Eric Goh, Vice President & Managing Director, Singapore, Dell Technologies, predicts that 10 years into the future, technology will more seamlessly support and offload and workplace tasks, reshaping the responsibilities and roles of employers and employees.
Technology and innovation are constantly creating new opportunities and challenges that will impact how we work in 2020 and in the years to come. Emerging technologies such as 5G/6G, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) are radically transforming our world and the face of business.
To understand the transformative trends reshaping the workplace, we explore how these technologies are radically changing the bedrock of our economy and workforce, removing age-old frictions and ushering in new ways of conducting business and exchanging value.
One year: The duality of the mobile workforce
While the introduction of mobile technology and cloud-based solutions have certainly helped make the idea of working anytime and anywhere a reality, the mix of Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials and now, Gen Z, creates a complicated dynamic of working styles and productivity drivers that are hard to ignore.
By 2021, 60% of Global 2000 largest public companies will have adopted a future-workspace model, IDC predicted. As work becomes less of a place you go and more of a task you perform, employees expect to be able to work whenever they want, wherever they want. The recent turn of events has also made this a necessity for business continuity.
The rise of remote working in recent years – among other workplace trends such as co-working – has implications for organisations, from office sizes to the designs of physical workplaces. Organisations also need to be equipped with the technology that can provide employees with the required accessibility; leaders need to work towards building a strong company culture as well as inculcate a sense of belonging among the remote and co-working workforce.
Leaders need to work towards building a strong company culture as well as inculcate a sense of belonging among the remote and co-working workforce.
Currently, with well over half of the global workforce working remotely, employee safety and health will remain the highest priority among all organisations. At the same time, businesses that are equipped with the right policies and innovative technologies – in addition to an empowered workforce – will be able to shift relatively seamlessly in response to immediate needs for social distancing while bringing teams together virtually to minimise business disruptions.
Technology is helping to reinvent the way we work and learn, conduct business and find solutions to problems big and small – regardless of location, time of day or even job description. To successfully transition the workforce in times like this, organisations must know how to overcome key dilemmas to fully reap the benefits of human-machine partnerships, especially around bridging the digital skills gap. Businesses also need to reskill experienced workers while simultaneously empowering a new generation of workers and adjust to the sudden changes to the way we work.
To successfully transition the workforce in times like this, organisations must know how to overcome key dilemmas to fully reap the benefits of human-machine partnerships, especially around bridging the digital skills gap.
As a remote workforce becomes the new reality, businesses in Singapore should re-examine their organisational capabilities on whether they are truly ready to evolve the traditional 9-to-5 desk job to meet the needs and expectations of employees.
Businesses are finding themselves needing to strike a balance between empowering employees to work virtual through advanced technology solutions and retaining a workplace environment that allows them to implement flexible working arrangements. At the same time, maintaining company culture and productivity of the employees.
Five years: Understanding and satisfying the expectations of Gen Z
They’re coming! The first wave of Gen Z employees started infiltrating workforces in 2019 and they are very different from their millennial counterparts. They have grown up with cutting-edge technology and are a hyperconnected, collaborative cohort that is accustomed to learning and working in groups. According to the Dell Technologies' Gen Z: the future has arrived research, 55% in APJ (60% in Singapore) believe that humans and machines will work as integrated teams and 36% (32% in Singapore) see machines as tools for humans to use as needed.
Therefore, organisations ought to be ready to meet the needs of these digital natives. Gen Z employees want to focus their skills at companies that provide the flexibility and freedom to be entrepreneurial through personalised roles. What’s more, they see the technology industry as the sweet spot to pursue these career goals.
Providing intuitive technology and solutions is just one piece of the puzzle for organisations looking to attract and retain this new wave of talent. On the other hand, new organisational structures will emerge that will decentralise decision-making and empower workers. In the next five years, organisations will need to challenge the hierarchical power dynamic between employees and employers to provide Gen Z employees with career paths that develop and bolster their skills in new and exciting ways.
In the next five years, organisations will need to challenge the hierarchical power dynamic between employees and employers to provide Gen Z employees with career paths that develop and bolster their skills in new and exciting ways.
Ten years: People and technology form the fabric of the organisation
In 10 years, the workplace will be completely redefined, given the fourth industrial revolution would have fully taken hold. Technology and IT solutions will more seamlessly support and offload and workplace tasks – this, in turn, will reshape the responsibilities and roles of employers and employees. According to the IFTF Future of Work Report, 89% of business leaders in Singapore plan to use emerging technologies to improve workforce productivity. 81% agree that by 2030, emerging technologies would transform the way we collaborate and work for the better. At the same time, the rapid evolution of machines and algorithms in the workplace could create 133 million new roles in place of 75 million that will be transformed between now and 2022.
While that may sound like a scary prospect for some, the experts don’t expect machines to fully replace us any time soon. Over the next decade, workers and organisations will adapt as machines take over mundane tasks, and new work opportunities will emerge, involving qualities and skills that are fundamentally human. An overwhelming 91% in APJ (92% in Singapore) recognise that we are entering – if not already in – the age of human-machine partnerships, according to the Gen Z study.
Over the next decade, workers and organisations will adapt as machines take over mundane tasks, and new work opportunities will emerge, involving qualities and skills that are fundamentally human.
Employers — specifically the C-Suite — can expect IT to hold an integral role among all functions of the organisation. Information and technology will be the invisible threads that drive and connect everything between workers and machines.
Ten years out, organisations that successfully achieve digital workplace transformations will be at an advantage over businesses struggling with legacy systems and workforces unprepared for change. Some companies will run the race quicker than others, which could widen the gulf between businesses that are future-ready and able to benefit from human-machine partnerships.
One thing is for certain: the steps organisations take today — including inspiring employees and realising more equitable workplaces through technologies — will lay the groundwork for their digital future, and help bring to fruition the next wave of human-led, technology-underpinned progress.
In the age of imminent change and disruption, strategic investments in talent and technology will set a strong foundation for a more resilient and future-proof organisation.
About the author
Eric Goh oversees Dell Technologies' growth and operations in Singapore, with core responsibilities for leading the sales strategy, go-to-market, business development and enhancing relationships with customers across public and private sectors, partners and alliances.
An IT industry veteran, Goh brings with him the breadth and depth of senior management experience in sales, customer service, marketing and business management, both at local as well as regional level. He is a consummate leader with a passion and track record for nurturing talent and developing high-performing teams.
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