The Future of Work According to CEOs

In 2020, the world was put to a halt because of the COVID-19 health pandemic. While the virus has yet to be completely eradicated, industries and economies are starting to open up and adapt to the “new normal.” Companies need to sit down and plan how they will bounce back from the losses and other effects caused by the pandemic.

The initiative, however, should start with the CEOs. It’s not only the company that experienced the negative impact of the crisis, but also the employees and their families. Thus, CEOs have the responsibility to make well-informed decisions for the good of the company, from the top down.

These days, companies face and try to live with the changes in how they operate and how employees work. Let’s look at how CEOs from different industries foresee the future of work and how everyone can prepare for it.

1. Introduction of new roles

Statistics show that about 97 million new roles will be created across the care economy and industries like artificial intelligence and content creation. 

Workspaces and job functions will be redesigned due to the work environment and management changes. Thus, businesses are likely to add new roles in their organizations, such as talent accelerators (providing training and support to employees who are reskilling) and new roles in facilities management for instilling safety precautions.

2. Company inclusivity from top to bottom

Videoconferencing is the primary means of communication these days. It allows employees to take a peek at one another’s personal lives in a whole different light, even in ways that weren’t possible pre-COVID-19. 

Jenny Johnson, CEO of the investment manager Franklin Templeton, said video calls had “naturally become more personal as kids and pets weave in and out of the frame”–a depth in relationships at work that usually takes months or years to build.

More fascinatingly, the range of this inclusivity works across the whole organization, from the bottom to the top of the hierarchy. Employees can see the types of books on their CEOs’ shelves and see other interesting stuff on another workers’ background. This breaks the corporate facade and enhances company culture and connectedness.

3. Remote work is staying

About 84% of organizations will switch their working processes online, including an expansion of remote working. A Gartner survey found that 74% of CFOs and finance leaders plan to make some of their workforce work remotely permanently even when the whole pandemic blows over.

While not many work functions can be performed remotely, there are other systems that they can explore, including a hybrid of permanently remote, partially remote, and office-based staff. Nonetheless, remote working will still stay, especially for companies who have found it a doable work set-up during the pandemic.

4. New ways of engagement

Since most companies shifted to remote work management, it became more difficult to establish relationships and build rapport between colleagues and CEOs with the members of the company. Before, cooler talks, elevator conversations, and stopping by the employees’ desks suffice to build relationships and trust.

Lamudi CEO Kenneth Stern said, “The whole leadership idea has really changed recently because of this [the pandemic]. It’s not just about showing up in the office anymore. It’s about including ourselves and helping people’s lives get better.” Since there is an absence of physical interactions, forming relationships through digital channels, such as video conference calls, is the new norm.

5. Need for critical thinking

A 2020 survey shows that critical thinking and analysis and problem-solving skills are the top perceived skills and skills groups that will grow in demand by 2025. For a more efficient and effective workforce this year, try to focus less on job roles and more on the skills necessary to move forward the company’s workflows and goals.

FutureFit AI CEO Hamoon Ekhtiari stated, “The pandemic has accelerated many of the trends around the future of work, dramatically shrinking the window of opportunity to reskill and transition workers into future-fit jobs.”

6. New ways to collaborate

There are many messaging and collaboration tools that companies can use to ease remote working and encourage employees to be more productive, but the question remains, how are employees supposed to collaborate? 

Collaboration involves a lot of brainstorming and back-and-forth communication between or among colleagues. There are collaboration elements that chat, email, and even video calls just can’t quite translate.

To help form a more collaborative remote work environment, treat video conference calls as sources for watercooler conversations. PureWeb Chief Technology Officer James Henry said, “Make sure that a role exists to set the tone that it’s OK to relax and have a video conference with no business agenda, but for the sole purpose of casual catch-ups and virtual happy hours.”

7. More focus on worker well-being

Manny Gonzales, Head of Consulting and Strategy Director of Ogilvy Philippines, acknowledges the big changes at work. He said prioritizing mental wellness is one of the things they did to cope with the new normal demands. “We allow 15-minute intervals for people to breathe mentally and functionally,” he said.

You can improve the employees’ mental well-being by creating a strong and healthy remote culture that provides more flexibility and consideration. 

For example, you can offer flexible working hours, implement a strict rule that encourages people to stop working once they clock out (unless urgent and important), and give extra paid leaves for dependent care, child care, and other personal needs that otherwise don’t qualify under vacation or sick leaves.

Wrapping It Up

If companies fail to adapt and keep up with the trends, they risk losing their best people to productive competitors. Whether you’re implementing these new changes with the help of your in-house human resource team or enlisting the help of a recruitment agency in Manila, the redesign and transition to the new normal of working demand sensitivity and attention.

Lawrence Barrett