When Covid-19 hit, the world was plunged into a state of uncertainty. Cities went into lockdown, workplaces shut their doors, businesses shuttered as world leaders struggled to contain the pandemic. Today, as economies around the world are in various stages of opening up, there is one thing we know for sure – jobs and workplaces will be forever changed by the pandemic.
Workplaces of the future
After surviving a long-drawn pandemic, workers are looking beyond a simple pay package as part of their job search. Instead, they have begun to prioritise factors such as flexibility, the employee experience, inclusivity, and purpose-driven work – all of which has implications on how workplaces of the future will be structured.
A survey conducted by research firm Gartner of over 800 human resource (HR) leaders predicted nine trends post-Covid. The most prominent of these being the shift towards remote work.
The Pulse of the American Worker Survey by financial firm Prudential finds that 87% of American employees who have been working remotely during the pandemic would prefer to continue doing so at least one day a week post-Covid. Of these, 42% see remote work options as a non-negotiable factor.
Other pertinent changes include a greater priority being placed on work-life balance, higher expectations for employers to cater to employees’ well-being (financial, mental, or otherwise), and a greater value being placed on company culture.
Absent the above considerations, employees may well seek greener pastures elsewhere, as demonstrated by the ‘Great Resignation Boom’ in April this year, which saw over 4 million people leaving their jobs in the United States.
The need to adapt
Sharon Chow, Senior Director, Banking & Financial Services Front Office Lead & Legal of Charterhouse Singapore, underscores the need for workplaces of today to change with the times to continue attracting top talents.
Sharon says, “The remote working model can help companies move faster, allocate resources more effectively, and leverage collaboration tools and other technologies more efficiently to keep everyone on track in their digital workspaces.”
However, she also cautions firms to bear in mind potential negative implications of remote work arrangements. For example, as lines between work and personal life become blurred, employees may begin to experience increased stress and burn out.
Thus, she highlights the need for firms to keep an eye on employees' well-being, and to keep them motivated. To this point, Gartner suggests that support can be provided in the form of enhanced medical leave, financial assistance, flexibility in working hours, and child care provisions.
As workplaces change, so do the strategies firms employ to continue attracting and retaining top talent.
Says Sharon, “Leadership will need to be more agile than ever before and offer flexible employee packages… Companies will be challenged to find new ways of attracting, retaining and managing talents from afar. Collaboration, flexibility and culture will be top of mind. New tools will enter workflows and demand employees evolve with them.”
Future-proof jobs and skills
To this end, employees will need to pick up new skills that cater to a digital age and workforce.
As a veteran in the HR industry, Sharon points out that industry trends towards remote work will necessitate HR professionals to gain technical skills in cybersecurity and artificial intelligence (AI) to rise in the career ladder. Other key skills relating to technology include data literacy and data analytics.
Beyond hard skills, however, the need for soft skills still reigns. The Graduate Management Admission Council™’s most recent GMAC Corporate Recruiters Survey found that 81% of recruiters identify interpersonal skills as important, over any other kind of skill. Additionally, 57% of recruiters predict that interpersonal skills will grow in demand over the next 5 years.
This suggests that while new challenges and technology may arise, this does not render existing workers and skillsets obsolete. Instead, the honing of longstanding skills like communication and cultural competence will continue to withstand the test of time.
Nevertheless, employees and employers alike will have to adapt in the wake of the pandemic, for the brave new world that will arise beyond.
Need future-proof recruitment solutions to continue attracting top talent? Charterhouse is here for you. Reach out to us today.