The future of work and predictions

Male sneakers on the asphalt road with yellow line and title Future. Step into the future.

Undeniably, the workplace has undergone one of the largest transformations since the industrial revolution. This article explores how organisations can proactively adapt to future challenges by putting their people at the centre and adopting innovative, evidence-based approaches. From the impact of socio-economic forces to the benefits of new work models, we discuss why prioritising workplace experience and employee health is not just ethical, but essential for long-term success.

Navigating a non-linear future

Predicting the future of work is complex, but we can adopt a proactive and curious mindset to navigate it. One thing for sure, is that the future of work will not follow a linear path, and our current tools and methods may not solve the questions we are yet to encounter. However, by putting employees at the centre of our vision, building around them and viewing work as a purposeful experience, we can create environments that foster both wellbeing and business success.

The link between employee wellbeing, happiness and company performance is clear, highlighting the importance of this approach.

The central role of people

What is becoming more and more clear, is that the future of work will be closely aligned with people.  This will result in understanding the role that the workplace has in navigating social changes becoming increasingly important and accordingly this will present as an enabler to overcome some of the challenges to people’s wellbeing.

Consequently, a long-term strategy to understand some of the largest inhibitors of work and wellbeing is required. Some examples of these inhibitors have already been reported, with the future generation of workers highly likely to have a marked increase in screen time, notifications and a trend towards a more introverted society where we have reduced some of our typical ways of social connection, all resulting in a feeling of overwhelm.

Optimising performance through evidence-based approaches

To navigate this future, organisations should adopt approaches commonly used to optimise performance, a staple part of the elite sporting world where high-performance is the ultimate goal.  More specifically, getting to the root cause of issues and testing and evaluating solutions quickly is crucial.

For instance, instead of addressing only the symptoms of a problem, identifying underlying causes can lead to more effective solutions. This evidence-based, proactive approach, where innovation and rapid testing are key, can be highly effective in the workplace and the bedrock to creating high-quality workplace experience.

By understanding the root causes of organisational wellbeing and experience issues, we can implement effective strategies, test them, and measure their success. Taking this a step further, the personalisation of support and offer flexible work options tailored to employee needs can significantly enhance workplace wellbeing and as a downstream effect, business performance (more on this below).

The business case for prioritising wellbeing

It’s not just the business performance or ethical factors that should convince leaders that workplace experience and employee wellbeing must be prioritised.  Macro- and socio-economic forces are driving the future of work, including government policy makers prioritising wellbeing, institutional investor influence on both investment and corporate strategies, evolving reporting standards, and shifting employee expectations. Collectively, these movements create an undeniable business case and emphasise the importance of creating supportive, flexible, and healthy work environments.

The impact of emerging work models

Emerging data shows our new ways of working (hybrid, remote, flexible etc) are not negatively impacting performance and a strong link between employee wellbeing and business performance has been presented.

To this point, studies have demonstrated that happier employees are more productive, and organisations with higher wellbeing scores perform better in the stock market, have higher customer satisfaction scores, and have better staff retention rates. Investing in people has never had a stronger business case. In this sense, putting measures in place to support workers should not be seen as a cost but rather as a critical investment.

Moving forward, the cost of neglecting employee wellbeing, limits an organisation’s ability to attract and retain top talent, especially in today’s competitive landscape where quality workplaces and experiences are highly sought after. Businesses that fail to prioritise their employees’ are likely to struggle to keep up, ultimately affecting their long-term success and sustainability.

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