We are moving to an all-digital, work-from-anywhere world and the pandemic has taught us that resilience, rather than being a tactic to respond to crisis, is a discipline cultivated over time. Leaders now recognise the level of risk that their companies will be exposed to if they don’t have a digital strategy in place.
To build resilience at work organisations need to balance virtual and remote models, provision of tools that enable success and collaboration from anywhere, and strategies to look after people and wellbeing. By leading with values, embracing flexibility, responding instead of reacting, and investing in innovation and partnerships, we can embed resilience at work for the long-term.
Leading with values and flexibility
As the pandemic emerged, we saw how the best companies went back to their core values, putting first the wellbeing of their employees, customers, and stakeholders. Communication and transparency have been critical in this regard, whether that’s been to confirm actions taken to ensure a safe return to offices or to encourage employees to find out more about vaccinations. Businesses have a responsibility to ensure employees are informed and have the confidence to take care of themselves. Technology has a key role to play in ensuring workplace safety, for example through emergency response management and collating data to help teams make smarter decisions.
The pandemic has also accelerated digital transformation and how to serve customers from anywhere. In hospitality, technologies are reimagining the entire customer experience, enabling hotel guests to check-in, open doors and order food all from their mobile phones. Across all industries, companies’ migrations to cloud computing will accelerate in the months ahead - enabling scalability, availability and accessibility of information from any location. Increased automation, AI, as well as forecasting models will help them to better predict and prepare for what the future may bring.
The future of work, too, is in the cloud. As hybrid working models become more common and offices become hubs for collaboration and social interaction, employers must encourage flexible work arrangements. They must provide better remote work tools to ensure productivity. Investing in innovative ways to engage with employees and customers alike, responding to their expectations and experiences, will only become more important.
Investing in skills and collaboration
The accelerated shift to digital is having a major impact on the skills we need for a resilient future. Investing in re-skilling and up-skilling so no one gets left behind is now a national priority. Nine in 10 UK workers will need to learn new digital skills by 2030 at a cost of £1.3 billion a year, according to new Salesforce and IDC Research. It’s a significant challenge ahead which also highlights the vast opportunities for digital transformation of the UK’s economy and workforce, but true recovery will require investment from government and business.
And just as the Fourth Industrial Revolution demands that we close existing hard skills gaps, the work-from-anywhere world we now live in requires us to further invest in soft skills, too. Increasingly, every company will rely on individuals who can solve new complex problems, challenge the status quo, and engender a shared sense of purpose among dispersed teams.
As we look forward, partnerships will be key to driving long-term positive change across business and society. Technology can and is already playing an important role in ensuring the safe and equitable distribution of coronavirus vaccines to potentially billions of people. From innovation to mass vaccination, we cannot overcome our shared challenges in silos. We need everyone engaged. Beyond incentives, we need to educate and assure buy-in. Only through collaboration can we build more resilient workplaces, workforces and communities.