Though there is still much uncertainty, the recent McKinsey Company report, The next normal arrives: Trends that will define 2021—and beyond, suggests a raft of reasons to be optimistic about the future. Here, we pick out and unpack five predictions that suggest a better future for working lives.
1. Hybrid working is here to stay
The pandemic has forced change, but these changes were accelerated, not caused by, COVID-19. So, what will the future of work look like?
The Adecco Group’s Resetting Normal research that surveyed over 8000 people shows what employees want the future workplace to look like. From this we can see that hybrid working (i.e. a mix of in-office and remote working) is here to stay, which itself necessitates a shift in mindset for employers too. Tracking results rather than hours will become the new norm.
This new way of measuring productivity, coupled with hybrid working patterns, has a further knock-on effect: leaders and line managers need to develop soft skills and emotional intelligence to ensure they keep connected with remote teams.
This underlines the need for reskilling and upskilling. While we move toward new ways of working, we must also ensure that all employees are given the skills to thrive.
2. More inclusive economy
As surveys have shown, after the pandemic ends, there is widespread distrust for going back to business as usual. This is where stakeholder capitalism comes in. A bridge between businesses and communities, stakeholder capitalism sees organisations considering all their stakeholders – producers, suppliers, distributors, customers – when making decisions. And it seems that corporations are seeing the need to build trust, or social capital, in order to keep doing business.
Many well-known corporations have committed to the WEF’s Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics, a set of environmental, social and governance metrics. This is recognition that creating long-term shareholder value requires more than just focusing on shareholders. The Adecco Group is committed to these Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics, which builds on TAG’s previous calls for a new Social Contract.
This Social Contract highlights the interconnectedness of the needs of workers, employers and governments. By rebalancing our priorities away from seeing work and workers as just a commodity and instead offer employees an environment of flexibility and security, then businesses will be rewarded with a motivated workforce. A Social Contract might also mean governments wouldn’t have to deal with high unemployment and economic hardship.