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THE FUTURE OFWORK IS HERELiberty Global policy seriesMarch 2021

The Future of Work is here 2021The Futureof Work is here1. Executive SummaryBy stripping away bureaucracy, flattening hierarchies and streamlining processes,the response to COVID-19 has given us a glimpse of how work could and shouldchange for the better. In fact, the pandemic is accelerating ongoing changes inthe nature of work, who does it and where. 61% of executives asked in a recentDeloitte survey indicated to focus on re-imagining work in the next three years(from 29% prior to the pandemic) 1. The profound shifts we are seeing are provingto be productive for many and painful for others, potentially exacerbating existinginequalities. That is one of the high-level conclusions from this discussion paperwhich draws on interviews with 26 business leaders, policy-makers and researchers,based on Deloitte’s expertise on the Future of Work.Here are our key findings:Call for greatertrust and fasterdecision-makingTo enable organizations to prosperin a fast-moving and unpredictableenvironment, some of the intervieweescalled for a new kind of leadershipbased on mutual trust and a sharedsense of purpose across employersand employees. Rather than simplydictating changes to employees,leaders need to become moretransparent and consultative, tosustain the flatter hierarchies andfaster decision-making that havebeen hallmarks of organizations’immediate response to the COVID-19crisis. Such a shift would need to beunderpinned by a change in the wayorganizations define and measure‘good performance’, placing greateremphasis on outcomes, rather thaninputs, and employee well-being.Organizations should identify theoptimal workforce for a specific task(be it workers on payroll or flexibletalent) and then design a bold,engaging and inclusive employeeexperience.Businesses now compete on howquickly they can exchange informationand make meaningful decisions.If they attempt to return to the oldwork regimes, they will risk losing goodyoung people and market share tomore forward-looking competitors.If they don’t adapt to the future ofwork, businesses will lose the talentwar and ultimately die.2

The Future of Work is here 2021Individuals willneed to investin their futuresFor their part, individuals will need toinvest in their own development andbe prepared to move from employerto employer as greater automationcloses down some roles and opensup others. A university degree willno longer be enough to guaranteecontinued employment – people willneed to develop their innately humanskills, while keeping their digitalacumen up-to-date. For white-collarworkers, a well-equipped home officewith reliable, fast connectivity is nowan absolute must.The response to the pandemic hasdemonstrated that a distributedworkforce can use digital tools andconnectivity to function effectively,opening opportunities for employersto recruit from a broader and morediverse and dispersed talent pool.Even so, businesses should work withgovernments to enable more peopleto develop the adaptability and softskills they will need to be employableand productive in a world in whichmachines and computers take onmore and more responsibilities. Astechnology takes over many traditionalwork tasks, organizations will have torethink what they pay employees to do.A new purposefor offices andoffice workersYet, the shift to distributed workingwill also require organizations todouble down on their efforts to createa shared sense of purpose amongemployees. Without that, there isa danger that people will lose theirsense of belonging and cohesionwill suffer. To prevent that fromhappening, businesses shouldoverhaul their office and technological capacity to support theoptimum mix of distributed workingand in-person collaboration inphysical workspaces. Although manyinterviewees noted how productivepeople have been during thepandemic, some also flagged signsof fatigue and frustration withremote working.To help people find a better balancebetween digital and in-personinteraction, offices should berevamped to become collaborativespaces where staff mingle toexchange ideas and brainstorm,fueling innovation that will give thebusiness a competitive edge. It isimportant to allow for the serendipityof interaction, while harnessingthe broader benefits of distributedworking, such as reduced commutingtime, less congestion and a betterwork-life balance for staff.Governmentsneed to step inand step uphaves and have-nots. Meaningfullyclosing the digital skills divide willbe impossible without greatergovernment investment.Setting a directionof travelAs well as capturing many of the waysin which work is clearly changing, thisdiscussion paper identifies multipletopics where there are divergence ofviews. The impact that we will all facein the change is not yet well definedand set in stone. The leaders of thebusinesses and institutions thatwere interviewed do recognize thatactions have to be taken to catch onto the current reality. Aligning thework, workforce and workplace in acompletely new setting with differentrules and cultural aspects is a hugetask. In this respect, the paper willhelp frame the ongoing debateamong private and public sectorstakeholders about how we shouldorganize work going forward.The outcome of that debate willhave enormous ramifications forindividuals and society as a whole.Although the progression oftechnology is impacting almost allkinds of work, some groups of peopleare better able to cope than others.As a result, society is segmenting.Some interviewees pointed togrowing political, social and economicinequality, as people get disconnectedfrom work and become increasinglyunemployable. Given the fundamentalimportance of connectivity anddigital tools in the new world of work,governments need to move now tonarrow gaps between the technological3

