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Goodbye, 9 to 5? Office life in the year 2030

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22 Oct 2019

Change is the only constant, as the saying goes. Here are the new practices that might soon become common, as companies evolve into better, more innovative workplaces.

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Unusual offices and the online workplace

Who says that offices will even exist in a decade? With telecommuting and the internet, a future where team members hardly meet in person seems highly likely. As work moves online and across borders, anywhere with an internet connection will be a workplace.

In one global study, 44 per cent of employers rated changing work environments and flexible arrangements as the top driver of workplace change. Many are already feeling the positive impact. Technology has enabled businesses to increasingly engage with overseas colleagues or contractors, as work gets redefined as what people do, and not where they do it.

For offices that do persist, many will boast lush greenery, striking interiors and collaborative floor plans. Standard Chartered’s office in Bangalore, for example, features cutting-edge technology and design features. These include smart meeting rooms, flexible work areas and biophilic environments (connecting staff to nature) to inspire the game-changing ideas and culture that we stand for.

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Taking “flexible” to the next level

By now, flexible work options are nothing new to most companies. Yet, employees — and women in particular — often worry about taking them up at the risk of negative judgement.

Such concerns can stop employees from optimising their work-life balance. Dubbed the “motherhood penalty“, stereotyping working mothers as being less committed or competent has been shown to have negative impacts on a woman’s hiring and promotion potential. This also widens wage gaps between men and women, as well as between working women with and without children.

Lanis Yarzab, LinkedIn’s Head of Sales, North East Asia, Talent Solutions, says, “Most people who make unhelpful comments, or do not support initiatives, don’t realise they do it. I personally believe a number of men would like to take more time off [work] for family-related activities but it may not be the norm; so creating an inclusive environment so everyone feels comfortable to put family first is important.” In fact, encouraging more men to take up flexible work arrangements could be the first step to a more inclusive workplace.

To help make their hours work better for employees, teams may more deeply incorporate flexible work into their culture. Some organisations are already stepping away from defining regular workdays and some offer unlimited leave. Others are implementing a results-oriented work environment to empower employees to prioritise output over hours. Employees have found this autonomy empowering, particularly the feeling of trust that employees will keep their team’s best interests at heart.

This is something that Lanis confirms. “Happy teams produce results and it is easier to hold them accountable for their results. A colleague once said to me, ‘When you have strong relationships with each member of your team and when you are falling short; I guarantee they will walk through fire for you.’ I have personally found this to be true.”

Your workday, your rules

With the growing mobility and flexibility of work, most of us might be saying goodbye to 9 to 5 workdays soon. Here’s what your workday might look like instead.

Your workday, your rules

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