Future of work: 8 trends that will influence businesses in Singapore

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The pandemic opened many organisations’ eyes to new possibilities. In turn, this has renewed focus on the various 'Future of Work' trends that are bound to take centre-stage in the upcoming year.

Any forward-thinking organisation wishing to navigate the increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world cannot afford to ignore these imminent changes. Below, we highlight key trends affecting the workplace and how this will shape your business in 2021.

Flexible working arrangements are here to stay

When it comes to remote working, 91 per cent of Singaporean employees like the new digital changes and 45 per cent said it is now essential for their companies to guarantee remote work. In response, businesses will have to rethink office spaces.

With less employees working from the office, consider downsizing by relying on coworking spaces, which offer a shorter lease and a lower upfront financial commitment.

Better yet, you could save up to $32,600 per month by opting for hot-desking instead of office space (assuming 100 square feet of office space per employee)!

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How much money can small businesses save with flexible working arrangements?

Number of employees Average cost of office space Average cost of coworking space (For two employees) Difference
Five $5,060 $1,800 $3,260
25 $25,300 $9,000 $16,300
50 $50,600 $18,000 $32,600

The rapid shift from activity measures to outcome measures

As the pandemic has proven, activity measures are not always accurate indicators of employee performance. This means organisations must implement a shift to outcome-based structures, instead of associating achievement with time spent in the office.

With new work arrangements, businesses would benefit from investing in digital tools that help remote teams organise, track, and manage their work.

Employee health and wellbeing, above all else

Organisations worldwide are increasingly more aware of how mental health can impact employees, and by extension, the organisation as a whole. For instance, a depressed employee can cost an employer 20 per cent of their time.

This means business owners pay 100 per cent of their salary for only 80 per cent of output. Thus, businesses need to double down on efforts to expand health benefits (i.e. mental wellbeing programs), so employees can work to their best abilities.

Increasing reliance on automation in HR decision making

Recruiters in the HR department need to find ways to increase efficiency – while also keeping costs low. This is where AI-based recruitment solutions that can think intuitively and make intelligent decisions based on vast data come in.

Examples include PeopleStrong, Skillate, Koru, and Beamery, amongst others. If you need more incentive to make the switch to AI recruitment, it’s reported that IBM has already seen almost US$1 billion (S$1.3 billion) in savings since integrating AI in their HR department.

Employees’ growing desire to work for organisations with aligned cultural values

Employees increasingly want to work for organisations where the cultural values align with their own. Thus, business leaders will have to respond by becoming more vocal about today's social issues, including gender inequality, environmental concerns, and inclusivity as a whole.

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Growing emphasis on internal talent development and mobility

It's expensive to interview, hire, and train a new employee. To reduce the financial impact on the corporate bottom line, a business in today’s world should focus on upskilling current employees.

As a bonus, this helps a company save at least US$3,125. Not to mention, it also boosts the morale of existing employees.

Demand for AI powered training platforms is increasing

Fact: 94 per cent of business leaders expect employees to pick up new skills on the job. To keep up with this increased demand, AI will have to play a critical role in automating the reskilling process.

Data can give immediate feedback on an employee's knowledge gap and potentially map out long-term skills development.

The gig economy and contract hiring to fill skills gap

It’s likely that organisations can't reskill their existing workforce's capabilities fast enough to meet their changing needs. These companies are expected to turn to contract-hiring for a short period to meet the skill needs they're facing.

Since there’s no need to pay for employee benefits, contract workers can turn out to be a more affordable option than reskilling. For instance, you could expect to save up to $1,176 in the annual cost of paying for an employee’s sick leave.

Businesses should harness the tremendous opportunities for growth and innovation

No matter which industry you operate in, it's essential to see these uncertain times as an opportunity to grow and innovate.

Companies that embrace adaptability, flexibility, and a commitment to lifelong learning will significantly boost their chances of succeeding in the post pandemic economy.

ALSO READ: How long do you think the hybrid workplace will last?

This article was first published in ValueChampion.