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Responsible Businesses Preparing For The Future of Work

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The world of work is changing rapidly, and businesses that do not show responsible behaviour by not being proactive about addressing critical workplace trends, risk being left behind. In order to safeguard themselves from this, companies are changing their approach in various ways to remain at the top of the leader board of good corporate citizenship. Following are some of those approaches.

Flexibility in working

There are clear business benefits to flexible work, including reduced costs and employee satisfaction, and with millennial job seekers even willing to take a pay cut to work for a company that offers flexible hours.
While many companies have been embracing flexible work arrangements to meet growing business needs and the demands of the labour force, Dell through its Connected Workplace programme, offers multiple opportunities for flexible work, which include flexible schedules, remote work, job-sharing, part-time work and compressed workweeks. The company has reported saving millions in real estate costs since implementing the programme and estimates that US employees avoid 136 million miles of travel per year, saving over $12m in fuel costs and avoiding over 35,000 metric tons of CO2e per year.
Dell has already exceeded its 2020 goal to have 50% of eligible team members leverage flexible work options, with 60% of its team members leveraging work flexibility in their jobs.

Skills for a more digital workplace

Much research has been published recently, analysing and predicting the impact of AI adoption on different industries. According to PWC, 3% of jobs are already at potential risk of automation in the next several years, and 30% will be at risk by mid-2030s. Also, according to this research, females would be affected most immediately (due to being the dominant gender in clerical roles), with males being affected by a significant disruption a decade later. As workers begin to be affected by operational shifts due to AI in the coming years, employers risk facing increasing scrutiny, employee activism and conflicts with labour unions.
To address this Unilever has announced a new internal online talent marketplace –FLEX Experiences – which helps employees identify ‘personalised open opportunities across the business, in real-time’Unilever says that by accessing the platform, employees can work on projects for a small or large proportion of time, increase the depth of their expertise of current skill, or build new skills and experiences. This facilitates the development of new skills and positions employees to be more agile and successful in the future workplace.

Diversity & inclusion

Repeated studies have linked company performance to diversity & inclusion, with highly diverse businesses more likely to be innovative and to outperform peers in profitability. Recognising this, Accenture has set a goal to achieve total gender equality by 2025.

Employee financial wellbeing

Trailblazing companies are recognising that financial debt can be stressful and have a negative impact on employees’ mental and physical health, and ultimately their ability to stay engaged and perform their jobs well.
Innovative employers are beginning to implement initiatives to assist employees in tackling their financial worries. For example, Abbott, a global health technology company, launched its Freedom 2 Save Plan targeted at US employees in student loan debt. The programme eliminates the common dilemma of whether to save for retirement or pay down student loans, by depositing a 5% ‘match’ of employees’ salary into their retirement pots for free, as long as the employee is using at least 2% of their salary to pay off student loans.