The Future of Work is HereBy Sofía Hanna | Fri, 05/28/2021 - 13:17
You can watch the video of this panel here.
The digital industrial revolution has been coming for a long time, but the pandemic greatly accelerated this transition. As the world is forced to adopt technology at an ever-faster rate, experts came together to discuss the transition towards a more agile world during the “The Future of Work” panel, held at Mexico Business Forum 2021 Virtual Edition.
“It is no longer enough to set companies’ goals for the far-off future. Now companies have to discuss how their situation might change in a maximum of one year,” said Jorge Ponga, Partner at Humanólogo Consulting. “The biggest challenge we are facing has been coming for a long time, but it was accelerated by the pandemic; the digital industrial revolution has brought a more agile world.” For a successful transition, companies must consider the three “W”s. First, the ‘work’ that is necessary and taking place, supported by joint intelligence. Second, prioritizing the ‘workforce’ by addressing the strengths of collaborators, super collaborators, super teams and super jobs. Finally, transforming ‘workplace’ to allow companies to capitalize on the digital transformation.
“There are have been many challenges but those obstacles can be turned into opportunities,” said Liliana Gómez, Area Director at WeWork. To do so, “you have to review relationships within your working life and see how everything is being rethought to know what is expected of workspaces,” said Gómez. Companies can have their own flexible model, they have to be aware that teamwork has changed and the key is to ask questions all the time to see if the transformation is going the right way, she explained.
Through this transformation, the first challenge is to make employees feel comfortable and not threatened by the digital transformation, explained Santiago Gutierrez, VP of Mexico, Central America & Caribbean at Pearson. “All economic sectors have been changed by technology forcefully, so employees should not feel threatened by the impressive speed at which changes are happening. The opportunities generated are gigantic, starting with the fact that companies can get global talent that was not so viable before.”
“Human beings are at the beginning and the end of any company,” said Federico Cerdas, CEO of Global Businesses Inc. But this can also be a challenge: “The greatest challenge is helping employees adapt to this reality. Companies have to see how they adapt to work online and combine it with life at home. Governments have to ensure that work activities are lawfully adopted and regulated.” In this sense, Cerdas suggested companies to find ways to and tools that allow collaborators to continue working at home, such as paying for their internet. Finally, Cerdas added that there is another opportunity supporting a company’s cultural exchange remotely as previously this was only achieved in person. “We have to understand how to exchange perspectives online,” said Cerdas.
The global crisis broke paradigms in companies, starting with the home office, explained Alma Rosa García Puig, CEO of Great Place to Work. “Personal and work spheres came together as the entire office entered your house. The challenge came from trying to find a new balance of work and personal life.” However, García identified advantages in the new model, such as that “people now work more and are more productive.” The challenge, however, remains helping them remain motivated. She suggests doing so by “transforming the way you communicate, set boundaries between work and home and put the employee at the center of the equation.
Francisco Ruiz, Knowledge Management Manager at Tecnatom, added that companies are now obliged to adapt. “It is now necessary to live with uncertainty and insecurity; there is no adaptation without learning. Learning must be our best competence today and our main concern must be to learn to adapt.” However, the digital transformation is giving companies the opportunity to do so, explained Ruiz. “Now, we have a universe of learning high-quality opportunities because technology allows us to learn from the best within reach of two clicks. We can improve performance and do so with quality thanks to technology.”
Engagement takes on more relevance when employees work remotely, highlighted Gutierrez. “We have to create a comfortable and safe environment for workers. If work continues at employees’ homes, this environment must be achieved,” he said. He urged companies to observe employee’s KPIs and help them understand their role within their team. García Puig added that it is necessary to generate committed employees in an environment of uncertainty: “to the extent that the company puts the employee at the center, it gives it better profitability. If the company is committed to the welfare of the employee, the employee will do the same.”
“Companies have to start putting the human being at their core,” agreed Ruiz. “Believing that the mission is greater than the person, allows the collaborator to become intertwined with the company. In addition, personal growth, good salaries, motivation and professional growth will allow companies to get 100 percent of their employees.”
The pandemic accelerated everything and brought opportunities to improve work, automate processes, access information in real-time, make decisions in a more agile way, added Mendéz. “There are many opportunities that the industry has at this time, and it must be considered what changes must be made to take advantage of all of them.”
“Obstacles have turned into opportunities, and, in the end, invention helped to redefine concepts such as commitment. We have to put ourselves in a place where we are not comfortable. Put yourself to the test during the digital shift and change workplaces. The knowledge we have acquired is not enough; it must be enhanced and exploited,” said Ponga.