 

E

Employee engagement

Employee engagement could be described as the extent to which employees are absorbed in their work and committed to the goals and vision of the company. As engagement is intrinsically linked to productivity, wellbeing and retention, you could say it’s the holy grail for employers. But despite all the talk, we’re currently in the midst of an engagement crisis, with Gallup estimating that 87% of employees worldwide are not engaged at work.

In the future of work, technology will provide new and better ways of understanding individual performance and happiness, making it easier than ever to adopt a more personalised approach to work.

Environment

As technology breaks down old barriers around where and when we do our jobs, an increasing number of people are working remotely. This gives us an opportunity to rethink how communal workplaces are organised and designed.

Freed from the necessity to house large numbers of employees, forward-thinking organisations will harness the power of smart technology to provide new workspaces that promote collaboration, engagement, and productivity.

 

 

F

Flow

Devised by Hungarian psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, flow is that state of mind when you are completely absorbed in your work. When in flow, you lose track of time, the outside world falls away, and you produce bursts of high-quality work. This relates not only to productivity but also wellbeing – according to Csikszentmihalyi, we are at our happiest when in a state of flow.

But flow is not a given. To achieve it, employees must be engaged in work that is challenging but achievable, with clear goals, and in an environment free from external distractions. These conditions will be different for each employee; the challenge for employers will be to shape the conditions of work in a way that allows individuals to spend more time inflow. Technology and people analytics will play a central role in helping us to understand such conditions.

To discover the three things that need to exist to be in a state of flow, check out our guest blog by future of work influencer Jacob MorganWant to Feel Ecstasy at Work? Get into the Flow!

 

 

Flexibility

Thanks to modern technology, all most people need to do their jobs is a mobile phone, laptop, and a Wi-Fi connection. Despite this, many employees are still required to commute to work each day. In the future of work, flexibility will be an expectation, not a perk. Organisations that refuse to budge on this issue simply won’t be able to compete in the war for talent.

 

G

Gig economy 

While there has always been a market for freelance, pay-per-job work, recent years have seen an explosion in this so-called gig economy, thanks in part to app-based platforms such as Uber and Deliveroo. As younger generations reject the stability and predictability of a 9-to-5 job in favour of a more flexible and autonomous approach to career building, the gig economy looks set to expand further.

Employers should see this as an opportunity rather than an issue. In a world defined by constant change, dipping into the gig economy to meet temporary talent shortages will allow companies to adopt a more agile approach to talent management. Individuals will also benefit from the opportunity to take ownership of their skills and the direction of their work.

For a closer look at what the gig economy is, what it offers, and what it means for the future of work, read: The Gig Economy: the Good, the Bad and the Future.

 

Gamification

Gamification refers to the process of applying game elements to non-game processes. In the workplace, this means replacing outdated processes with ones that are fun, interactive and engaging, often with an element of competition or reward. As companies look for new ways to engage employees and increase productivity, gamified processes will become increasingly common, and more effective.

 

Growth Opportunities 

The future of work will bring plenty of opportunities for personal growth. As performance management takes a more personalised, hands-on approach, epitomised by the shift towards real-time feedback, we will have more opportunities to fine-tune our experience of work, and a better understanding of the skills we want to develop.

Indeed, as the nature of work changes, we will all have to get used to the idea of personal growth as a responsibility and necessity.

  

H

HR Technology

The future of work will be defined by the impact of technology, with HR technology harnessing the power of analytics, AI, machine learning, and augmented reality to deliver a seamless digital experience in the workplace. These technologies will allow for a shift away from the simple management of people and processes, to a more proactive approach that actively seeks to improve employee engagement, productivity and wellbeing at an individual level.

It is essential that companies ride the technological wave and embrace the coming changes – not only because of the inherent benefits they will bring, but for the simple fact that employees will expect as much. Companies that are slow to adopt new technologies will quickly find themselves left behind.

Humanness

As technology advances, we have an opportunity to move away from factory-style workplaces, where staff behave more like robots than actual people, and towards a more human approach. Machines will increasingly take over those dull, repetitive tasks that nobody likes, freeing us up to use those human abilities that are notoriously difficult to automate: decision making, critical thinking, empathy, creativity, etc. It is these skills that will be in high demand in the future of work.

