9 February 2017

The Future of Work - Why Organisations Need to Embrace Change

By Louise Jordan, Digital Marketing Executive at Zarion Software

I recently attended the Sunday Business Post’s Future of Work Summit in Dublin alongside my colleagues, Martin McFadden, Stephen Ralph and David O’Reilly. The purpose of this conference was to consider and debate the specific needs of employees and employers during the new digital era and new working models.

After attending the sessions and panel discussions throughout the day, as well as talking with a number of attendees about their own experiences, I have compiled a number of key takeaways I’d like to share.

1. The World of Work is changing rapidly
The nature of work and employment is changing. Organisations that are still in the mind-set of the industrial age can no longer cope with the new realities of the digital age. The future of work has already arrived -companies need to have alternative business models and not be afraid to experiment and take smart risks.

2. New Technology means new or better jobs not no jobs
There is a common misconception that technology is removing jobs and contributing to unemployment. In reality, new technology is actually creating better, more meaningful jobs that people enjoy doing and allow them to be more creative. Robots are designed to do jobs that have a predictable process - work that isn’t desirable or meaningful to humans. Workforce automation is now a part of life and can help manage non-value added tasks. Those who are impacted negatively by technology will need to upskill or reskill.

3. There needs to be a greater focus on collaboration
The way we work has fundamentally changed over the years. Information is flowing more quickly and freely across the organisation, leading to informed decision making. There is also a greater focus on working better, smarter and faster. Organisations need to embrace collaborative technologies and reward staff based on their output as opposed to the hours spent at their desk. The 9-5 culture is becoming a thing of the past and this has been brought about largely by millennials choosing flexibility over higher pay. There is a rise in the “gig” economy and freelancing as workers seek employment on their own terms.

4. Organisations need to become more agile
The pace of change is too fast for traditional approaches to work. Organisations must continue to learn and share intelligence with everyone across their teams and functions. By embracing an agile way of working, organisations can gain an edge over competitors and employees are happier as they can work in a way that’s both flexible and rewarding. Ultimately, the ability to change when change is needed creates better engagement and customer satisfaction. 

5. Future proof your workplace
It should be okay to fail in business but it is wiser to fail small than big and not keep making the same mistakes. A workplace that supports work-life integration, values output from workers and embraces change is one that will more likely succeed in the long run. We are entering “Work 4.0” where digitisation and automation are the norm and job flexibility is a given.
It was an interesting day of debate and discussion, I hope that my thoughts and views will be of interest and I welcome all comments and opinions.

It’s also worth checking out #FutureofWork to see the Twitter stream and the following link http://www.futureofwork.ie for the event.

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