New ways of working and learning: The workforce in 2016

Work from homeWith Australia’s unemployment rate at 5.8%, we’re at a 19-month low jobless rate whilst going through a major transformation in the world of work.

There’s never been a better time for companies to automate, modernise and lead in 2016.

Let’s take a look at seven new ways of working and learning to show you why.

#1: Online work is growing in popularity

Interestingly, Australia is spending more than any other country adopting online work, rapidly embracing new tech innovations, according to trend research from Odesk.  By 2018, the online work industry in Australia will be worth US$5billion.  Freelance work is on the rise too – in Australia alone, it increased by 269% in two years.

These figures prove that the concept of ‘work’ is no longer a place.  The trend of more flexible and ad-hoc work seems to be led by neither organisation nor employee exclusively, but as a joint movement.  The flexible arrangements allows employers access to lower costs and candidates looking for less stringent arrangements for employers, while also providing employees who would otherwise be over-looked more chances to work.

#2: Flexible working environments, work-life balance

Evolution in work place technology is constant.  Faster internet, powerful smartphones, better video and text chatting software and improved CRMs are collectively making it easier for employers to be more flexible in their working patterns.  As a result, workplaces will become more distributed with remote workers, and employees working from home, becoming a more common practice.

#3: More startups and small businesses

Both unemployed young people and the older generations looking for post-career alternative working options are pushing a new movement of startup businesses.  Global migration will also play a role in shaping the skilled workforce, especially in multinational companies and growth industries.  There will also be a reduced need for office staff, particularly with software capable of handling more menial administrative procedures and an increase in outsourcing.

#4: Technology will continue to advance, changing the work landscape

James Kissell, ANZ’s Strategy Director said many of the trends we can expect in 2016 are merely a continuation of the technological advances we’ve seen in over the past few years, such as cloud technology and automation.

Cloud-based services, real-time processes, automation and data sharing are four key technology trends believed to drive workforce management advancement this year.  In a practical sense, this means we’ll see smart devices, video, augmented reality and interactive technology used in induction, training and upskilling.  Productivity will increase and communication will be easier, especially for remote employees and entrepreneurs.

#5: Simplification of work

According to a recent study by Deloitte, overwhelmed employees has been an emerging trend.  Leaders surveyed believe that there needs to be a focus on simplifying work so that staff feel less stress, as we enter an era where it is critical that we think about “doing less, better” rather than “doing more with less.”

#6: Micro-Learning will improve skills 

By 2025, in less than 10 years, millennials will make up 75% of the workforce.  And before they enter the workforce, the education sector will skill them.  Today’s workers are becoming “modern learners” – only dedicating 1% of their work week to professional development and learning.

Micro-learning brings back the small wins, mapping learning moments.  It deals with relatively small learning units and short-term learning activities.  Instead of trying to block out chunks of time, we’ll continually consume information and skilfully repackage in shorter formats – via YouTube videos, short quizzes, flashcard learning, infographics, podcasts etc.

#7: Plan your workforce for growth

One factor remaining unchanged is the need for workforce planning.  Organisations and industry sectors with workforce strategies will support and manage future changes with a preventative action plan.

For emerging jobs, this means identifying talent capable of driving and leading change, and assigning those talents to innovative roles to find new strategies for growth.

An effective workforce plan is the key to successful organisational and industry transformation.  Workforce Blueprint can assist you to design a practical workforce plan and if you’d like to have a chat about we can help, please contact Wendy via wendy@workforceblueprint.com.au.

January 2016

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