SOCIETY | Jan 23, 2019

Work of tomorrow? Flexible and increasingly connected

AI, open and collaborative workspaces, new metrics of evaluation. Here's how the world of work will change in the next three years, according to IDC.

That the type of work to be performed and the professions required are changing rapidly is certain, but what are also changing at the same time are the way of working that is becoming more flexible and oriented towards collaboration, and environments that are becoming open and highly connected.  According to IDC, by 2021 60% of Global 2000 companies (the largest listed companies in the world) will have adopted a new concept of workspace, able to improve the experience and productivity of employees through a more flexible, intelligent and collaborative physical and virtual environment. The future workspace will not be static or with predetermined times, but will be everywhere, at any time, on every device.

How will the relationship between employer and employee change?

According to IDC, at least 60% of G2000 companies will monitor and actively manage the experience of employees, also called EX, and will use it as a key differentiator for creating and maintaining B2B and B2C relationships. “Organizations,” argues Roberta Bigliani, Executive Director of IDC Future of Work Practice, IDC Europe, ” realize that to be competitive they need to give priority to the relationship with their employees. Employee experience is defined as the set of interactions that an employee has with the employer, from the first contact during the recruitment phase to the ongoing relationship that can be established for several years. We are talking about how employees perceive the employer and their role in the organization. Several elements influence the EX: the organization’s structure and culture, commitment to the well-being and success of employees, the physical and virtual work environment, the tools and the technology they are provided with”.

So, proper attention to the EX thanks to new ways of working that can benefit from mobility, remote collaboration and secure access to tools and data, with simplicity and speed, improving employee satisfaction and productivity. Companies must be able to increase the level of collaboration among users not only in order to optimize the way they work, but also and above all in order to generate new opportunities for creating value. What must be transformed are the workspace, the increasingly distributed and connected workforce, and the more agile and automated way of working.

What is the role of technologies?

Artificial Intelligence, according to IDC, will help improve the level of productivity: although currently AI technologies are mostly used to optimize the consumption of resources in the workplace (lights, air conditioning, etc.), new intelligent tools such as predictive responders, voice UI or automated video conferencing systems will help employees become more productive within a few years.

By 2024, 50% of repetitive activities will be automated and 20% of workers who carry out activities requiring specialization will be assisted by artificial intelligences.

“The growing maturity and adoption of analysis software, Artificial Intelligence and automation,” continues Roberta Bigliani, “will redesign the role of workers in all sectors and business dimensions. These technologies will not only replace or increase the workforce, but will enable the achievement of new levels of productivity, accuracy, quality, business intelligence applied to the decision-making process and optimization. We will also witness the creation of new types of jobs, such as those useful for managing large amounts of data, for the training and supervision of machines, as well as for the finalization of tasks delivered by the machine. Structured, predictable and repetitive activities are the most suitable for automation, even if feasibility and convenience must always be evaluated. Clearly, change must be managed by companies, insofar as it is not trivial for a worker to interact with new digital colleagues, represented by Bots, digital assistants, wearable devices, viewers and other intelligent devices that automate tasks”.

Will work evaluation metrics also change?

Just as technology is transforming the way we work, so inevitably will the metrics used by human resources change.  According to IDC, by 2022, 35% of companies will have replaced traditional and dated KPIs with KBIs (Key Behavioral Indicators) for measuring collaboration, communication, the ability to solve problems, results and the goals of their personnel.

The metrics linked to productivity will therefore be flanked by more modern metrics that were once considered pure soft skills, but which today are considered essential for reaching those levels of productivity needed to meet customer demands.