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This is the future of work. Or is it?

Over recent weeks, we’ve attended numerous virtual meet-ups and discussions. As you’d expect, many have focussed on what’s unfolding in our world, dissected what we are experiencing, having comparisons drawn to the grieving process or the experience of being hit by a cyclone. Throughout, there has been much talk about what the future of work may look like post-COVID-19.

This is what’s on some of the people’s minds that we’ve been connecting with…

Themes around adaptions, learnings and the future of work

  • The gig economy was already being cited as a trending movement pre-COVID-19. However, the current circumstances may have fast-tracked the utilisation of more flexible, project-based, specialist workforces that can flex in and out with greater ease and less reliance on permanent employees.
  • Companies who were reluctant to operate a ‘work from home’ model have been forced into the situation, effectively providing instant data and insight into productivity coupled with the implementation of new systems and tools. For many, working from home seems to be bringing benefits and they won’t be returning to the same 9 – 5 any time soon.
  • Reduced commute times and less unproductive and time-consuming meetings have created an extra 1 to 4 hours in our working days. Naturally, this contributes and points to increased productivity and importantly, improved mental health and wellbeing.
  • Working patterns should be based on the individual, not on a general rule of 9 – 5.30. Check out circadian rhythms, we all have them and they’re not all the same.
  • Training / upskilling – TechTalent Academy recently launched its West Midlands based training programme. We are currently receiving c.100 applications a week from females and non-binary folk wishing to take advantage of fully grant-funded training in data engineering and software development, ultimately leading to employment with large scale employers within the region. The appetite to reskill within the tech, data and cyber sectors is rising at pace, and whilst many employers have now evidenced the benefits that flexible working can offer, the opportunity to reach a much wider, the diverse workforce has never been more prevalent.
  • A video call with a client can be just as effective as a face to face it turns out. Why spend hours on the train or road when you can be more productive and help the environment, this could be a huge deal if everybody took this on board.
  • For those hiring hard to find skills, the now proven WFH model is a game-changer. They can now widen the talent pool and push out the search geographically to capture the best talent, not limited to those that can head to the office 5 days a week.
  • Several reports are citing that the physical office environment will change quite considerably to accommodate social distancing. Three key areas of implementation will be clear signage and rules, increased cleanliness (hygiene and the working environment) and distancing between work stations / communal areas. This will call for many businesses to construct a flexible working pattern in a bid to meet guidelines and reduce the number of employees within an office environment at any one time.
  • Employers will increase wellbeing programmes, supporting mental and physical health.

It all sounds great, surely there’s a flip side?

  • A lack of community, real community. The bit many of us are craving right now, the small talk, the friendship, laughter, collaboration, helping each other out and sharing the highs and lows. For us at ADLIB, we can’t express how much we’re missing each other right now. Video catchups, virtual lunch socials and weekly team zoom calls are just not quite the same.
  • New Years Resolution syndrome – Slipping back into old habits is incredibly easy once the dust has settled, it’s likely many will look back in 12 – 18 months and say ‘that was all a bit strange, but we’re ok now so not to worry’.
  • Accountability. Life was pretty good, in some ways, too good and too easy for some. Those that are battling hard right now may have a new sense of accountability and pride in their work. Hold on to this when the good times return, it will serve you well for life.

As we said the majority of content and opinion out there is coming from those looking to innovate, adapt and change. It will be fascinating to see how many businesses have buried their heads in the sand with the hope to walk back into what was left behind in March and ultimate what the future holds for all of us.