COVID-19 and the acceleration of the Future of Work has been saved
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A few months ago, I co-wrote an article for an HR publication on the opportunities that the Future of Work afforded those leading global mobility teams. At the time of writing the article, although COVID-19 was clearly a major issue for many parts of the world, particularly Asia, the impact and resulting country lockdowns across Europe, the Americas and Africa had yet to take full effect.
How long ago those early months of 2020 now feel! Due to the pandemic, many of us have adapted to a life of remote-working, virtual collaboration and distanced business relationships. Over the course of a few short weeks we altered our working lives, and effectively realigned working practices in line with many of the facets associated with the Future of Work. I think we can state with greater conviction than ever that the Future of Work is now!
In the article, we discussed the three dimensions of the Future of Work – the work we do, the workforce and the workplace.
Other than those who have been furloughed or taken similar Government-supported temporary leave from their jobs, the workforce has remained intact, although the work they do may involve slightly different duties from their pre-COVID-19 roles, and how they approach it has certainly changed markedly.
The workplace has of course been the major change as we battle for the best Wi-Fi spots in our homes; contend with children, pets, the allure of the fridge (!) and a myriad of other distractions, to keep our focus on the job at hand.
As we reflect on how quickly we have normalised our new work locations and practices, it is apparent that changes that might have taken us many months, even years, to assimilate in ‘normal times’, have been significantly accelerated due to COVID-19.
At Deloitte, we are helping clients navigate the challenges of managing their HR and global mobility programmes in the COVID-19 world using the following three-phased framework:
I am sure these phases will resonate with you. We initially reacted to the situation, ensuring the safety and ongoing wellbeing of our people, putting in place working practices to keep our newly remote workforce on track, feeling supported, and able to work as effectively as possible.
As time goes on, and we emerge from the respond phase, we are able to reflect on the lessons from that period, develop a more agile and digital mind-set, and better understand how the experience will help shape our approach as we move forward.
Ultimately, we will emerge from the COVID-19 experience. The emphasis will turn to the future, and armed with enhanced resilience and confidence, born out of this experience, we will emerge fully equipped to embrace a new future in which we can evolve and thrive.
Although you may not openly acknowledge it now, throughout your experience of the pandemic you have been equipping yourself with the skills and capabilities required to be a true champion of the Future of Work.
Important as it is, this isn’t a result of simply adopting new digital capabilities - through virtual collaboration and learning, and remote service delivery - but in developing true resilience from facing the multiple challenges thrown at you daily, and navigating them in an agile and focused manner.
Those working in global mobility are used to managing challenges across multiple geographies and stakeholders as ‘business as usual’, whilst always keeping your cohort of employees as your central focus. Doing so during a pandemic has undoubtedly tested your abilities to the max, but also magnified your skills, enhanced your capabilities, and proved your ability to adapt quickly to swiftly changing circumstances.
Through this experience you have not only equipped yourself for what comes next, but have also created the foundation from which to develop the future of mobility.
Accept the challenge and thrive.
Read our article in International HR Adviser on the opportunities for global mobility in the Future of Work here: IHRA - The Future of Work - A Perfect Opportunity For Global Mobility
Read Deloitte’s COVID-19 related global insights here: Deloitte - Combating COVID-19 with Resilience
Danny is a Director in Deloitte’s Global Workforce team, leading our global mobility technology advisory service, consulting with clients on global mobility technology strategy, business travel services, data analytics and innovation. Danny has 30 years’ experience in the global mobility technology and analytics area, and has worked with clients across all market sectors advising on, developing and delivering innovative technology and data analytics services. He also writes and presents on various global mobility related topics.