Janet Paul, Director, Human Resources, Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) & Middle East, Securonix

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Janet Paul, Director, Human Resources, Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) & Middle East, Securonix, takes a look at how the world of work has evolved since the pandemic, must-haves for employers and HR leaders in navigating the future, and more.

Co-working spaces have evolved after the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has altered every employee's way of working, habits, and lifestyle, and has emerged as the chief designer of future office spaces. Co-working spaces have emerged as the best mode for adopting a hybrid model at offices in this new working environment. Co-working is primed and ready for another evolution, as COVID-19 fuelled knowledge workers' desire for more flexibility in terms of where and how they work.

The following are the three advancements that the coworking concept will see in the coming decade:

  • Co-working in the workplace - Open space layouts with a wide variety of seating options (single desks, communal tables, lounge areas, etc.) and more focus on networking and community building.
  • Co-working and flexible suites - Usually offers more privacy with designated seating options. Like coworking spaces, these have open-concept areas with shared amenities but the emphasis is more on dedicated space for each business.
  • Co-working in the community - This basically refers to the collaborative spirit that workers in coworking spaces have. It is all about sharing experiences and responsibilities, and participating in all sorts of events.

Finally, we can say that the rate at which this evolution continues is unknown, but coworking spaces will undoubtedly grow in popularity, becoming strong, essential components that support a company's business and facility needs.

Employees have been reskilled to keep up with changes

In most organisations, reskilling and upskilling go hand in hand. Several reskilling programmes were launched during the pandemic to help organisations build a workforce that is agile enough to adapt to the ever-changing world. The reskilling programmes were mostly focused towards preparing employees for post-pandemic scenarios by training them in critical digital technologies – cloud, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), cybersecurity, Internet of Things (IoT), etc. There were more online training programmes to keep in line with the COVID-19 restrictions.

Additionally, companies used innovative ways to keep their employees engaged during these training programmes like animation, app-based training, experiential learning, social learning, interactive training, etc.

Overall, the shift was seen towards skill development, which is also a top priority at present.

Technologies are now must-haves for the future of work

As technology becomes an ever-increasing part of our lives, companies all over the world are looking for tech experts. The following are the essential technology skills that will prepare an individual for the future of work:

  • Software development and programming
  • Machine learning and artificial intelligence
  • Data visualisation and analytics
  • Cloud computing
  • DevOps

Along with all of these technical skills, one should be fluent in his or her soft skills, which allows you to articulate your ideas well, influence others, earn trust and drive meaningful change within the team, all of which contribute as an important factor to get ready for the future of work.

Addressing challenges in managing a virtual workforce

Working in a virtual environment is here to stay and many surveys indicate that it will continue in the long run. Even in the best of circumstances, managing a team is a difficult task and managing a workforce in virtual environments can be even more difficult. To elaborate, some of the key challenges that employers and HR face are as follows:

  • Poor communication among the remote teams due to time zone discrepancies, cultural differences, lack of visual cues and gestures, etc.
  • Managing remote projects and tasks as some of the team members might not be equipped with all the latest tech tools to carry out a specific task.
  • Nurturing the remote team relationship between the employees and their managers to overcome the challenge of remote and hybrid working. It is very important to incorporate a sense of belonging within the team so that people can bond with one another.
  • Lack of focus, productivity and accountability of the employees.

To address the aforementioned challenges, employers and HR leaders must develop strong project management skills and employ simpler tools. They should also encourage interaction among team members and ensure that everyone is held accountable for their actions that result in desired results.

Keeping the remote workforce protected

Data security and privacy are the first and foremost concerns for any organisation, and it is not incorrect to state that remote working presents unique security challenges for each organisation. A company can take various measures and implement some tips and tricks to keep the work environment safe and secure. One of the most important steps a company can take is to implement a "zero-trust" culture within the organisation.

Using multi-factor authentication, and always cross-checking and verifying the identities of employees before granting them access to any files in the system are some of the best practices. Companies should establish and enforce a data security policy, which results in frequent network security system updates. They should deploy end-point security by providing employees with the right tools and technology and regulating the use of personal devices.


Photo / Provided {Pictured: Janet Paul, the author of this piece) 

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