The Future of Work is here 20212. Table of Contents1. Executive Summary 22. Table of Contents 43. Introduction 5 About this paper The past is a foreign country Trends shaping the future of work The three key dimensions: Work, Workforce and Workplace 56674. Work - Prepare for a dramatic change in day-to-day tasks 8 How technology is upping the pace The search for innately human skills Beyond reskilling towards lifelong learning and resilience The deliberate redesign of ‘work’ and new forms of leadership 8910105. Workforce - Tapping a diverse and broad talent pool 11 From performance to purpose From monitoring to trust Flatter hierarchies, faster decisions Ensuring workforce well-being and belonging Societal shifts threaten to widen the economic divide Policymakers will need to intervene 1213131314146. Workplace - Redefining the role of physical space 15 Calling time on the commute There is a time and a place for remote working Changing definition of the workplace and purpose of the office Reshaping work and living locations 7. Connectivity - The unsung hero of the future of work The digital revolution is in full swing The future is here, but unevenly distributed Align technology with the future of work the hands of more people 8. Conclusion - Takeaways for Businesses, Individuals,and Government Businesses – take a step back and reimagine work Individuals – new mindset and softer skills Governments – support reskilling and better infrastructure 151718192020212122232324259. Acknowledgements 2610. About the authors 2711. Sources 284

The Future of Work is here 20213. IntroductionAbout this paperDrawing on interviews with 26 business leaders, policymakers and researchersconducted in the final two months of 2020 and Deloitte’s expertise andexperience, this paper explores the future of work – a hot topic for governmentsand organizations across the world. Synthesizing insights from the interviews witha theoretical backbone, the paper considers how the nature of work is changingand the implications for the workforce and the workplace. It then exploresthe critical role of connectivity and technology, before drawing conclusions forbusinesses, individuals and governments.This discussion paper is designed totrigger debate about the organizationalchanges that everyone is workingthrough today. The interviews testedhypotheses around a major shift inthe way we work, driven by a changingsociety and greater worldwideconnectivity, data and automation.Such a shift would go well beyond therecent rise of the global gig economyand rapid growth in the number of selfemployed. In line with this theme, wehave sought to answer some thoughtprovoking questions, such as: Will office workers continue to workfrom home, even after the pandemic? Will a hybrid working environmentlead to a more internationalworkforce and create more diversity? Will the shift in the patterns ofwork open up new opportunities inthe value chain and allow for newbusiness models? Are we about to see a great leapforward in the digitization of work?If so, how should governments andbusinesses ensure the workforcehave the right skills? Is there a risk that remote workersbecome alienated from theirorganisations, losing their sense ofbelonging? Will companies’ headquarterscompletely disappear changing theface of city centres? Are we in danger of creating a twotier society in which people withthe right mix of skills are in greatdemand, while many others arealmost unemployable?5

