Future Of Work Is Not In The Four Walls Of An Office

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Workplace dynamics are changing rapidly and organisations are keen to modernise their approach to both, the workplace and the workforce. We at Greyhound Knowledge Group are of the firm belief that the confluence of powerful devices, modern applications and intelligent networks have replaced the Knowledge Worker with the Connected Worker. This in turn is fuelling the Gig Economy. Per our estimates at Greyhound Knowledge Group, nearly 30% of the workforce across the globe will in some form or shape participate in the gig economy by 2020.

 The case for organisations to take a WorkforceFirst Approach instead of the traditional WorkplaceFirst Approach couldn’t be stronger. This in effect means organisations must invest in technologies and processes that help deliver location and device agnostic experiences to the workforce instead of adding more office locations globally.

A recent Greyhound Knowledge Group survey, Future Of Work 2017, reinforces the above trends.

From the 1056 interviews with global organisations the following trends stood out: One, 93% stated they are either already implementing or planning to invest in technology that allows its workforce to be better connected and hence share data in real-time; Two, 84% confirmed their intent to continue hiring from the gig economy to bridge skills gap and Three, 77% are planning to relook their existing processes and policies to better suit the requirements of the workforce.

These trends are also exemplified by the nature of enquiries we at Greyhound Knowledge Group have received over the past quarter. In a bid to future-proof themselves and modernise their workforce and the workplace, over a dozen Fortune 500 organisations have reached out to discuss the topic of ‘Future of Work’. We at Greyhound Knowledge Group are helping these organisations answer critical questions on three accounts – People, Process and Technology. This we term as an ‘All-Encompassing Approach to The Future Of Work’.

While it’s appreciable that Fortune 500 organisations globally are keen to talk about Future Of Work, not all is hunky dory. There’s an anomaly that questions the entire premise. Across all the dozen enquiries, we noted a common thread – these organisations are reconsidering their policy on Work-From-Home. While one would expect such organisations to be thought leaders and allow for more flexibility, they are instead exploring ways to either curtail or completely do away with their Work-From-Home policy. Below are some key observations on this topic:

Organisations are looking to minimise potential productivity dips and hence avert possible impact on bottom line. With organisations battling increasing pressures on existing wafer-thin margins, any dip in productivity is not only likely to impact their ability to deliver but more so impact their bottom line. Having said that, at Greyhound Knowledge Group, we believe in this era organisations not allowing Work-From-Home is a regressive move to say the least. The need of the hour is a policy that allows its employees enough flexibility and yet be productive. Important examples to note are of Yahoo and IBM; both abolished their long-standing culture and best practices of working from home only to face backlash from their employees. This is a stark comparison to the recent developments at Automattic, the parent company of WordPress, that did away with its office given the scanty employee turnout.

Organisations are looking to justify their policy change/reversal basis the highly sensitive nature of processes and compliance requirements. At Greyhound Knowledge Group while we believe that data security and compliance is of utmost importance, it is critical to note that such compliance requirements are not new. Hence, using this reason alone to assert any policy changes is neither well justified nor likely to be accepted by the employees.

Organisations are concerned that rising cyber threats may compromise processes and data when being accessed from home and other remote locations. At Greyhound Knowledge Group, we believe that policy changes alone will not solve the problem at hand. Instead, using the right tools and technologies such as Mobile Device Management and Mobile Application Management, along with better identity and access management practices can help organisations ensure better data security and protection from cyber threats.

Why This Matters To Both Organisations And Their Workforce

With war for talent getting aggressive by the day, it’s critical for organisations to be an employer of choice. As mentioned at the beginning, getting there requires organisations to adopt a WorkforceFirst and not a WorkplaceFirst strategy. Albeit to a few organisations this transformation might seem far-fetched, it can well be turned into a reality. They must take a lead on this transformational project by on-boarding business leaders and work in tandem with Future-Of-Work partners like IBM, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Oracle, SAP, Ramco among others.

At Greyhound Knowledge Group we are of the firm belief when embarking on a WorkforceFirst journey, organisations must consider the following: One, needs and requirements of modern and diverse workforce, Two, available technology that allows delivery of location and device agnostic experiences to the workforce and Three, acting as responsible corporate citizens by devising processes and policies that do not burden the environment.

Lastly, organisations and its leaders must remember that trying to do away with policies like Work-From-Home that allow their workforce the much-needed flexibility is a step back in time and opposes the entire premise of Future Of Work.

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Lead Analyst:

Anshoo Nandwaani:  Anshoo serves as Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) of Greyhound Knowledge Group, a Global Strategy & Transformation Research, Advisory & Consulting Group. She also serves as a VP and Principal Analyst with Greyhound Research, a Global, Award-Winning, Independent Technology & Innovation Research, Advisory & Consulting firm.. To read more about her, click here.

Research Director:

Sanchit Vir Gogia: Sanchit is the Chief Futurist, Founder & CEO of Greyhound Knowledge Group, a Global Strategy & Transformation Research, Advisory & Consulting Group. He also serves as Chief Analyst & CEO of Greyhound Research, a Global, Award-Winning, Independent Technology & Innovation Research, Advisory & Consulting firm. To read more about him, click here.

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