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Future of Workers by Dr. Jassim Haji

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Millions of people around the world have been working remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic and now experts are asking whether this “business as unusual” could be the future of work. The disruptors of the past are now firmly transforming the way we work. Employee expectations have shifted to demand more flexible, agile work policies from their employers.

Below are three technology-driven trends driving the future of work that companies should embrace:

1 Automation, machine learning, and AI continues to transform the workplace

1980’s American sitcom, The Jetsons, showed machines taking over our routine tasks. Fast forward to today and automation is everywhere. While many embrace the transformation, the fear that robots could one day take over our jobs has never been more prevalent. The way we work is transforming daily, and employers must adapt to these changes whilst keeping their people engaged.

According to McKinsey’s Global Institute Reporti , between 400 million and 800 million employees globally could be displaced by automation by 2030, and of those displaced, up to 375 million people will need to retrain and learn new skills.

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2 The traditional “9-to-5” is dissipating

Companies are continuing to adopt flexible work schedules and alter the scope of what the traditional workday looks like. In fact, The Global Talent Trends  Report observed a 78 per cent increase in the number of job posts on LinkedIn that mention work flexibility.

Although shift work is still very much a real thing, traditional work environments are creating flexible working arrangements too  and this doesn’t just mean allowing employees to work from home.  More organisations are incorporating casual or part-time workers; creating virtual or remote working or adjusting hours to cover international time zones.

In today’s economy more people yearn for a secondary income or flexibility to set their own hours. Companies such as Uber and Deliveroo foster a flexible work environment making roles more accessible and attractive for both casual freelancers and full-time gig economy workers.

3 The skills gap increases

As automation replaces routine and manual tasks, organisations are struggling to adapt and upskill their workforce. In addition, the talent pool and education system that feeds it are also finding it difficult to keep up.

In 2020 and beyond, the approach to reskilling must be rethought, as more organisations integrate technology to build progressive learning experiences that maximise and expedite their reskilling efforts.

By 2022, no less than 54 per cent of all employees globally will require significant reskilling and upskilling as reported by the World Economic Forum . Companies should consider designing flexible and personalised learning systems that will allow employees to build the skills they need more quickly, anywhere and at any time. A good example of this is microlearning, which is bite-sized learning in the form of short, skill-building videos pushed from smartphones, or daily tips shared by team leads.

With the right tools and strategies in place, companies can start planning for what’s to come and safeguard their talent whilst remaining competitive.

by Dr. Jassim Haji

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