We're going back to work, but not the way we used to
Deloitte's expert on the future of work says get ready for more gig jobs, Zoom calls and a new kind of manager.
Brian CooleyEditor at Large
Brian Cooley is CNET's Editor at large and has been with the brand since 1995. He currently focuses on electrification of vehicles but also follows the big trends in smart home, digital healthcare, 5G, the future of food, and augmented & virtual realities. Cooley is a sought after presenter by brands and their agencies when they want to understand how consumers react to new technologies. He has been a regular featured speaker at CES, Cannes Lions, Advertising Week and The PHM HealthFront™. He was born and raised in Silicon Valley when Apple's campus was mostly apricots.
ExpertiseAutomotive technology, smart home, digital health.Credentials
A recent Gartner survey found that 74% of chief financial officers expect some of their workforce to remain remote and 17% of them expect 20% of their workforce to do so.
Watch this: 75% of CFOs say a bunch of us can just stay home
Change in the workplace will vary greatly by job type, of course, but all work categories will need to focus on the psychological perception of whether it's safe to return to the job. "The psychological aspect of safety is centered around trust in your employer, but also relates to things like the subway or public transport" that employers don't control, Hatfield says. Combine that with a disease that isn't fully understood yet, and it's easy to imagine a lot of workers opting to stay remote even if the company reopens its offices.
That keeps those workers out of a broader economy of restaurants, coffee purchases, transit expenditures and downtown shopping that is all supported by millions going to physical workplaces.
Going back to the workplace is also about preserving company culture, one of the main reasons we have offices in the first place. "It's a real obstacle," Hatfield says. "The organizations that are thinking about their culture more deliberately are the ones that will succeed." Hatfield advocates a clean-sheet review, from how new-hire onboarding is done to how the workday might be divided into sections with specific modes of work: Mornings might be collaborative while afternoons are set aside for individual work, with status meetings as bookends to it all.
And gig work, far beyond Uber driving and GrubHub deliveries, may proliferate, predicts Hatfield. Many companies may broaden their gig use of highly skilled workers so they transition to having the right skills on staff at the right time, rather than all skills all the time. That may challenge notions of work stability and employee loyalty.
Steve Hatfield had a lot more to say about how the world's largest business services firm sees us going back to work. Hear all the insights he shared with Brian Cooley in the full video replay above.
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