Last month we reflected on the role artificial intelligence will play in the future for employees in the workplace. Today, we continue with additional changes that we can expect in the coming years – and some advice on how to manage them.
1. Remote work and flexible arrangements
While the pandemic accelerated the adoption of remote work and flexible work arrangements which gives employees some new freedoms. Those arrangements also presents unique challenges. Employees must develop effective time management skills and work-life balance. The ability to communicate and collaborate effectively in virtual environments has become an important skill that employers and employees must focus on. Also, addressing boundaries between work and personal life is a challenge, especially for those who work from home and cannot dedicate a space for working. To overcome isolation and maintain mental well-being while working remotely it is important to stay engaged with the workplace and feel fulfilled.
As our reliance on digital platforms and remote work increases, so does the need for robust cybersecurity measures. Employees must be vigilant about data and privacy and online security. Cyber threats like phishing attacks, ransomware and identity theft are on the rise. It is crucial to follow best practices for cybersecurity such as using strong passwords, enabling two-factor authentication and being cautious of suspicious emails or links. For employers, managing security for remote workers is more of a challenge. Keeping employees educated and informed on a regular basis has become necessary.
3. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)
With the increase in remote work, employers can hire from virtually anywhere. This will likely create a more diverse workforce. It is happening within my own organization. As such, the future workplace demands a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion. Modern employees will be more successful by fostering an inclusive work environment, promoting diversity and advocating for equity.
Embracing diversity in all its forms enables organizations to tap into a wider range of perspectives and ideas, leading to innovation and better decision-making. Artificial intelligence plays a role here as well as AI, for example, can be used to eliminate bias in the recruitment process by removing subjective information such as names and addresses. AI can also help to form diverse teams by matching candidates with the right
role based on their qualifications and experience. Employers and employees should educate themselves about unconscious bias, develop cultural competence and actively contribute to creating an inclusive workplace where everyone feels valued and respected.
4. Mental health and well-being
As noted above, being isolated often creates its own issues that must be addressed. That’s on top of mental-health cases being near epidemic levels across the U.S. While employers can help, employees must prioritize their own mental health and well-being. The future workplace should foster a culture that supports work-life balance, provides resources for managing stress, and promotes employee well-being. Employers should invest in mental health initiatives, such as access to counseling services, mindfulness programs and flexible working hours to ensure a healthier and more productive workforce. Employees: take advantage of the opportunities for improved mental health.
As we entered the 2020s, there was still room for workers who had not yet embraced common technologies such as email, the web, social media, artificial intelligence and so on. These jobs have almost all but disappeared. There is barely a job available that does not require some use of sort of technology. We have all likely seen organizations hang on to long-term employees who can barely navigate a computer screen or need emails printed out. AI will be of minimal help here considering a basic level of tech aptitude will be needed to access AI. Employees need to take advantage of opportunities to upskill themselves both on the job and at home. Meanwhile, tech natives: you may know how to use technology, but do you practice established business etiquette and protocols?
As the future unfolds, employees must embrace change and actively address the challenges that lie ahead. By staying informed about emerging trends, upskilling, adapting to new technologies, prioritizing cybersecurity, fostering diversity and inclusion and nurturing their mental well-being, individuals can thrive in the evolving workplace. The future belongs to those who are agile, adaptable and willing to continuously learn and grow. With the right mindset and proactive approach, employees can seize the opportunities presented by the shifting landscape and build successful and fulfilling careers.
Tina Hamilton is president and CEO of myHR Partner Inc., a Lehigh Valley human resources outsourcing firm that manages HR for clients in 34 states. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally published in the Allentown Morning Call on August 4, 2023