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The future of work: making work better for humans and humans better at work
By Patricia Mirasol
Discussions about digitalization and hybrid work focus on the “how,” according to Deloitte’s 2021 2021 Global Human Capital Trends report presented at a Sept. 30 webinar by the professional services network and Viventis Search Asia, a human capital consulting company. Focusing on the “who” (workforce), “what” (work), and “where” (workplace) enables organizations make work better for people and people better at work.
In another 2021 Deloitte report, executives from around the world said they believe the top priority needed to thrive in a world of perpetual disruption is the ability of workers to adapt, reskill, and assume new roles. The second priority, the executives said, is the ability to organize and manage work in a way that facilitates rapid decision-making.
“Notice that technology did not feature at all among what the executives said was important,” said Nicole Scoble-Williams, Deloitte’s future of work leader for the Asia Pacific. “What we’re seeing is a recognition to shift the importance of humans in the future of work.”
Humanizing the future of work, Ms. Williams told the Sept. 30 webinar audience, means reframing work, workforce, and the workplace:
- Re-architecting the work – using technology to enable human capabilities, so humans can stand on the shoulders of technology to unlock new capabilities;
- Unleashing workforce ecosystems – accessing talents across a broader talent system, including gig workers and contractors, and giving them the opportunity to contribute in meaningful ways;
- Building adaptive, flexible workplaces – working across an ecosystem of virtual and physical spaces, and building a culture of trust and confidence where every worker has the agency on how and where work gets done.
The Canterbury District Health Board, Ms. Williams said, saw a 29% increase in productivity when it reframed work by applying solutions such as an artificial intelligence, voice-activated patient call system. Unilever’s Global Fast Moving Consumer Goods division, meanwhile, freed up 300,00 hours of work by redeploying 9,000 of its employees to areas where the business was still growing.
Deloitte also reframed the mindset of a client that wanted to answer the question, “Do we still need physical offices post-pandemic?” from a purely real estate perspective.
“Through deep listening, they arrived at a vision and strategy of a hybrid workplace,” said Ms. Williams. Among other initiatives, the company came up with “day in the life” maps that showed how workers went about their day, as well as highlighted how each worker was empowered with the flexibility to work the way they did.
Yu Ming Chin, executive director of Viventis, cited figures from Deloitte that pointed to a global mass exodus — “the great resignation” — at the start of the aforementioned event.
“Forty percent of the global workforce is considering leaving their employer,” he said, highlighting a point from Ms. Williams’ keynote session. “Remote work is not the entire solution.”
Viventis, Mr. Chin said, sees thriving at work encompass three important aspects: leading and managing with empathy; focusing on both synchronous and asynchronous skills; and being intentionally flexible.
“To counteract the mass exodus, we want… leaders and the human resources community to get better perspectives on work, the workforce, and the workplace,” added Mr. Chin.