The future of work post Covid-19 has become a highly-discussed topic. The worldwide pandemic has led to businesses and employees completely rethinking how we work both as individuals and together as organisations, with previously unseen, or ignored, strengths and weaknesses within work models now coming to light.
While you may have heard the term ‘hybrid working’ just one or two times over the past eighteen months or so, there are a number of other emerging trends within the future of work which you may not have considered.
From hybrid working to artificial intelligence and employee data collection, we’re exploring the emerging trends that will transform the workplace as we know it.
Of course, the most popular topic of conversation on the future of work has focused on the preference for a new flexible style of working, with buzz words such as hybrid and remote working becoming a frequent part of our vocabulary.
Though it comes as no surprise, many employees who had never before worked remotely, have been able to experience its benefits due to the pandemic. As a consequence, research completed by Gartner found that four out of ten employees would be at risk of leaving a company if they were forced to return to a full, in-person office environment.
That doesn’t mean to say, however, that working on-site doesn’t have its own unique benefits. From building a strong workplace culture to encouraging creativity and innovation, some companies may still benefit from a physical setting.
As a result, hybrid working is becoming a popular approach from businesses of all shapes and sizes, where employees can enjoy the option of working on-site or at home. Hybrid working could even increase diversity, by offering workplace models which are flexible and encourage empathy – meaning the future of work could be much more inclusive.
In a 2020 global survey of 800 senior executives, two-thirds said that they would be stepping up investment in AI and automation as a result of Covid-19.
Work environments that require physical interaction, where it isn’t possible for employees to have a permanent hybrid solution, are most likely to see an increase in automation. These include warehouses and supermarkets, with the aim to reduce the number of employees required within a single space.
In typical office-based workplaces, AI could help to automate repetitive tasks which are often very time-consuming. Instead, employees can focus on analysing the data and managing the automated systems, increasing productivity in the workplace.
Although there may be concerns around automation and job security, new roles created by automation and AI could potentially account for 10% of all jobs created by 2030, so it’s an exciting time for workplace transformation!
With a large proportion of employees now working remotely, a main concern for businesses is whether productivity will fall. Another major concern is whether employee engagement will diminish without the daily chats in the office over a cup of tea and face-to-face team meetings.
In their research, Gartner found that, post-Covid-19, 16% of employers are now more frequently using technology to monitor employees and gather data. This could be for various reasons, such as tracking engagement, productivity or wellbeing, and may include monitoring emails or tracking computer usage.
There is also an increasing trend with HR professionals tracking employee health and safety data, such as the equipment used by employees when working from home and the amount of time spent working without breaks.
Collecting data can help businesses make informed decisions to improve productivity and employee engagement, especially with a hybrid or remote workforce.
With automation and hybrid working contributing towards an increasingly remote workforce, what will happen to the traditional office? Instead of coming to the office because they have to, employees will be visiting the office for a specific reason, whether that’s to complete a collaborative task or for a specific meeting.
Perhaps, then, the physical office will become less corporate and more laidback, becoming a space where employees can collaborate and hold creative meetings which would benefit from human interaction.
Office spaces may transform to become more social spaces to engage with others, which differs completely from the home office environment.
If they find a physical office is no longer necessary, companies may turn to a virtual office. Companies can secure a prestigious business address without having to lease unnecessary office space for staff working remotely.
Not only will companies save money on rent, utility bills and other expenses, but a virtual office opens up more budget to invest in growth. At Virtual HQ, we currently offer over 100 locations across the UK for businesses to call home, with rooms available to hire for those all important face-to-face meetings!
Is your business ready to adapt to the future of work? If you’re looking for a place to call your business home while saving money on expensive rent, get in touch for more information or call us on 03302 232 605.