Hybrid workforce

In more stable times, organisations were keen to fill their ranks with full-time employees, with a focus on long-term stability. All this is now changing. Technology has opened the door to a world of alternative employment arrangements, and as a result, freelance and contract work are viable options for a growing number of people.

In the face of constant disruption, organisations will have to take a more agile approach to workforce planning, relying on a so-called hybrid workforce of regular employees, contractors, and freelance workers to meet future business objectives.

 

I

Internet of Things (IoT)

The IoT is the term given to the connection of everyday objects to the internet, allowing for a greater level of connectivity between devices, as well the potential to gather and use data on a grander scale. While workplaces have been slow to adopt the IoT, connectivity and data gathering will play an increasingly important role in the future of work.

Imagine a workplace where not only laptops and phones are connected to the internet, but also office furniture, lighting, and heating. Through the IoT, such a workplace becomes a smart environment, where conditions can be adjusted for maximum productivity. Workspaces would adapt to an individual’s preferences, bringing a new level of personalisation to the office environment.

Identity

Our jobs are much more than a means to an end. The work we do is tied up with notions about responsibility, creativity, success, status, and power – indeed, what we do for a living plays a central role in defining our identity, whether we like it or not.

In a future where machines replace many humans in the workplace, we will be faced with interesting but challenging questions around our identity and sense of self-worth.

J

Job crafting

When we impose conditions on employees, we limit their ability to work at their best. We ask them to adapt to the job, rather than the other way round, resulting in disengagement and poor results. In reaction to this, forward-thinking companies are taking a completely different approach and allowing employees to shape their jobs to better suit their skills, preferences, and working styles – a process known as job crafting.

By allowing employees the freedom and autonomy to adjust the way they work, and even the type of tasks they focus on, their work naturally becomes more meaningful and engaging. Job crafting can be seen as part of the wider movement towards a more personalised approach to work, which will be a prominent feature in the future of work.

Job titles and descriptions

Job titles and descriptions hark back to a time when work was relatively stable. People were employed because of a particular business need, and there was little expectation that that need would change. If an employee had skills beyond the scope of their work, they were never fully realised. Today, work is constantly changing, as is the requirement for certain skills. As such, the roles we play in the future of work should become more fluid and less limiting, which may render job titles and descriptions obsolete.

 

K

Knowledge management

As the old saying goes, knowledge is power. And the way an organisation creates, stores, shares and uses information – known as knowledge management – is critical to its long-term success. The future of work will pose new problems in this regard, as employers will no longer be able to rely on an office-based workforce. But technology will make it easier than ever for information to flow freely between individuals, teams and departments, regardless of where they are based.

Key performance indicators (KPIs)

KPIs set measurable goals for individuals, teams and departments. Naturally, they are limited to the activities that we can actually measure. Until recently, this meant that the scope of KPIs included only easily quantifiable outcomes, such as sales figures.

In the future of work, data analytics will provide a new level of insight into performance, helping us to measure and track intangible factors such as motivation, happiness and stress. As a result, future KPIs may focus more on wellbeing and engagement than traditional output.

 

L

Leadership 

Given the uncertainty associated with the future of work, strong leadership will be more important than ever. In many cases, employees will look to business leaders for guidance as concerns around automation and job displacement grow. Business leaders, along with policymakers, will play a key role in ensuring that the workforce of today is prepared to become the workforce of tomorrow. 

Tomorrow’s successful leaders will oversee the upskilling of workers on an industrial scale, the seamless adoption of new technologies, and a transition towards new, more flexible and agile working practices. 

As businesses adopt flatter organisational structures, the dynamics of leadership will change. Instead of looking to a select few at the top of the business hierarchy, organisations will take on a more collective approach to leadership. 

Learning and development

Learning and development will take on a whole new importance in the future of work. As more and more tasks are automated, employees will have to adopt an attitude of lifelong learning in order to stay relevant in an ever-changing world. Technologies such as AI and chatbots will make this process easier, bringing a personalised, just-in-time approach to learning and development.

For a detailed look at social learning, check out our blog: Social Learning: How to Create a Culture of Learning.

 

M

Mental health

According to mental health charity Mind, one in four people experience a mental health illness in any given year. In many cases, the workplace can aggravate or even cause such problems to arise. Despite an upturn in discussion, most employees still consider mental health to be a taboo subject, and would rather suffer in silence than open up.

