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The future of work

Here’s how demographic shifts, technological advancements, and wellness initiatives are reshaping the modern workplace

The future of work

Demographic shifts, societal changes, the lightning pace of technology, and the pandemic have changed the way we work. As we enter this year, it is worthwhile to take account of these changes as they will have a far-reaching impact on how enterprises will manage their workforce and build their employee policies, including wellness programs, training, and retention.

Being flexible

Increasingly, businesses have taken a flexible approach, allowing employees to follow flexi-timings and some even allowing work anywhere. A hybrid workplace is also expected to lay a higher premium on employee experience with more attention paid to collaborative workflow in terms of both, office floor design and workplace policies. The marked transition towards an employee-centric approach is the underlying theme of the workplace of the future.

Inculcating wellness

While employee wellness has been a slogan for companies for years, it has gained traction only in the aftermath of the pandemic as organisations realised the impact of ill health on employee engagement and productivity. Now, there is a push to decouple wellness from productivity by emphasising pursuing employee well-being alone. The demand for this shift in focus also comes as employees become more vigilant towards their health and safety.

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.

Technology inspired workplace

The pandemic was the tipping point for digitalisation sweeping across every sector. However, the necessity of making this transition has been apparent with the advent of Industry 4.0 or the next evolution of how people live and work with the rise of technology. With jobs now increasingly falling at the intersection of machine, AI, and humans, employees will be driving forward tech transitions, playing an integral part in organisational growth and the pandemic has finally pushed organisations to make that switch.

Businesses had to undertake a systematic approach towards embedding technology not only in their supply chain operations, communication or products, but also in workplace functions, investing in seamless tech integration that is future-ready, scalable, functional, and viable. For modern organisations, tech integration is based on three pillars – user experience, employee well-being, and organisational backbone functions.

Staying sustainable

Interest in sustainable businesses has been growing in both, developed and developing countries with a report recently showing an astonishing 71% rise in sustainable goods over the last five years. While consumers and government regulations may be driving the changes towards sustainability, it has a direct impact on employee policies. With 13% of all greenhouse emissions attributed to commercial and residential properties, cutting down on carbon emissions at the workplace becomes critical. Sustainable measures include utilising energy-efficient equipment and machinery, reducing waste, recycling material, buying from sustainable vendors, encouraging carpooling or providing company transport, and cutting down on work-related flights.

In the last few years, our workplaces have evolved rapidly. Today, the focus has shifted from production to employee satisfaction and retention as businesses realise that it is people who make an organisation successful. With technology further accelerating these changes, companies must have the ability to quickly adapt these policies to retain talent.