The future of work: how to enhance the employee experience?


For some time now, technology has been one of the main factors responsible for the reconfigurations that are taking place in the work universe, especially at the present time, when the remote work and the intense digitalization of processes have entered this equation, anticipating the future of work. But not everyone was prepared for this, and as automation came together with a strong economic crisis, many people were destabilized, financially and mentally.

The data do not let us lie: a study conducted by Rio de Janeiro State University (UERJ) shows that the cases of depression increased 90% between March and April 2020. But, after all, what is the role of brands in this context of transformations and apprehensions? And what can they do to enhance the experience of employees, helping them with future adaptations? This is what we will check out next! 

How is the employee experience being transformed?

We would like to, but we cannot understand the market trends without going through the impacts brought by the pandemic. After all, it was due to social distancing measures to combat the spread of Covid-19 that remote work, flexible working hours, and process automation have been massively implemented last year. And then everyone, to a greater or lesser extent, had to adapt.

To get an idea, a survey published by McKinsey, in February 2021, has shown that 20 to 25% of the workforce in countries with advanced economies may adopt remote work at least 3 to 5 times a week. And while several workers have been deemed essential, operating under strict safety protocols, thousands more have been relocated. So many changes and uncertainties have damaged the mental health of many people. In Brazil, the study by UERJ showed that, besides the increase in cases of depression, the number of people with symptoms of acute stress and anxiety crisis more than doubled between March and April 2020. According to researchers from Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, the triggering factors include the fear of unemployment and of contagion from the disease.

But how to ensure the team’s well-being in this so-called future of work?

First, it is necessary to understand the role of brands when fast adaptation becomes essential to survive and excel in a scenario of such abrupt transformations. As McKinsey’s researchers point out, companies can analyze what skills they need to develop among their employees and, based on this, facilitate training. They must also offer a strong and welcoming corporate culture.

“Initially, we focused on productivity as a result of the success or failure of remote work. While we have found that most workers can be productive while working remotely, over time, people have begun to report a decline in their sense of belonging,” shared the design and innovation consultancy team of Accenture in the Fjord Trends 2021 report. 

Thinking about this scenario of so many transformations, our team gathered some ideas to show how brands can and should help their employees to adapt and keep productivity in the future of work. Want to know how? Check out our insights!

Adopt flexibility and dialog as core values

How many times have you stayed in the office just to fulfill your hours of work? Remote working offers opportunities for companies to rethink their working hours, making them more flexible. Thus, people can not only enjoy the day in the most productive manner for them, but can also organize themselves to reconcile their professional tasks with personal and family care routines – an important requirement in remote work, especially for moms and dads on duty.

But for this to work, companies need to provide a culture of dialog and essential resources, such as office equipment, a good Internet connection, and applications. At the American newspaper Financial Times, teams relied on task management and corporate communication tools, such as Slack, to dialogue between different shifts. “We need to figure out how to make progress asynchronously,” the newspaper’s technical director, Sarah Wells, told us.

Facilitate career transitions  

McKinsey’s research also pointed out that, in the coming years, the mix of occupations in the labor market may change, as the technologies that have been adopted in recent months may give rise to new occupations, requiring employees to develop other skills.

The point is that professionals who are less able to deal with these new developments may be at a disadvantage. But, as the consultancy’s researchers shared, “companies and governments have shown great flexibility and adaptability to respond to the pandemic with purpose and innovation; values they can also leverage to retool the workforce in ways that point to a better future.” 

A company that has already followed this path is Amazon, which, last year, launched Upskilling 2025. The six-year program will invest over 700 million Dollars to train 100,000 employees, which corresponds to a third of the “Amazonians” community. The initiative will include administrative sectors, technology hubs, service centers, stores, and transportation networks.

As we have seen, the pandemic has accelerated a number of trends for the future of work, requiring companies to incorporate remote work and adapt their physical spaces to provide greater security. The point is that the changes need to go beyond the offices and Zoom’s screen: at a time of so many uncertainties and adaptations, brands must rethink their cultures and attributions, supporting their employees. 

By welcoming subjectivities and empowering employees, companies can build better experiences for their teams, becoming more productive and resilient to face the new challenges ahead. Let’s do it together?

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