The Future of Work is now

We often wonder what the future of work looks like as we navigate our way through changing cultural norms and the advent of emerging technologies. After all, the average person spends 90,000 hours of their lives at work![1] At the recent ServiceNow Future of Work Tour in Singapore 2019, the region’s top business leaders, executives, and CIOs came together to discuss how harnessing new technologies has enabled them to transform business operations across every corner of the enterprise. Here’s what we learnt.

The future will be defined by the consumerisation of the enterprise

In the past 10 years, the consumer world has drastically changed, in part thanks to the launch of the iPhone, which literally put the power into the hands of the consumers. iPhone in hand, consumers were able to seamlessly have dinner delivered to their home, order an Uber to take them to the airport, or watch the latest Netflix movie on demand.

In the enterprise, a similar shift in how we’re changing life at work is taking place. What would happen if we gave you technology in a simple, easy, consumer-friendly way – what could you do with it, where could you go with it? Imagine if technology in our work life was this intuitive – where paying a work invoice was as easy as paying a personal bill with a simple click of the phone as easy as booking a Grab ride.

To remain competitive, it is crucial that organizations tap into this trend of streamlining every-day mundane tasks at work to unlock productivity and increase engagement. By utilizing one platform that connects departments like IT, HR, facilities, and legal, businesses can hide the complexity of back-end processes, meaning they can offer employees easy, on-the-go experiences at work. Essentially, digital workflow solutions have the power to facilitate efficient work processes, wherever the employee may be working from.

The workforce of the future expects great employee experiences

In order for businesses to be successful, Chief Human Resource Officers need to focus on transforming the employee experience through innovative technologies that increase productivity, improve corporate results, and engage workers. In fact, our CHRO global survey suggests that improving the employee experience with personalized, predictive and seamless digital technologies is heavily linked with the war for talent – both in terms of attraction and retention.

It’s a well-known fact that Gen Z-ers will soon overtake the millennial generation as the largest cohort in the workplace, already accounting for 30-percent of the resident population in Singapore. As digital natives who weren’t taught cursive but can speed-type with their thumbs, Gen Z-ers seek mobile-friendly experiences and expect instantaneous answers. In fact our recent Gen Z survey revealed that 69-percent believe work life should be as easy as home life when using technology. So, in a world where there are significantly more mobile connections than people, it’s critical that businesses make the future of work mobile-friendly. To stay ahead of the curve, enterprises must acknowledge these new expectations and adapt their practices and strategies accordingly to attract and retain the future workforce.

Technology is the key enabler and should not be feared as a job destroyer

These days, firms are transitioning to an era of ‘scale insurgency’ where scale, speed and intimacy are core themes for business growth. Technology should be viewed as a key enabler that streamlines and improves our work and should not be feared as a threat or a job destroyer.

For example, conversations around the rise of ‘cobots’, or collaborative robots should not be viewed as a means to take the place of humans but rather, to work alongside them. These ‘intelligent agents’ are capable of interpreting and analysing volumes of data that humans are unable to thereby significantly improving our daily work routines. They can decipher emails, flag important tasks, and even unsubscribe from newsfeeds that we never open. Ultimately, behind each piece of automation is a human who made it happen and runs it.

Through emerging technologies such as machine learning and predictive intelligence, hundreds upon thousands of manual tasks can be automatically categorised, prioritised and assigned more effectively and quickly – optimising and improving processes across the work chain. Over time, the needs of the workers and customers can be personalised too, as the machines pick up on the routines and adjust accordingly.

Embrace the opportunities of the future

The needs of workers can be served in a better and more productive manner through digital transformation. Rather than fear it, embrace the opportunities for your company to drive greater business growth and for your employees to grow their careers.

Just as technology has improved multiple facets in our everyday lives, it can similarly do so in the workplace. We are now at a tipping point where increasingly, enterprises are beginning to realise and understand how digital transformation can serve as a better alternative towards solving existing workflow issues. The convergence of new technologies is transforming the way we work – driving efficiencies and enhancing competitive advantage for companies. The future of work is now and it’s about time we embrace it.

[1] 2 August, 2018, Business Insider Singapore, 17 seriously disturbing facts about your job