By NOPHAKHUN LIMSAMARNPHUN
Citing the latest findings of Workforce Experience 2020, Michael Koons, senior vice president for global system engineering and technology, said in an interview that the survey shows six trends will likely dominate the workforce of the future.
Due to the disruptive technologies, today’s workers are increasingly mobile, contract-based and technology-savvy so companies have to re-manage their real estate and office space as well as the work environment to meet the new demands, especially among millennial workers.
Otherwise, employers may lose their talents to competitors who are more adaptive in re-engaging their employees whose habits and preferences have changed.
According to Koons, the so-called “Gig” economy has emerged resulting in more flexibility in the labour market with a focus on skill sets instead of long-term employment so more workers will be hired on a contractual basis or as freelancers.
Freelancers are forecast to account for as much as 40 per cent of all workers in the US in 2020 as the new generation of workers prefer “purchase orders” to salary, short-term relationship, no work relocation, flexibility, better work-life balance and digital platforms for freelance marketplaces.
Second, the new trend is “Shared Workspaces” meaning that less office space is needed to accommodate more workers using digital and other new technologies.
The new generation of workers also do not need a fixed workspace since they prefer to bring their own computing devices such as notebooks. In other words, corporate real estate is becoming an “office as a service” which is leasable by the hour, day or month.
This trend will boost corporate flexibility and efficiency. Koons cited Cisco as an example that its real estate and office portfolio has decreased by 30 per cent amid a 15-per-cent increase in workers during 2012-2017 due to the workforce transformation programme.
Third, the “Augmented Workforce” will be here due to the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation with 25 per cent of customer service and support operations forecast to be taken over by virtual assistants and bots.
Fourth, Virtual Reality (VR) technology such as VR goggle is now practical for remote employees to join tele-conferences in a more participatory format.
VR is also beneficial for immersive training and educational experiences while VR simulation lowers the cost of prototyping new products.
Fifth, the “Sensing Workplace” is coming up with the use of big data to provide new meeting rooms that, for example, are capable of adapting to different needs of various users as pre-ordered.
This will deliver better experiences for workers based on their preferences while helping to retain talents.
Sixth, “Digital Twins” is the new trend for the evolving workforce as creation of a digital replica of crucial assets such as oil rigs or power plants allow companies to increase work safety by taking advantage of predictive analytics for pro-active maintenance management of these costly assets.
To boost workers’ engagement, especially among millennials, the survey shows that freedom on work location is a key factor since workers’ dead time can be avoided. Another key factor of increased engagement is to facilitate personal preferences for a better work-life balance.