There’s been a lot of talk since the coronavirus outbreak began about how workplace will and must change but there hasn’t been much agreement about how that will happen and what it will look like when the transformation is complete.
“The conversation is different, depending on the stakeholder,” said John Egan, CEO of L’Atelier BNP Paribas in Paris during the ISE Rise Spotlight session on workplace evolution.
“The employer is thinking about automation, promises and obligation. The employee is thinking about opportunity, self-expression and purpose.”
The emergence of digital economics and the degradation of privacy rights for employees who now work from home regularly or permanently means we’ll continue to see an increase in reliance on the freelance market to get business done, said Egan.
Twitch streamer and professional esports player are just two jobs that have emerged from the shift to an increasingly digital economy, he said.
“We should have had a conversation about the future of work years ago,” said Egan.
Collabtech Group president Jon Sidwick notes “technology is driven by what people’s requirements are.”
“Trust has increased, but you need the right equipment to be able to do it right,” he said, noting it goes beyond laptops and webcams. “The home office is becoming more of a work experience. What was the huddle room is now becoming the home room.
“Going back to work will be so much different. We’re now in an era of fluid workspaces. You need to enable them to do the job they need to do without thinking about the technology,” he said.
AV Tech’s Role in Workspace Evolution
Nureva CEO Nancy Knowlton cautioned that technology can’t solve all problems though.
“We need to think about people, products and space,” she said. “We’re not all born collaborators. We have to learn how to put these tools to the best use.
“I see this as an opportunity. We’ve done something in the last eight months that was otherwise going to take five or six years. That means we have to learn to use all of these new tools,” said Knowlton.
Marit Janssen, a transformation consultant in Amsterdam, says today’s workers must “learn to work differently” and “adopt with the technology.”
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“A lot of assumptions we had about work have been invalidated,” she said. “Remote leadership is about applying the same skills in a different landscape. It’s still about inspiring people.”
Flexibility, said Sidwick, “will be here to stay.”
“We need to train people to live in the new world,” he said. “A lot of people have had technology dumped on them. We have to teach them how to use it properly. We can’t take a privileged view of life that everyone lives in an environment where accessibility isn’t a problem.”