by Bill Swan, SHRM-SCP, Principal Consultant
More people are working remotely, on a contract basis, in the gig economy either part-time, full-time, or as a side-hustle, and this changing nature in the modern workplace is impacting employers who need to adapt their policies and practices to support a flexible workforce.
Some key workplace trends include:
Rise of remote work: Remote work has been increasing for years, but the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated this trend. Many employees now work remotely, at least part-time and depending on the position, working remotely 100% of the time.
Growth of the gig economy: With increased people working as freelancers, contractors, and consultants, the gig economy is growing rapidly. It may even account for nearly 50% of the global workforce by 2030, which is just a few years away.
Changing workforce demographics: The workforce is becoming increasingly diverse in terms of age, gender, race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. This diversity is bringing new perspectives and ideas to the workplace, but it also presents challenges for employers in terms of creating inclusive and equitable workplaces. As the global economy develops further, demographics become even more diverse.
Advances in technology: Technology is transforming the workplace in many ways. For instance, tasks once performed by individuals are now being automated through artificial intelligence (AI), expanding technology, and mechanization. This is leading to new job roles and skills requirements. Many view our current position as merely the initial state of AI development. Think back to the age of DOS before Windows (if you can) – many believe this is where we are with AI, and it will advance considerably in the years ahead.
Globalization: Businesses are increasingly operating globally, which means that HR departments need to have a global mindset and be able to manage a global workforce. This includes addressing cultural differences, time zones, and language barriers.
So, how do employers adapt to all of this?
HR departments need new policies and practices to support a flexible, high-tech workforce.
Some specific things may include:
- Create remote work policies that are clear, concise, and fair. These policies should cover things like defining eligibility for remote work, necessary equipment, and defined communication expectations.
- Offer flexible work arrangements such as adaptable hours and non-traditional workweeks. This can help employees to achieve a better work-life balance and maintain productivity.
- Upskill and reskill employees so that they are prepared for changing jobs. This can include training in modern technologies, developing soft skills, and leadership skills.
- Create inclusive and equitable workplaces where all employees feel valued and respected. This can include implementing unconscious bias training, developing diversity and inclusion initiatives, and creating employee resource groups.
- Manage a global workforce effectively. This includes addressing cultural differences, diversity differences, time zones, and language diversity. Employers can do this by developing global policies and procedures, providing training on global issues, and creating a culture of inclusion and respect for diversity.
By adapting to the changing nature of work, employers can help their organizations attract and retain top talent, improve employee engagement, and boost productivity. If your organization could use some help, FIT HR would like the opportunity to work with you. Contact us!