Baptista Sarah Gebu on Future of Work Capsules … Some new normal to expect (2)


Last week’s feature introduced some new normal to expect for the future of work including;

  1. Working from home and not in offices.
  2. Need for ‘Hybrid leaders’ in high demand.
  3. Working with an organization with purpose
  4. Management of the ‘always on’ culture caused by technology
  5. The concept of a job for life won’t exist. 
  6. Greater immunity for the human systems
  7. Effective systems and structure
  8. Expectation of lifelong growth

There is a paradigm shift occurring in the world of work. The business world is rethinking its definition of productivity as many employers move away from the traditional rational that productivity is dependent upon set hours within an office environment. The new normal is here and gradually becoming the order of the day. Covid-19 has found great ways of making the world’s economies think of what quick adjustment can be made in the world of business.

Can there be new ways to helping reduce the commuter traffic? How about options to ensuring social distancing measures are carefully being put in place? We can make efforts to deliberately promote employee-work-life balance during this new normal.

Here are other new normal to anticipate, plan and prepare for. A shift towards more flexible work as remote work with options for shorter working weeks will evolve. The biggest market will be on the web – be agile, whiles software solutions and the development of apps will be in great demand.

Covid-19 led to many companies working from home concept which hitherto wasn’t an acceptable practice for these companies and organizations. Aside working from home, flexible working schedules and shorter working weeks have been commended by human resources experts as an alternative to the mass return to our offices after the partial lockdown globally.

This was proposed in appreciation of promoting a better work-life balance for employees and supporting employers to rethink their expensive office space as a means to saving some funds to plough back into business to help in these unusual times. Most have argued that, new mothers will find this very beneficial too, so will employees who are studying and are part-time students currently as well as parents who want to spend more time with their children; and finally employees with the responsibility of taking care of elderly parents.

Employing flexible workers and hybrid professionals who are able to work across all sectors will contribute to a huge battle win for the Human Resource Management profession. Speak to FoReal HR Services, for support in getting started. Though this may not be welcome news for the real estate industry, they will cash in instead with residential unit as many businesses start exploring that proposition to shrinking down their expensive office space, manage employee commuter traffic stress and promoting the employees wellbeing by encouraging employees to just work from home.

Here are some blue print organization and their strategy to managing this new normal of making adjustment to promoting remote working cultures.

  • Twitter – has offered staff the option of working from home permanently, said chief executive Jack Dorsey.  He said employees can work from home “forever” if they wish.
  • WPP – the world’s biggest advertising agency says returning to office is to be voluntary and flexible
  • Barclays – 70,000 staff currently working from home. A big city office “may be a thing of the past” said the bank’s boss Jess Staley
  • Spotify – its workforce of more than 4,000 can work from home for the rest of the year
  • Facebook – extending work from home until end of 2020, as part of a long-term shift to more remote working. Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg told staff it was “aggressively opening up remote hiring” in July. He expects half of its workforce to do their jobs outside Facebook’s offices over the next five to 10 years
  • Google – has extended working from home until the end of the year
  • MasterCard – says the majority of its employees can work from home until they “are ready” to return. Also looking to consolidate global offices
  • Amazon – giving employees the option to work from home until at least October
  • Microsoft – working from home extended until October for most employees
  • Royal Bank of Scotland – staff allowed to work from home until at least end of September

For now, the biggest market is on the web as put forward by research gate. The place to be is on the internet. It appears almost all events now and going forward will still be online. All international and global events for now have been moved online. Several other professional trade associations’ market place for now has evolved to be the online market.

The Society for Human Resource Management organizes yearly SHRM conventions; same applies to Rotary International and the Pan African Film and Arts Festival just to mention but a few. Many have to cancel these yearly events serving as the market place hitherto for their members, whiles others moved the entire conference online giving its members virtual access to all sessions. Airlines have note fully resumed operations to enable most international speaker’s book flight to travel from one destination to the other to attend to conference talks. These events too have been moved online.

Many businesses according to expert opinion are getting comfortable for instance with the use of the Zoom and Google Meet platform for meetings amongst others. And several could still adopt these going forward. One expert had this to say, “why travel down in an hour’s drive from your home or office to attend a 45 minutes meeting, and drive down in two hours in the stressful rush hour traffic when these commuting time can be safe and members use time productively with an online meeting planned.

What about options of meeting cancellation at the last minute due to circumstances beyond organizers control?  We are in a very comfortable space, due to this covid-19 especially with the use of online meetings and I’m seeing the need to continue the use of these online meetings now and into the future. I am making plans to building stronger systems and structures and have reliable internet connectivity”.

Internet savvy will be recommended. Learn to be agile and learn the use of technology. One 54-year-old professional contributing to previous feature said, “throughout these period of the lockdown, I was very excited about the use of technology to get me connected to several other professionals in meetings virtually; my biggest challenge however was my inability to connect myself to these meetings without support.

My millennial children and neighbours make it possible. I am re-thinking working with millennia now for our company”. Most of us fall within the Generation X, Y and Z classification and must be agile to start learning these practical skills and the use of online tools as well as getting familiar with the use of the internet to boost productivity.

For several years, the concept of automation technology replacing jobs and causing millions to be redundant was announced and heard. The dress rehearsal of this covid-19 offering for the future of work; has gotten more affirmative support. Automation machines if in use cannot catch virus like Covid-19 or Ebola, reason the world of business needs other strategic and alternative plans to people’s management.

For most brick and mortar business with no online presence suffered some business loss during the covid-19 lockdown period. Most may only need an upgrade with software solutions. The use of the business website hitherto, was the biggest luxury and acceptable means to online presence.

In this era, most businesses, both big and small have resulted to the use of social media handles. Having a website in the world of business now is great but not the only means to online presence. Several platforms are offering that same advantage and even more. The development of apps will be in great demand and these other platforms will support several online marketplaces; LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp amongst others.

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