For this to change, organisations must take the lead through education and training, to ensure that managers are equipped with the skills to broach sensitive personal issues with their team members. What’s required is a complete cultural change to the way we perceive, and deal with, mental health, and a willingness to adapt work to fit the individual needs of employees. In the future of work, technology will help us better understand the connection between what we do and how we feel, helping us to approach work in a way more conducive to good mental health.

For more information on how to shift attitudes towards mental health and create an environment where people can discuss issues openly, check out our blog: Mental Health: How to Break the Workplace Stigma

Management

Our ideas and expectations around management are changing. Where the role of manager once involved hiring and firing, disciplining poor performance, and keeping people in line, we now expect a more human approach to people management. We currently have an abundance of technically skilled line managers, but not enough are trained as people managers.

In the future of work, managers will double up as coaches and mentors, and will play an active role in the development of their team through regular, ongoing feedback and support. As such, they will need to be adept at the human side of management. 

Mentorship

Mentoring is a win-win situation. For the mentee, it’s a chance to bounce ideas off someone who has been there and done it, ultimately giving them the confidence to realise their own potential. For the mentor, it’s a chance to give something back, and pass on the knowledge they have learnt along the way. From the organisational perspective, this ensures that knowledge and expertise is made available to those that need it, and creates a culture of personal growth and development.

Millennials 

The millennial generation, that is those born between the early 80s and mid-90s, will become the dominant force in the workplace over the coming years. Millennials aren’t afraid of change and value flexibility and autonomy over long-term stability. They also demand regular feedback, human relationships, meaningful work, and diversity.

As they move into positions of power, attitudes and approaches to work will change to reflect these characteristics.

 

N

Networking

The rise of LinkedIn and other social networks has already redefined the way we connect and interact with professional contacts, and has helped us to define, maintain and grow our own personal brands in the public sphere.

As more and more people choose to forge careers in the gig economy, professional networking will play an even more central role in defining personal success.

Natural language processing (NLP)

NLP is a subfield of AI that deals with the ability of computers to understand human language.

Breakthroughs in NLP are making it easier than ever for humans to interact with technology on a natural level, using speech or text – as seen with the rise of chatbots, and smart assistants such as Siri and Alexa. This has the potential to revolutionise the workplace, making processes simpler and quicker than ever before.

 

O

Organisational structure

In reaction to technological disruption and changing attitudes to work, some businesses are experimenting with new organisational structures, moving away from traditional top-down hierarchies, where a few people hold all the power, towards flatter, non-hierarchical structures, where power is shared more evenly. In the future of work, this new model could become the norm.

In organisations that adopt such models, decision-making responsibilities are spread more evenly across teams, giving each employee a greater stake in the direction of the business. This new-found autonomy and self-determination ultimately makes work more meaningful and engaging, and does away with regressive notions of subordination and authority.

To read more about flatter organisational structures and the potential impact on the role of manager, check out our blog: Rethinking the Organisational Structure 

 

Ownership

In order to find our jobs meaningful and engaging, we need to feel that we have a say in the direction of our work. Despite this, a lack of ownership is prevalent in many organisations today, where employees are told by someone else what to do, and how and where to do it. To ensure that the future of work is a more engaging place, organisations and managers must trust their employees to make decisions and take charge of their work, rather than instructing them from above.

 

Productivity

Along with employee engagement, productivity is one of the biggest issues facing business today.

In fact, the two are so inextricably linked that they could be considered part of the same problem – after all, engaged employees are more productive. But as with engagement, businesses have failed to fix the productivity issue so far.

This is an issue that not only affects the average worker, but also those at the very top, with CEOs estimated to spend up to 70% of their work day sub-optimally.

Technology has a big role to play here. Until now, the sheer array of different systems, platforms and apps has led to a workplace environment fraught with distraction. Despite promising to make life easier, technology has made it more complicated.

The future of work will be defined by a new breed of workplace tech, powered by AI, machine learning, and people analytics, enabling us to spend more time doing better work.

People

Work has always been about people. But for too long, companies have seen people as a mere resource – a way of achieving a business outcome. No wonder so many people are disengaged in the workplace. The future of work will see us move away from a one-size-fits-all approach to work and towards one that embraces the individual, human nature of work. After all, if we put people first, engagement and productivity with follow.

