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3 min read

The three most significant challenges for the future of work

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Business leaders have had much to contend with—from coming to terms with remote working to the rapid rise of new digital technologies. Organisations must adapt and innovate to stay ahead. Following the pandemic, we've seen technology innovations and investments ramp up and inevitably change our workplaces and how we work.

So, what challenges lie ahead? Let's find out.

This blog is part two of a three-part series analysing the future of work. Head to part one to read them in order, or jump ahead to part three.

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Adapting to automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Technology innovation is accelerating with new solutions and advancements offering different ways of doing things. Software tools are becoming increasingly critical as teams work remotely worldwide and collaborate across time zones. In many cases, AI is beginning to replace or assist in getting things done. It can help create workflows and streamline processes to free people up to focus on more exciting or creative work. It can also save time on manual or admin-based tasks by automating them, including reporting and data entry. We can also use it to improve resource allocation, spot inefficiencies in processes, and make better decisions, using AI to analyse large volumes of data, identify patterns, and flag potential risks. It's also helpful in connecting the tools we use most, reducing friction and context-switching—jumping between apps and losing focus.

On the one hand, some argue AI and automation threaten jobs. However, others believe they are an opportunity for roles to develop and change and for employees to take advantage of upskilling and retraining to adapt to new technologies. The challenge for leaders is to keep pace with change and to ensure adequate training and support for their teams while creating a culture that embraces and allows people to try new things. For example, chatbot tools can support employees through tasks and answer queries based on vast information.

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Reskilling and upskilling your future workforce

Rapid digital transformation is bringing a need for employees to learn new skills to help adapt to our changing work life. The Future of Jobs Report showed that employers expect to offer reskilling and upskilling to just over 70% of their employees by 2025. Digital transformation, reskilling, and upskilling need to happen so employees can embrace opportunities, and focus should be placed on building purpose-driven, people-first cultures. Above all, organisations need to be adaptable and open to change as it's the only thing that's guaranteed.

Furthermore, employers have access to a much wider talent pool than ever before; with geographic locations less of a factor, they can focus on attracting the best talent.

Social isolation brought on by the pandemic affected many people; perhaps the most prevalent are those at the start of their careers, entering the workforce for the first time, who may still need to develop soft skills such as negotiating, networking, and presenting confidently in front of large groups. 

Digital tools can help tackle the well-being challenges posed by remote work. The 2020 Future of Jobs Report revealed that roughly one-third of all employers expected to use digital tools for such purposes. With support for collaboration and communication, tools and software can help employees feel more connected and increase their sense of belonging. In addition, with hybrid working, it's important to make office time count. You can encourage your employees to find value in in-person office time by providing opportunities for socialising, learning, creativity, celebration, collaboration, and client meetings.

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Building diverse and inclusive workplaces

How can we create workplaces that are both inclusive and diverse in remote environments? As we predict the future of work and some of the challenges leaders face today, this is one of the most important. Many factors make remote or hybrid work arrangements beneficial to mental well-being. Working remotely offers more control over schedules, brings flexibility and improves balance between work and home life. It also helps reduce stress, including commuting or social anxiety and allows people to explore roles more suited to their circumstances and personal commitments. For example, people with disabilities or caring responsibilities, which leads to a larger pool of diverse talent that would have been otherwise underutilised.

Collaboration tools have a large part to play, offering ways for teams to work together to plan projects, share and track tasks wherever they are, and make an impact regardless of their backgrounds or circumstances. Investment in accessible technologies can also offer opportunities to those with disabilities and diverse abilities, and shared platforms make it more transparent for everyone to collaborate centrally, using tools such as chat and forums available to everyone.

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Talk to us about work management

The future of work poses some of the most significant challenges organisations have ever faced. Businesses can meet the challenges of a modern workforce and work environment with a practical work management solution. Our expert team, partnerships, and years of experience, coupled with our apps to extend the capabilities of your tools, make us the best choice. Contact us to speak to one of our experts.

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Special work management report: Productivity is not a place

Learn more about the future of work in our new research-based report full of actionable insights and recommendations.

Read the report