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What does it require to adapt to new ways of working?

If you thought the Industrial Revolution of the late 1700s and 1800s was the most significant innovative movement the world has seen, think again.

We live in a time of an information revolution, where fundamental changes to the way we live, and work takes place at a rapid pace. Yet still, organisations are applying industrial age working practices to the new information age work patterns. Many organisations adhere to hierarchical command systems when things have evolved to networking individuals and self-employed entrepreneurs. The changes currently taking place due to this current revolution is bringing as much difference in a decade as was spread over a century last time. The only way for organisations to stay relevant and survive is to adapt to this new revolution.

So, what exactly spurs these changes? The world is currently facing a pandemic and doomed as it sounds there are valuable positives that we can take from this situation. Despite the devastating effects of Covid-19 in short to medium term, the long-term effects will be revolutionary for the banking world.​

Having a competitive edge and wanting to be ahead of the rest has always been the driving force of most organisations in an ever-dynamic environment. Covid-19 disrupted the traditional way of working and forced us to get out of our comfort zone and implement what we have all been preaching for a while now. The 4th Industrial Revolution, which speaks to a digitalised driven era of technology, new skills, data analytics, robotics, etc., are now our new reality. It is no longer a far-fetched concept, but an authentic and tangible one. Covid-19 has forced the global corporate world to implement and fast track digitalisation, information flow, data management, service delivery, etc., quicker than what was anticipated. Together with customer expectations and the need to be agile in serving clients in changing circumstances, this will only improve efficiency on how we do things and service delivery, which will enhance profits margins.

There is no denying that our day and age call for new ways of working to stay competitive in the market. Various new working patterns in organisations may include:

  • Flexible working – allow employees to structure their 8 hours as best as it suits both the employee and the organisation.
  • Working remotely– find ways of measuring productivity as well as ensuring that employees don't now live at work (working way beyond the regular hours). Provide clear guidelines on how to work remotely and the necessary tools.
  • Smart working - allowing employees to work from wherever is convenient for them, allowing them flexibility in their work area and time, if they are productive.
  • Changing cultures – Communicating what is expected from staff in the new normal is key as silence breeds unnecessary confusion. Change must cascade from the top; therefore, leaders must influence the culture from the top.

These new ways of working can only be done if organisations provide the necessary tools for work to be done and investigate new innovative ways of improving and digitising processes where possible. It produces several advantages, such as:

  • HR minimising the exchange of paperwork and encouraging their customers to deliver documents digitally where possible.
  • Training interventions are 90% virtual and 10% in person.
  • Online events include entire organisational staff, instead of only some segments.
  • Encouraging the use of data through mobile phones to avoid face value sessions has increased service delivery and efficiency.
  • Remote working and staff rotation saved companies significant amounts.

Adaptation is essential in a new working environment. We need to learn how to improvise and overcome to survive this new digitally driven era which requires new capacities and capabilities. Disruption is the order of the day in this new world, and organisations and individuals need to be prepared for it. Organisations must be reactive and proactive to remain relevant, and a problem solver and specific skills can prepare them to be future-focused. Individuals must do a self-assessment and identify the skills that will be required soon. These skills do not necessarily mean it will involve their current field, but the exploration of skills will provide more leverage and opportunity to survive the transformation. Skills evolve, and therefore one needs to always look out for any updates in their profession. Updating your skills also gives you the confidence to perform and deliver on your role. It is also not always as daunting as it seems. 

It is reported that virtual learning has decreased face to face learning costs by at least 30%. There are vast online training offerings and exploring the internet and platforms such as YouTube can open horizons and create windows to new opportunities and skills. Typical less time-consuming methods such as Innovation and Creativity Sprints is a great way of acquiring new skills. Some of the skills deemed as crucial for the coming years are Analytical skills, Cognitive skills, Innovation and Creativity, Resilience, Stress Tolerance, Emotional Intelligence. Find one that will get you a comfortable seat on the bus.

We are accountable for our development and growth, so, do not wait for someone to tell you what skills you need. Start researching on what the future of your profession looks like and turn your challenges into opportunities. Until you try, you will never know if you will succeed.

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