[Design guidance: include #PeopleFirst in the bottom right hand corner of the page]

Privacy

As the world becomes more connected, and companies rely further on data to drive the decision-making process, concerns around privacy will continue to grow.

In the future of work, companies must find a balance between harnessing the power of data analytics and smart technology, while retaining the trust and consent of their employees.

The best way to do this is to ensure that data is used to improve the employee experience, rather than as a form of surveillance and control.

 

Q

Quality management 

Quality management seeks to improve the efficiency, sustainability, and quality of processes, ultimately leading to greater customer satisfaction.

In the future of work, automation and AI will allow us to streamline processes, and understand systemic inefficiencies and inadequacies, like never before.

One of the tenets of total quality management (TQM) is that each individual employee is actively engaged in bringing about a better service or product for the end user. As technology improves access to information, training, and our understanding of individual factors that play into productivity and engagement, employees will be better equipped to deliver this than ever before.

 

R

Recognition

The psychology of recognition is clear. When our efforts are formally recognised by our peers, we gain motivation, self-belief, and a feeling of belonging.

Likewise, by having the opportunity to recognise others, we can officially register our appreciation, and build stronger bonds with our colleagues.

In the future of work, HR tech will make it easier than ever to give and receive recognition.

Remote working

Once considered a perk, remote working will be an expectation in the future of work.

Rather than fearing this change, companies should embrace it – after all, research shows that remote workers are not only happier but also more productive.

The challenge for companies will be to instil a sense of community and belonging among remote teams, which they will manage through a combination of workplace collaboration tools and a strong corporate culture.

For more information on the benefits of remote working, check out our blog: Why it’s Time to Embrace Remote Working 

 

Recruitment

Getting recruitment right has always been crucial to success, and this will remain so in the future of work. What will change is our approach to attracting, recruiting and retaining talent.

Technologies such as artificial intelligence, chatbots and augmented reality will revolutionise the way we find, contact, and communicate with candidates.

As intangible factors such as meaning and purpose become more important to the workforce, employers will have to think long and hard about what they can offer new recruits beyond a decent paycheck.

 

S

Social

As the influence of millennials and Gen Z grows, social media will continue to play a central role in marketing, recruitment, and internal communications.

On top of this, the rise of the gig economy and the slow shift towards freelance work will see social media play an even greater role in personal brand building and networking.

Work is essentially a social activity, and companies that tap into our innate sociability will reap the rewards in the future of work.

Future-focussed HR tech will harness the power of social media to create powerful collaboration and communication tools, helping to unite remote workers and virtual teams behind a strong company culture.

Self-directed learning

In the past, most in-job training programmes were thrust upon us, whether we liked it or not. Employees were trained en masse, with little consideration given to their individual needs. But in reality, each employee has their own specific learning requirements.

Self-directed learning allows employees to take ownership of their own development, identifying and closing skills gaps as they discover them. Not only does this lead to better learning outcomes, but more engaged and focussed employees.

 

Talent management

In the future of work, a combination of technological disruption and changing attitudes will force companies to rethink their talent management strategies.

In recruitment and retention, companies will have to treat employees like customers, and approach the employer-employee relationship in a more collaborative, open-spirited way.

As more people choose the freedom of freelance work over the predictability of full-time work, businesses will have to learn how to make the most of a hybrid workforce. The challenge for employers will be to maintain a strong brand identity among this more fluid and transitory group of people, and to retain a long-term talent pool to meet the demands of a more agile business model.

People management will play an increasingly important role, as people, regardless of their work status, will expect regular feedback, continuous learning and development, and real, human relationships with managers.  

Technology

Technology will be the defining factor in shaping the future of work. But despite our understandable concerns, it has the potential to improve our experience of work, helping us to better understand the conditions we need in order to be engaged and productive.

Technology has the potential to make work a more human experience – the key is to make it work for us, not against us.

Transparency 

As gender pay gap reporting has already shown, there is a growing hunger for greater transparency in the workplace.

This is unsurprising, as transparency is closely related to notions of trust, openness and fairness. But transparency goes beyond information about pay, and covers access to information in general.

For employees to find meaning in their work, there needs to be a level of transparency around the wider goals and direction of the business.