The Future of Work is here 2021Technology iseverywhere6 billion smartphonesin the world by 2020SevenDisruptorsAI, cognitivecomputing, roboticsaffordability 500,000 in 2008 22,000 todaySource: IHS MarkitSource: DeloitteTsunami ofdataExplosion incontingent work9x more in the lasttwo yearsUS contingent workers40% by 2020Source: DeloitteChange in natureof a career2.5 - 5 years: Half-lifeof skillsSource: DeloitteSource: Intuit 2020 ReportDiversity andgenerationalchangeMillennials reaching50% of workforceSource: Deloitte GlobalMillennial StudyJobs vulnerableto automation35% UK47% US77% ChinaSource: WDR 2016Figure 1:The seven disruptive trendsshaping the future of workThe past is a foreign countryThese questions may not be keepingus awake at night just yet, but theforces shaping the future are alreadyat play and we cannot afford to becaught off-guard. Although there aremany uncertainties to be resolved,it is clear that work is changingfundamentally – we won’t go backto a traditional hierarchy-orientatedoffice life, partly because youngeremployees would resist such a move.Yet most employers are not ready for awholesale democratization of work.effects, not just on how we work, butwhere we work, how we communicateand even on how cities are designed.We believe trends should not beconsidered in isolation. Technologyand demographics are connected:if technology takes over tasks nowperformed by people, what uniquelyhuman skills will become morevaluable? If the global workforce willbecome more diverse, how will leadersneed to adapt? More flexible workarrangements could have profoundAlthough this paper does considerthe role of COVID-19 as a contributing/accelerating factor towards some ofthe changes, it is primarily concernedwith the emerging societal, technologyand connectivity trends that are yetto radically disrupt our work. As such,our aim is to take a holistic approachand build a directional view on decadelong trends.The COVID-19 pandemic has, perhaps,given us a kaleidoscopic glimpse of thefuture of work – such as in the case ofthe industrial equipment maker ASMLpioneering new uses of augmentedreality technology 2. But the crisis hasalso prompted a change in directionfor others, such as retailer Walmartpulling back from replacing humanworkers with robots 3.Trends shaping the future of workEarlier Deloitte research identifiedseven disruptive trends that areshaping the future of work (see Figure 1).these trends can be grouped into twocategories: socio-demographic trendsand enabling technology trends. Forexample, the diversity of the workforceis increasing as we live longer andhence work longer 4.At the same time, the concept ofa career is changing: employeesincreasingly find climbing thecorporate ladder less appealing 5,preferring project work and crossfunctional moves, as well as selfemployment and freelance work.These shifts are compounded bythe expansion in connectivity,which is generating heaps of dataand boosting the development ofartificial intelligence (AI), cognitivecomputing and robotics.6

The Future of Work is here 2021Naturally, we cannot ignore the effectsof the COVID-19 pandemic on thesetrends. It has clearly accelerateddigitization of organizations and hashad a significant impact on contingentworkers, especially where employmentlaws don’t provide sufficient support.The global lockdowns in response tothe pandemic appear to have deliveredthe future of work to many of ourdoorsteps. While the longer-termeffects are still uncertain, our researchand interviews with experts point toprofound change ahead.The three key dimensions: Work,Workforce and WorkplaceThis paper considers three dimensions:Work, Workforce and Workplace.Work looks at the changes in thenature of work itself – a worker’s dayto-day tasks. What work will be donein the future and how will it be done.Automation and advanced technologiesare changing day-to-day tasks and,therefore, the required skillsets.The workforce dimension considerswho will be doing that future work,both in terms of the nature ofworkers and their requirements.The changing nature of workwill change the composition andexpectations of the workforce.Technology and connectivity will bea double-edged sword: on the onehand, they have the potential to breakdown barriers across geographies,languages and backgrounds, whileon the other they can also sharpenand widen the social divide betweenthe digital haves and have-nots.The COVID-19 pandemic has throwna spotlight on the workplace and itsfuture. With factory workers facedwith the risk of contagion, office staffworking from home and storefrontbusinesses struggling with everevolving pandemic regulations,organizations are rethinking thepurpose of the physical workplace.The following chapters will zoom inon each of the dimensions. Chapter 7then provides an overview of the roleof technology and connectivity, beforechapter 8 draws conclusions for eachstakeholder group.The three key dimensionsWorkWhat workwill be doneand how?WorkforceWho willbe doingthe work?WorkplaceWhat is thefuture of theworkplace?7

The Future of Work is here 2021Demand fortechnical knowledge,such as AI skillsNeed for reskillingand upskillingCombining human andtechnological capabilitiesin the optimal way4. WorkPrepare for a dramatic change in day-to-day tasksWhat will work look like in the future? This chapter explores how the tasks performedby workers are changing and the ramifications for skillsets and for society: Will moredigital tech mean more inequality, as more and more tasks are automated?Although the changes described inthis chapter predate the pandemic,COVID-19 is accelerating a shift inthe nature of work, by forcing thedigitization of tasks that had beenperformed in-person 6.experience and innovation. At thesame time, technology is changingthe way we execute our work,generally augmenting our humancapabilities and enabling us tocomplete tasks faster.How technology is upping the paceTechnological advances are enablingthe automation of repetitive tasksand processes, allowing workersto focus more on creativity, humanIt isn’t a bed of roses however:technology can also inhibit productivity, for example if it has beenpoorly designed or because peopledon’t know how to use it (or both). Many skillsets arebecoming less relevantor even obsolete Organisations will lookto employ people withcapabilities that can'teasily be replicated bytechnology8

