Future of Work – Towards A Sustainable Future

With an increasing demand for green economy and the acceleration in technology adoption, there has never been a more pressing need for businesses and individuals to reposition and reskill in order to adapt to the transforming corporate world.

Rethink Sustainability

The pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges forcing many businesses to rethink and transform current operations as we adjust in this new normal. From remote working, digitising work processes to investing in IT infrastructure – reshaping a future new world of work.

At this significant juncture of change, sustainability should be the core of our recovery plans to change the way forward. While planning is underway, companies must first identify any critical processes or resources in its business risks assessment to examine the level of threats and vulnerabilities that may impact the push towards a digitalised world.

Diversification of Workforce and Talent Shift

Moving in tandem with digital transformation and a growing population, a shift in the demographic profiling of our workforce towards greater diversity is likely to be seen. More homemakers, students or retirees could join the workforce on interim basis especially in some industries that have difficulties in securing adequate manpower to perform tasks.

This is a good phenomenon as a wider distribution of workload amongst the working population can be shared and hopefully, a better work-life balance for all.

The consolation is that some jobs of tomorrow may not be apparent now but will evolve as work and buying habits change over time. This also creates career opportunities for those who are adaptable and willing to learn new skill sets as more job-sharing opportunities will be available.

Digitalisation of Work

Now, work can be carried out anywhere 24/7 with the adoption of technological tools such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Optical Character Reader, Data Analytics software and more. The use of these tools significantly improves the quality of work performed. For instance, allowing convenient access to data that was once inaccessible that hindered the accountant/auditor from providing insights on risk areas.

When circuit breaker was implemented during the pandemic, the need to work remotely was a wake-up call to many organisations which rushed to invest in technological tools to tide through the crisis. A well laid-out business continuity plan emphasises the need to invest in IT infrastructure instead of relying solely on human capital hence the pre-requisite to a successful business transformation.

Business transformation requires digitisation of work processes and an eco-system to support digitalisation. In most organisations, the most challenging task is to get the buy-in of key stakeholders and engagement of the staff in supporting the transformation roadmap. Otherwise, this is the key ingredient to a successful transformation journey coupled with a culture of innovation and collaboration.

Change Management

While an increasing demand for larger residential space and downsizing of office space has been observed over the past year, a physical office is proven nonetheless essential to facilitate meaningful “pantry” discussions, promote community camaraderie thus provide an inspiring environment for creative thinking and inculcate innovative mindset. Therefore, it is not about changing of space but changing the mind of the people on why social interaction helps in achieving work objectives.

The shift in the mode of working and changing needs of various stakeholders becomes crucial to having a properly managed change management strategy. When business is interrupted, we  also need to take into consideration the human roadmap and cater to the need of the employees in overcoming the fear to re-skill and provide the necessary infrastructure to help them thrive and succeed in their career.

Being open to collaboration with parties internally or out of the organisation and tapping on the expertise and strengths of each other to identify new market and service offerings are new ways to business survival. It is only when we have a culture of an innovative and collaborative mindset that we can stay competitive and for our organisation to thrive.

The Power of Alliances

Although the pandemic has caused major disruptions on a global scale, it has also created giant ripples which pushed us harder and further in our path towards a digitalised world.

The lack of appropriate resources and adequate technical expertise, an increasing trend of partnership and collaboration is observed amongst the Small and Medium-Sized Entities (SMEs), which resort to relying on each other’s strengths for the exchange of ideas and sharing of pain-points.

SMEs, regardless of their size and business nature, need to hop onto the technological bandwagon and leverage on the collaboration platform to share their problem statements and seek solutions, tapping on the available grants to go digital and source for partners to grow globally.

One way of doing this, and to keep up with the big players in the market, smaller entities may consider collaborating with educational institutions, associations or fintech start-ups to experiment and explore alternatives to automate.


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