Re-evaluating How We Work - Workforce Trend 2021

June 09, 2021 10:20

Written by: Dawn Lee

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about uncertainty and change, placing immense pressure on sectors and industries worldwide. Businesses struggling to rebuild their capabilities after the combination of health and economic shocks must re-evaluate how they work in the face of such disruptions.

These changes that we are experiencing will determine a new normal in the way businesses operate, how we work, and live. One thing for sure, many organizations are put to the test when it comes to workplace transformations while managing the well-being of everyone.

How are companies able to ensure that employees health, wealth and career concerns are addressed? How can employers understand the current workforce better and embrace these trends?

Our insights will highlight key trends that can help businesses stay more resilient in this post-covid business landscape while recruiting and retaining talented individuals.


The shift to flexible working options

Preparing your team for the future is of utmost importance with the acceleration of transformation brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In recent years, the demand for flexibility in working options has been increasing with a 19% of employees hoping for more flexible working arrangements, based on a survey by Employment Hero. In fact, according to Employment Hero, 50% of women specified that flexible working support is a key area of importance. 

In Singapore, employees are seeking more work-life balance through flexible work options. In fact, this was so prominent that a new “Tripartite Standard on Work-Life Harmony” was launched in April 2021, on top of the existing “Tripartite Standard on Flexible Work Arrangements”, to urge employers to further promote work-life balance at the workplace, and support employees’ mental health needs while preventing burnout. With more flexible arrangements, this will allow employers to subsequently implement work-life practices that will help to take care of the well-being and varying needs of employees.

Younger workers, for example, have concerns about remuneration but they are generally optimistic when it comes to flexible working, with 38% of them believing that they will be able to engage with flexible working, and 36% of them believing that remote work will continue.

Source: Employment Hero

On top of business continuity plans and contingency measures, businesses will need to consider redesigning existing jobs to meet such demands. According to Mercer, 98% of executives had planned to redesign their organizations to ensure that they are fit for the future. Besides redesigning the organization, job redesigning is also important so that employees can meet the new standards set by their companies. In fact, job redesigning is more than just about who does the work, when and where the work is done; it is about focusing on the how and what of individual task dependencies. For example, employers can come up with evaluation metrics for appraising an employee on remote work, and employers can also come up with methods to ensure that employees remain engaged while working remotely.

Additionally, before the COVID-19 pandemic, the gig economy has been emerging in the last few years and plays a part in shaping the future of work. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a surprise boost in this area as many turned to gig jobs, and freelance work to keep their livelihoods. Thus, with more options available, companies can consider hiring freelancers and gig workers for the digitalised future as well.


Digitisation of work processes

With the acceleration of digital transformation, many businesses are forced to innovate and rethink the way they do business in a post-covid business landscape. With the creation of new ways of working companies are looking at more automation at work with 34% of businesses indicating that they will double down on investing in automation, according to a report by Mercer.  

With such changes, certain roles are higher in demand as compared to others.

According to the Future of Jobs Survey 2020 conducted by the World Economic Forum, the following are the top 20 roles in increasing and decreasing demand across industries:

Source: Future of Jobs Survey 2020, World Economic Forum

While sustainable work ensures that employees can continuously progress and thrive, automation has inevitably caused a change in the career landscape. According to Mercer, it was reported that “1 in 3 employees believe their job will not exist in a few years due to AI and automation”, a very alarming number as it this is a significant number of people in the workforce.

Thus, companies must work together with their employees when implementing digitization of work processes to ensure job security and allowing employees to upskill or reskill so that skills are the basis for defining work, and valuing employees in the future. Success is determined if a company can determine the skills that are valued, prominent, and create a corporate culture that supports employee development and learning.


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