Deloitte: Work models to elevate human potential

By Janet Brice
Re-architected methods will provide greater choice and autonomy, report Deloitte who look at a revolution taking place in the workplace following COVID...

What if we followed a new set of philosophies to re-imagine work in ways that elevates human potential? This is explored in a new report from Deloitte.

The paper, Re-architecting Work Models - What if work was different? Provides an in-depth study into four future worlds of work, six game changing philosophies and five key watchpoints for organisations to follow.

“The climate and ecosystems of work are shifting, leaving behind the world of nine to five work, the cubicles, the bureaucracy, the silos. Maintaining the status quo is increasingly unpalatable, employees are seeking a revolution in when, where, how and what work is done,” says Deloitte.

“A new world of work has dawned and the social contract between the organisation and the employee has shifted,” comments Deloitte. “The COVID-19 global pandemic has forced changes to work models and in many cases accelerated the future of work.”

According to analysis conducted by Deloitte up to 4 million people (31% of the current workforce) across Australia and 50 million across the ASEAN-6 countries could shift to working remotely over a multi-year time horizon. The case for change is building fast:

  • 77% of workers want more flexibility in how and where they work
  • 74% of CFOs will move some of their workforce to permanently remote positions post COVID-19
  • 65% of workers believe their productivity has increased since working remotely
  • 65% of organisations view shifting functional hierarchies to team centric and network-based work models as important or very important
  • 60% of organisations are likely to use AI to assist workers in the near-term future

“Now is the time to re-architecture work, to provide richness of choice, flexibility and autonomy – it’s time to focus on humanising work,” comment Deloitte.

Outlined in the report are new re-architected work models which include: 

The four future worlds of work

“When re-thinking an organisation’s future work model, we must consider two critical degrees of choice around ‘when and where’, and ‘how and what’ work is completed,” comment Deloitte who list four future work model scenarios.” These include:

1 Co-location collaboration
High flexibility and choice around how and what, and limited on when and where work is completed.

2 Stable, secure and social
Limited flexibility and choice around how and what, and when and where work is completed.

3 A time and place for choice
Limited flexibility and choice around how and what, and high flexibility and on when and where work is completed.

4 Autonomy and personalisation
High flexibility and choice around how and what, and when and where work is completed.

Six game changing philosophies

Re-architected work models that provide ultimate choice and autonomy around when and where, and how and what work is completed challenge orthodoxies, report Deloitte:

1 Productivity anywhere, anytime
The key to unlocking productivity gains is through the redefinition of what work means using a remote or hybrid model.

2 The workplace as a vibrant social hub
The new exam question is – how do we make the workplace a destination rather than an expectation?

3 Improved wellbeing as a core tenet of employment
By focusing on designing work around improved wellbeing outcomes, organisations are contributing to healthier, happier and more engaged employees.

4 Delivering work through fluid networks of teams
By focusing less on who people work for and more who people work with, ideas and change can free flow across an organisation, solving evolving business challenges and stimulating innovation.

5 Empowered employees driving decisions
Devolved decision rights and empowered teams is a key attribute of inclusive leadership and will improve performance and speed to market as well as allowing the full benefits of flexible work models to be realised.

6 Organisational culture and community is borderless
The most successful future organisations will be those that actively seek to design employee experiences, promote a culture of trust and confidence, and actively support hybrid ways of working.

Five watchpoints to consider when re-architecting work models:

  1. The hybrid tangle - organisations are challenged with what the remote vs on-site work ratios are to design experiences that enable new work models.
  2. Over-productivity in an outcome-based environment - remote workers may be at risk of working more to keep delivering outcomes in a world where behind-the-scenes efforts are not visible to their leaders. 
  3. The erosion of culture - organisations will need to re-architect shared rituals and employee experiences.
  4. Career regression for off site workers - Out of sight, out of mind – does that mean less chance of a timely promotion? 
  5. Blurred lines between work and personal life - organisations are tasked with the challenge of designing the new ‘third space’, creating new norms. 

“Re-architecting the work experience to deliver greater choice, autonomy and empowerment - to make work better for humans and humans better at work,” concludes Deloitte.

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