As the UK starts to ponder life after lockdown, many Britons are also thinking about what work might be like for them post-Covid, writes Ashley Norris of Transition Earth.
Will there be a return to offices? What role will technology play? Will Governments play a greater role in private businesses? These are questions addressed by a new report from The Future of Work is Here report from Deloitte on behalf of Liberty Global.
Among its key recommendations are more transparent and consultative leadership, greater focus from employees on career development as automation increases and a more proactive role for governments to invest to close the digital divide.
The report draws on in-depth interviews with 26 European business leaders, policymakers and researchers and has been created to help guide policymakers, employers and professionals on how the pandemic may impact workplace practices and trends.
In learning lessons from the Covid-19 pandemic, the report calls for a new kind of leadership based on mutual trust and a shared sense of purpose across employers and employees.
To enable organisations to prosper in a fast-moving and unpredictable environment, leadership based on mutual trust and a shared sense of purpose across employers and employees is paramount.
Rather than simply dictating changes to employees, leaders need to become more transparent and consultative, to sustain the flatter hierarchies and maintain the faster decision-making that have been hallmarks of organizations’ immediate response to the Covid-19 crisis.
The report also advocates life learning for individuals as they need to be agile in moving from employer to employer as greater automation closes down some roles and opens up others. It also suggests that leaders need to imbue their companies with a greater sense of purpose which has to be communicated clearly and effectively to employees.
Finally, and perhaps controversially, the report predicts that there will be a greater role for government in private enterprises. It notes the growing political, social and economic inequality, as people get disconnected from work and become increasingly unemployable. Given the fundamental importance of connectivity and digital tools in the new world of work, governments need to move now to narrow gaps between technological haves and have-nots. Meaningfully closing the digital skills divide will be impossible without greater government investment.
Future of work
Frans Dagelet, Partner, Deloitte Human Capital comments: “The Covid-19 crisis has accelerated the thinking and action around the future of work. It demonstrates more than ever that we need to prepare for a different way of looking at work, leadership and collaboration. The leaders that we have interviewed have given insight to their business perspectives and how they have perceived the acceleration of the future of work. We can conclude based on the interviews and underpinning research that the work, workforce and workplace face changes that have to be embraced and implemented to stay relevant.”
Manuel Kohnstamm, Senior Vice President and Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Liberty Global adds: “This report demonstrates that the future of work is already here as the Covid-19 crisis continues to transform how and where we work. All of society has had to adjust to the opportunities and challenges of this fast-tracked reality. Schools, businesses, employees and governments, everyone had a steep learning curve this year. This timely report facilitates valuable debate around what needs to be done to make the most of the opportunities and minimise the negative impacts of such rapid and dramatic shifts in working practices.”