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The future of work: How technology, wellness, and flexibility are reshaping organisations

The pandemic has accelerated the shift to remote work, emphasising the importance of employee well-being and integrating sustainable practices

The future of work: How technology, wellness, and flexibility are reshaping organisations

Demographic shifts, societal changes, technology advancements, and the pandemic have influenced the way we work. These factors are causing enterprises to rethink how they manage their workforce and develop employee policies, such as wellness programs, training, and retention strategies.

The pandemic has shown that remote work is possible on a large scale, ensuring business continuity during strict lockdowns. The future workforce desires flexibility, whether in hours or location. According to Savills Research, 48% of employees prefer remote work post-pandemic, compared to only 30% before Covid-19. Businesses now offer employees more flexibility, allowing them to work flexible hours and even remotely. The shift towards a hybrid workplace is placing a greater emphasis on enhancing the employee experience, with a focus on collaborative workflow through office design and policies. The future workplace is expected to be more employee-centric, reflecting a transition towards prioritising the needs and well-being of employees.

Employee wellness has been a long-standing slogan for companies, but it has only recently gained significant attention following the pandemic. Organisations are now recognising the impact of ill health on employee engagement and productivity, leading to a push to separate wellness from productivity. There is a growing emphasis on prioritising employee well-being alone, as employees themselves become more conscious of their health and safety. This shift in focus reflects a new awareness of the importance of holistic well-being in the workplace.

It’s important to note here that safety pertains not just to protect against any physical harm, but also to psychological and mental well-being. With employees demanding a safer work environment, companies are now increasingly focused on ensuring a work-conducive environment where employees can thrive.

There are also considerable benefits to focusing on employee wellness. It helps in increasing morale, boosting engagement, creating positive energy, and reducing absenteeism. Given that organisations allocate approximately 90% of their operational costs towards staff attraction, retention, and development, well-being policies are likely to become an integral part of improving employee retention.

The pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation in every sector, marking a tipping point for the shift towards Industry 4.0. This evolution in technology has already been underway, with jobs now revolving around the convergence of machine, AI, and human capabilities. Employees are at the forefront of driving tech transitions and contributing to organisational growth. The pandemic has highlighted the necessity for organisations to make this transition, emphasising the role of technology in shaping the future of work and business operations.

Businesses must integrate technology into all operations, including supply chain, communication, products, and workplace functions. The focus should be on creating a seamless tech integration that is future-ready, scalable, and functional. This integration is built on three pillars – user experience, employee well-being, and organisational backbone functions. It is essential for modern organisations to invest in technology that enhances overall user experience, improves employee well-being, and strengthens organisational functions.

Interest in sustainable businesses is on the rise globally, with a 71% increase in sustainable goods over the past five years. This growing trend is driven by consumers and government regulations, impacting employee policies. With commercial and residential properties contributing 13% of greenhouse emissions, reducing carbon emissions at the workplace is essential. Adopting sustainable measures such as using energy-efficient equipment, reducing waste, recycling materials, sourcing from sustainable vendors, promoting carpooling or providing transportation, and minimising work-related flights are crucial steps towards achieving sustainability in business operations.

In recent years, workplaces have transformed significantly, with a greater emphasis on employee well-being and retention rather than just production. It is now recognised that the success of an organisation relies on its people. Rapid technological advancements are also propelling these changes, requiring companies to swiftly adjust their policies to attract and retain top talent.