HR manager thinks work will be very different by 2032
The past two years have ushered in major shifts for the state of work, from the growing importance of remote and hybrid models to the full digitalization of the workplace, employees are living in a “new normal”.
While the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that less than 10% of the population is working from home due to COVID, between 25% and 35% of workers in the United States are working from home for reasons unrelated to the pandemic, according to Nick Bloom, Stanford professor of economics and co-founder of the Working From Home research project. Remote work no longer depends on the existence of a public health crisis; instead, it becomes an accepted way of working.
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“There is nothing ‘normal’ about the concept of a ‘new normal’ coming out of the pandemic; what we’ve been through is unlike anything we’ve been through,” says Tatiana Cirio, people manager at Rocket.Chat, an omnichannel communications platform. “While a lot has returned to pre-pandemic styles, some moves have been accelerated. Jobs are increasingly being replaced by robots or automation and communication is becoming more and more digital.
Before COVID, only 6% of employees worked remotely, according to the National Compensation Insurance Board. But once millions of Americans had to create a home office, reliance on video conferencing technology and communication platforms became more crucial than ever as the workplace became fully digital. And Cirio believes that this acceleration has left its mark. EBN spoke with the People’s Leader to find out what lies ahead for the state of labor in the United States
Are remote and hybrid work models here to stay?
It is important to recognize that the pandemic has not created new working models. I’ve met people, especially in the tech industry, who have been working remotely for years, even at large companies.
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The service sector, in particular, has had to undergo massive change to continue to succeed throughout the pandemic. There has been greater opportunity to test various working models and learn from them. Remote control and hybrid were once taboo, but people and companies have widened their minds to understand the benefits and how to do it right. Companies have also turned to tools that can make their teams more productive.
There will always be language, cultural, and time zone barriers with these work models, but as long as companies are willing to be flexible and tackle these barriers head-on, we could see significant change. A complete change may not happen this year or even in the next few years, but with more companies testing different models, it’s likely that work will look very different by 2032.
Which digital workspace technology is vital for employers?
The minimum technology requirement for remote and hybrid working is to have cloud storage for documents and data and to have a digital communication tool. When it comes to communication, omnichannel tools are particularly important. There are now so many different forms of communication that it can be overwhelming for employees and lead to reduced productivity. However, by turning to omnichannel tools, which combine multiple forms of communication in one place, employees won’t be bombarded with multiple types of alerts and can see all communications in one place and stay productive.
Although this is the bare minimum for digital work, it is also important to keep in mind the security and privacy of the cloud and the communication tools used. Companies must also invest heavily in adequate cybersecurity protection to ensure that all employees and their data are safe.
How will companies keep employees connected and engaged in the new normal?
Employee connection and engagement should not change if a company treats people like human beings and shows genuine interest in their lives. Communication should always have been and should always be transparent and open, whether in person or digitally. While in-person communication helps us notice behavior or body language more easily, managers and teammates should always have a pulse on their colleagues digitally. It’s more important than ever to prioritize one-on-one conversations, team activities, and non-work-related conversations to ensure that a true human connection is never lost.
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What working models will become things of the past?
Those who focused on command and control. People are looking for autonomy more than ever, so tactics of micromanagement and control no longer have a place in the workplace. It becomes impossible for companies to be innovative and creative when managers control their employees’ every move. Innovation and creativity can only come from a collective environment of trust, autonomy and empowerment of people.
What will work look like in the next decade?
Companies and team leaders will need to be very aware of the mental health of their teams. One of the downsides of working remotely is the idea that “you’re always connected,” so companies that work to break that stigma will be the most successful. Additionally, geopolitical and other global issues will continue to have an effect on employee morale, so companies need to be aware and sensitive to this.
I also think we will see a shift in education over the next decade. Job requirements and types will change dramatically as we continue to rely more on technology, so employees should always stay up to date with what’s to come. Beyond a traditional school or college education, employees must complete industry-specific training and certifications to stay on top of their game.