The future of work: seven mutations to anticipate

N°301a – Synopsis (8p.) – Future of Work
The future of work: seven mutations to anticipate
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The Covid-19 crisis will probably engender deep and irreversible changes in the organization of companies. How can you accompany this transformation of the world of work to draw a desirable future?

The reality of periods of acceleration in history raises debates among historians and sociologists. Yet, for businesses, there is little doubt left that the Covid-19 pandemic looks like one. Transformations that were envisaged for the mid to long-term materialized sometimes within a few weeks. The massive adoption of teleworking is only the most obvious example. Beyond, the digital transformation has reached a new level, almost in all sectors: commerce, medicine, education, leisure… Forced to switch online during the successive lockdowns, consumers became used to, and even developed a taste for it. Finally, in the production field, the changes, although more discreet, are equally deep. Digitalization, automation or artificial intelligence, previously considered as long-winded transformations, have often overnight become conditions for survival.

Yet, what will remain of these upheavals? And how will they impact the organization within companies? Failing to have definite answers, experts agree to say that the pandemic will have lasting impacts on behaviors. Some blockages have subsided, leaders and staff have become aware that there were different ways of doing things, with their own risks and their opportunities.

Thus, a vast majority of teleworkers, first forced, finally saw advantages in it. Certainly, collaboration and social bonding have suffered, but the quality of life and individual productivity have generally largely won. Therefore, many companies now envisage a “hybrid” organization: at the beginning of 2021, McKinsey Global Institute estimated that 20 to 25% of employees in advanced economies might continue working from home for more than 2 days a week. A change with multiple repercussions, both in terms of management and corporate assets, and possibly also of land-use planning.

Beyond the example of teleworking, we can see great complexity emerging. The suddenness and the simultaneity of the changes make them particularly difficult to conceptualize, then to manage. Business executives, and notably HR management, will thus need to tackle as many as seven projects.

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