The Future of Work is here 2021“The human factor shows it takes behavioral changeand, therefore, time for people to catch up towhere technology is today. This prevents optimaltranslation of bleeding edge technology deploymentsinto raw productivity.“Martijn RoordinkFounder of SpacesAndrew Bartels, Vice Presidentand Principal Analyst at Forrester 7,pointed to data that shows that risingtechnology investments have ceasedto result in a proportional increase inproductivity, while other intervieweesalso highlighted the time it takes forpeople to adjust to new technologies.The unpredictable pattern of thepandemic has also promptedchanges in organizational structuresand collaboration, according tosome interviewees, who flaggedthe need for faster decision-makingand innovation. As a result, thereis an apparent move towardsflatter hierarchies. Jennifer Vink,Head of Enterprise Sales at GoogleNetherlands, noted how one “wouldbe surprised how many good ideascome from juniors and not fromseniors.”Yet, the increased pace may beunsustainable. One intervieweedescribed it as “exhausting”, adding:“Productivity is up, but so is fatigue.Mental health, work-life balance andthe home office are true concerns thathave to be dealt with. Communicationhas become more formal with shortermeetings and extreme informationdensity.” While enabling interactionsto be more efficient and transactional,technology is giving people less timeto relax and reflect. For white-collarworkers who pack their days withZoom calls, there is less scope for thesmall talk and personal conversationsthat oil the wheels of in-personmeetings and build relationshipsbetween colleagues.As meetings move online, they canaccommodate more people thanphysical rooms. That can have bothpositive and negative impacts. Whilefacilitating employee engagement,there is a risk that staff attend virtualmeetings they don’t need to join.In the meetings themselves, the23%of AI-adopting organizations report a major gapbetween supply and demand of AI skillsetsweight of numbers may mean morepresentations, less discussion andfewer decisions.The search forinnately human skillsAs the nature of work changes, theskillsets required by the workforce arechanging. Many skillsets are becomingless relevant or even obsolete atan accelerating rate 8. As you wouldexpect, demand for technical skillsis changing rapidly, leading to skillshortages in some disciplines, suchas artificial intelligence: 23% of AIadopting organizations report a majorgap between supply and demand ofAI skillsets 9. Organizational leadersnow need sufficient digital knowhow toanticipate and mitigate such challenges.As the half-life of technical knowledge iscontinuously falling, it is hard to predictexactly which technical skills will berequired going forward. Organizationsare increasingly prioritizing ‘soft skills’,such as adaptability, resilience and anappetite for life-long learning 10. TobyPeyton Jones, who has a portfolio ofroles including Non-Executive Directorfor the Institute for Apprenticeships &Technical Education and Ambassadorfor Siemens UK, noted that thesesoft skills are very unlikely to becomeobsolete. If anything, they are becomingessential for navigating in a fastchanging world.9

The Future of Work is here 2021“Serendipity interactions, which are crucial forinnovation, are missed in virtual ways of working.Even though new technologies are created to replacethese kind of interactions I question if this will be asolution as they fail to engage the emotions in a waythat is so integral to face-to-face encounters.“Toby Peyton-JonesNon-Executive Director in the Tech and Education SectorAs organizations become increasinglyautomated, they will look to employpeople with innately human capabilitiesthat can’t easily be replicated bytechnology 11, supplemented by digitalliteracy. As a consequence, a movetowards multidisciplinary skillsetscould become the norm, fuelingout-of-the-box and cross-disciplinethinking, creating agility and supportinginterchangeability of skills and roles,according to Toby Peyton-Jones.As leaders and teams collaborate innew ways (more virtual, moredispersed) and as organizations pursueagility, they will de

long trends. Trends shaping the future of work Earlier Deloitte research identified seven disruptive trends that are shaping the future of work (see Figure 1). these trends can be grouped into two categories: socio-demographic trends and enabling technology trends. For example, the diversity of the workforce is increasing as we live longer and

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