Working in the Future

Matt Schulyer of Capital One in an essay published in September discussed the future of work and its emerging trends in the west. Knowing the trends in the industrial and developed world, it would be interesting to anticipate what may be the impact on our little Mauritius.

The developed economy would be sourcing off shore some of the work, would we be positioned to capture some of the market? How are we Mauritians able to be faster, better and cheaper? How flexible and versatile may we be? Are we preparing now and positioning ourselves to face the future?

I have retained the following points from the trends:

Emerging trends are changing the nature of knowledge work, demanding new options. Business cycles create more intensity, complexity, and uncertainty—demanding high productivity. Also, the balance of power is shifting from individual contributors to cross-functional, networked teams; and technology is accelerating the pace and scope of change. Work is more complex, collaborative, distributed in time and place, less predictable, and more demanding. To remain viable, leaders need to respond to trends with flexibility, speed, and innovative, cost-effective solutions.

Workforce Trends

Retiring Baby Boomers could soon lead to a scarcity of knowledge workers. If these retiring workers can’t be replaced, more work may be off-shored, or companies may need to bring back retired workers on a part-time basis. Also, some companies are experiencing a breakdown in the employer-employee bond as pensions disappear, benefits become portable, job sites increase or become mobile, and employee churn rises.

The millennial generation, or Gen Y, is altering employee expectations. For example, most millennials would prefer to work for companies that give them opportunities to contribute their talents to nonprofits on company time. A company’s commitment to social responsibility can determine whether millennials will accept a job offer. And they are more likely to pick an area to live that suits their lifestyle.

Work models and patterns that enable people to work when it’s convenient to them and when they’re most productive are popular. Gen Y expects work to mirror the college experience with flexibility in work hours. Gen Xers also value flexible work hours and locations that enable them care for children or continue their education. Baby Boomers too are vocal about wanting more flexible work practices that allows for elder care, exercise, or personal growth.

Could be get the retirees to live in Mauritius in a more clement and comfortable environment and work from remote? How would we acquire more knowledge for our folks?

Technological Trends

The rate and reach of technological change also impact the workplace. The infrastructure is now widely available to give employees access to information anywhere and anytime. Soon, high-speed Internet and wireless access will grow more robust and ubiquitous and become an expected amenity, while mobile devices quickly converge into a single, fully-integrated tool. Traditional brick-and-mortar offices may no longer be the focus of work efforts as meetings are conducted in cyberspace.

Technological advances also introduce uncertainty and risk. Consumers expect faster transaction speeds and greater accuracy, while more marketing channels make reaching the consumer harder. Regulatory compliance, information security, and privacy issues will create added risk and uncertainty for both companies and consumers.

What have been set up in Mauritius to be abreast of the technological advancement at least in the sectors of interest to us?

Business Process Trends

Future enterprises will be more dispersed in terms of markets and suppliers, and expand their dependence on multiple extended partners. Businesses will focus on improving productivity with shorter product cycles. “Faster, better, cheaper” will remain the mantra. Uncertainty will drive structure churn, while environmental regulations will create economic uncertainty. Flexibility, adaptability and ideation will be success factors. Global risks will intensify due to the threat of terrorism, financial shocks, and natural disasters.

Are you ensuring that our country is safer in the future against the  increasing global risks?

Tomorrow’s Workplace

The workplace will need to be flexible. In some cases, companies will have to create new spaces to enhance concentration and focus, privacy and security, and yet allow for spontaneous interaction. Workspaces will become increasingly diverse, some co-located, some virtual, and some both. Web 2.0—the use of the Internet as a collaborative platform to maximize creativity and productivity—social networking and social computing will be the conference rooms and workspaces of the future. Employers need to increase the usable workspace in the office.

Tomorrow’s workplace needs to be vibrant and energizing, with a focus on natural daylight, sustainable healthy space, natural landscaping, open space to maximize views from windows, creative office construction, low panels between offices, open desking, and glazed walls to make activity apparent and expose inefficient use of space. Mobile technologies help eliminate the need for brick and mortar, or reduce costs for energy or real estate.

What are the plans to outbeat the  world energy crunch?

Three Phases of Change

The key to coping with change is actively managing the change process while enabling people to move through three phases of the change curve:

1. Awareness. In this phase, leaders build cognizance that change is coming. Common emotions include denial, anxiety, and shock. Productivity and morale may decline. Leaders should help people understand the new direction and what options are available to them. Employees may begin to feel fear, anger, frustration, and confusion.

2. Acceptance. During this phase, leaders and employers begin to make decisions regarding the new change. This is often a stressful period. People may engage in approach-avoidance behavior—they may recognize and even wish to embrace change, but fear the negative consequences of giving up their old way of working. Morale and productivity dip, but will soon rebound.

3. Adoption. In this phase, employee skepticism turns to hope, energy, and enthusiasm, and morale and productivity are restored. Leaders should help employees explore their new work behaviors, commit to a new way of working, and institutionalize the new ways by ensuring that the company’s mission, leadership alignment, and goals support the desired changes.

By focusing on trends in technology, the workplace and business processes, leaders can adapt to the new future of work and enjoy market success.


There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.

Leave a Comment