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Preparing A Model For Tomorrow’s Workplace
As we prepare ourselves for future, the prospects and opportunities ahead would start unveiling with time and the pace can be easily accelerated. Our Present endeavours will help organisations slide smoothly into the new age, discusses Shishir Parasher
Issue Date - 01/07/2012
Howard Stark, father of Tony Stark in Iron Man 2, had a vision to build a future place to work and live. But in a video recorded for Tony he admitted that he was restricted by the technology of his time.

The latest technology and tools can today turn dreams into reality. The thought of what could happen and what should be done is clear and a business model for tomorrow’s organisation is developed. Location and time are no longer counted as barriers to productivity. Even with a massive workforce, it has now become easier to align them with the organsational vision and future goals.

Mobile workforce, flexible working and 24X7 connectivity has spurred productivity. An IDC’s Mobile Enterprise Software Survey findings state that the increased pace of business in the digital world has led to 31.1 per cent improvement in worker’s productivity, 14.2 per cent increase in sales and 12.3 per cent improved competitive advantage.

Use of powerful communication devices for training and educational purposes is bound to accelerate, as this would save huge costs besides time. The onus will be on organisations to create a more accommodative culture as there will be a greater demand for work-life balance.

A Cisco Public Information document clearly defines the evolution of employees’ expectations and changing job characteristics with time. It shows how traditional aspirations such as security, salary, benefits and promotion will be replaced by flexibility, prosperity, opportunities and career navigation in the workforce 2020.

A multinational will soon be a globalised entity; goals and mission statements of companies will change to roles and aspiration statements. Specific skills development will be replaced by maximising potential of employees. Organisations will need to take these factors into account to stay competitive and successful.

According to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, some of the challenges facing organisations in 2020 would include:
Change in the business models as technology, globalisation and demographics would largely influence the organisational structures and culture.
People management would be another task, as the diminishing margins between work and personal life would hold companies to be more responsible towards the social welfare of their employees.
Change in the role of HR because the department cannot survive by just being a passive service-oriented function in future.

In September 2008, the Boston Consulting Group identified top global business and people challenges, such as domestic growth, labour productivity, global competition, managing talent, improving leadership development and managing demographics.

HR will need to have a proactive mindset and focus on business strategies along with promoting CSR activities. Companies will have to offer customised rewards and pay packages, considering there would be at least three generations working together. Organisations will have to offer rewards that will suit aspirations and needs of employees. This can be done by customising reward mechanism that goes with their values and lifestyle. For instance, while young employees might want to move forward with skill-development opportunities, the older ones might choose a smooth career growth path and security.

It is imperative for the HR team to understand the aspirations and psychology of employees. However, with the concept of ‘plug-and-play office’, and the office going virtual, how different will be the HR’s role in future is something to ponder on.

So, how will the organisational structure look like in near future? Despite people being globally connected, managers might not see their teams for weeks as the performance management will majorly be linked to output. However, on the contrary, there are units and processes where the human presence cannot be ignored.

As the entire organisation will undergo a change, so will the leadership traits. According to a Hay Group’s Leadership 2030 research, the leadership competencies will be based on cognitive, emotional and behavioural that would need:
Leaders to exhibit new form of intellectual openness and curiosity.
New forms of contextual awareness, based on strong conceptual and strategic thinking capabilities.
Sensitivity towards different generation, cultures and genders.
Tolerance towards higher levels of ambiguity.
To create a culture of openness and lead increasingly diverse teams.

As organisations move towards future there will be numerous experiences that will help them to learn and make significant strides. There are still challenges and opportunities unknown and to explore them the business leaders today, need to practice the future trends predicted by the industry experts. This will help the business stay abreast of the future surprises and depreciate unacknowledged challenges.

The future calls for the zeal to celebrate it today and prepare for ‘the future office’ by redesigning the work culture and processes. This redesigning is needed to suit the needs of the people working in the organisation.
Shishir Parasher           

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