In 2019, the future of work conversations revolved around Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Data Analytics. But fast forward few months, conversations have changed. CoVID-19 has become the new trendsetter. So much so that now future of work trends are being categorized as pre and post-CoVID trends.

As per the forecast, a lot of the pre-CoVID trends will get absorbed in the post-CoVID phase as well. In fact, they will likely experience an unseen acceleration after the pandemic ends. Of all the prevalent post-CoVID trends, we have jotted down for you the top six that will mark the transition into a new future of the work phase.

1.      Remote Workforce Will Expand

According to a recent Gartner study, only 30% of the employees were working remotely before the pandemic. But these numbers are expected to soar to 48% post-pandemic, i.e., nearly half of the employees are forecasted to be working remotely after CoVID.

This means even if the pandemic calms down, the remote work momentum would continue. Organizations would accept remote work as a new norm and would no longer raise eyebrows on work from home requests.

Having said that, there will be some systemic changes that the remote workforce will stage. Organizations would function with a new blend of the workforce consisting of remote and on-premise employees. This would thrust organizations to redefine employee journey and rewrite existing policies to match the new workforce structure, expectations, and patterns.

future of work trends remote work

Read More: How Can Organizations Prepare for Remote Working

2.      Contingent Workforce Will Expand

CoVID-19 pandemic is pushing organizations to keep up with productivity in the face of economic disruptions. In an attempt to survive, companies have reimagined their workforce with remote employees. Up next, they are eyeing on the contingent workforce.

Research finds that 32% of organizations have already replaced full-time employees with contingent workers as a cost-saving measure. And others are expected to follow the suit in the coming times – post-CoVID – as well. The future of work in the contingent workforce space would largely rely on how organizations manage their contingent staff. This includes building exhaustive contingent hiring, onboarding, and performance assessment plans.

Contingent workforce future of work trends

3.      Employee Data Collection Will Increase

Data collection and analytics have been part of the future of work trends for years now. But CoVID has pushed this trend into the mainstream. From monitoring employee’s productivity to understanding their working patterns, engagements, well-being, and more, data has become paramount in gauging the transforming needs of the workforce. Currently, organizations are collecting the following kinds of passive information to keep a check on their employees.

  1. Virtual clocking and out
  2. Computer or phone use
  3. Email/chat
  4. Location or movement

However, data will likely become a double-edged sword if not handled properly. On one side, it will make the supervision process easier, but on the other, it will increase privacy and compliance risks. Also, constant surveillance will induce anxiety among employees affecting their mental health and productivity. Therefore, employers will have to draw the line between intrusion and responsible monitoring in the pursuit of utilizing data to better manage the workforce.

4.      Processes and Policies Will Humanize

Pandemic has leveled the playing field for everyone around the world. C-suite executives or employees, everyone is experiencing similar problems be it health issues, financial troubles, work-life balance, or simply mental wellbeing. Due to this, companies and leaders have become more empathetic and human in treating their employees.

As a result, in the future of work, companies will continue to extend support by accommodating emerging health and parental issues under their policies. Increased sick leaves, financial aid, work hour leverage, and childcare provisions will consciously be taken care of into their processes and flexibilities.

5.      Reskilling and Upskilling Programs Will Gain Traction

A pharma company with 10,000 sales rep had to overnight shift from their traditional offline model to a hundred percent remote working model. In such a scenario, upskilling and reskilling were their only measures to bear the brunt of this drastic shift.

Even before pandemic hit, organizations were ready to embrace the reskilling and upskilling trend. But this pandemic gave an unprecedented jolt and placed it at the front and center.

Moreover, reskilling and upskilling have proved to help tackle unemployment issues in the pre-CoVID phase as well. And as the U.S is expected to reach an unemployment rate of 15.8% in 2020, which currently stands at 14.7%, reskilling would come in handy to control the increasing unemployment trend.

Therefore, the future of work will experience a rise in the upskilling and reskilling investment. Companies will dedicatedly invest in skill-based programs to protect their employees from slipping into the above unemployment bracket. Microsoft has already launched a global skills initiative intending to train digital skills to 25 million people worldwide.

US Unemployment Rate

6.      Establishments Will Redesign for Resilience

Organizations will no longer follow a linear approach to growth. Pandemic has disrupted all the traditional growth approaches including cost-cutting, workflow optimization, and workforce productivity. Resilience proved to be the only parameter that determined the company’s sustenance during the pandemic. Organizations with low efficiency but high resiliency were seamlessly able to absorb the shock without much upheaval.

Resultantly, the future of work would see a reinvention of organizational design around agility and flexibility. Rigid processes and flows will become redundant. Also, organizations would facilitate cross-functional training to expand employees’ knowledge and build their resilience towards uncertainties.

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