 

Universal basic income (UBI)

While automation is nothing new, development in AI and robotics could see jobs automated on an unprecedented scale in the not-too-distant future.

In this scenario, jobs would disappear at a faster rate than they are created, leaving a growing proportion of the population not only unemployed, but unemployable. In a society where work equals pay, how would we survive?

One such idea is UBI, which sees every citizen receive the same amount of money, regardless of whether they are in work or not. This amount would be enough to live on in the event of unemployment, but not enough to promote a life of leisure.

Rather, the idea is that UBI would allow people to take more professional risks, and become more entrepreneurial in their approach to work, while creating the option of a better work-life balance.

 

V

Virtual reality (VR)

Once the preserve of science-fiction books, VR kits are now available to buy on your local high street.

VR usage is currently predominantly used in the gaming sector, but it’s only a matter of time until it is used in the workplace. And while VR may seem like a gimmick to some, there are several ways that it could revolutionise the way we work.

Take virtual working environments, for example. Mobile technology has driven the shift towards remote working, but for all the benefits of a home office, the physical disconnection between remote workers can cause some to feel cut off.

VR has the potential to unite remote workers in a virtual space, taking meetings and conferences to the next level. There is also real-world application in areas such as training and recruitment.

 

W

Wellbeing

The connection between employee wellbeing, engagement and performance is clear for all to see. The better we look after ourselves, the more likely we are to feel motivated and energised by our work. Despite this fact, employee wellbeing has only really become a central issue in recent times.

In the future of work, the focus on wellbeing will be even greater, driven in part by employee attitudes and expectations.

A combination of AI-driven technologies and people analytics will give us greater insights into the conditions that contribute to wellbeing in the workplace, allowing us to tackle it at an individual level.

Work-life balance

Despite advancements in technology, the promise of a better work-life balance has failed to materialise. If anything, technology has served to blur the lines between work and leisure, creating the ‘always-on’ culture that sees us checking work emails over the weekend. What the future holds remains to be seen, but as technology makes remote and freelance work easier than ever, more and more people will look to fit their work around their lives, rather than the other way round.

Workplace

 

X

X factor 

As jobs become more and more specialised, we will have to work harder to differentiate ourselves from the crowd. Instead of hiring more cookie-cutter candidates, organisations will look for individuals with a certain X factor.

The future of work will see both technical and human skills in high demand. The former will be necessary in the growing tech sector, and the ability to code could be as fundamental a skill as reading or writing is today. Human skills, such as decision-making, leadership, and critical thinking, will also be sought after, simply because these are very difficult to automate. If you excel in one of these areas, you will have a good chance of success in the future of work.

 

Employee experience

In a world where talent is in short supply, the balance of power has swung towards the employee. Individuals now approach employment like they do any other consumer decision – if you aren’t providing what they want, they’ll move on to an employer that will. In the future of work, organisations will have to work harder to recruit and retain employees.

Successful companies will focus on providing an excellent employee experience, from recruitment through to off-boarding, and everything in between.

 

Y

You

With so much talk about technological advancements and changing business structures, it’s easy to forget that the future of work is also about you. The nature of work is changing, yes, but you should see yourself as a central part of that change.

If anything, the future of work will bring opportunities that simply weren’t possible a few years ago – the freedom to work remotely, to build your own brand, to treat your career as a journey of discovery. What the future of work mean to you will largely depend on how you approach it. So, over to you!

 

Z

Generation Z

Gen Z, or those born after the mid-90s, are the first generation to grow up in the age of the internet, smart devices, and social media.

Unlike millennials, they cannot hark back to a simpler time before these innovations changed the way we live and work, making them less able to understand the impact they have had on our lives. As a result, Gen Z are more likely to embrace game-changing technologies that arise in the future, without nostalgia or sentimentality.

On top of this, Gen Z will have less connection with, and experience of, traditional office-based, 9-5 work practices.

For Gen Z, remote working, flatter organisational structures, and transient employment will be considered something normal, not novel.

 

At People First, we’re determined to make the future of work a place where we can all thrive. That’s why we’ve built a complete HR platform that enables a better way of working for everyone. Through a combination of AI, bot technology, and people analytics, People First is designed to tackle the issues of employee engagement and productivity head on.