Evolving. Work. Style.

4/12/2018 | By Workspace In Asia

Emerging Work Trends And How They Shape The Future Of Professionals And Business

The global business landscape is continuously changing, demanding more from both professionals and businesses across industries. As businesses put more emphasis on getting the best value from the full supply chain and lowering the cost of service and output to push the margin up, suppliers have also become more judicious in making their operations more efficient.


Management groups have then shifted their focus from reducing investment on hard assets to, investing on their manpower with the objective of reducing long-term costs. Investment on manpower meant not only putting in more money to solve the problem. It also meant putting in time and strategic policies in place to improve the way people work while reducing costs and improving work style to meet the evolving needs of both the professionals and the company. Moreover, these shifts have disrupted HR practices, presenting completely new challenges on recruitment, employee engagement, and retention. This creative yet strategic approach of businesses have resulted to these five emerging trends that are slowly reshaping general operations and workforce dynamics.


1. Work-From-Home (WFH)

There was a time when institutions never allowed working from home because of the premise that all the tools necessary to deliver work were only available within the physical structure of the business. When employees cannot physically come to work, they are considered absent or on-leave. This has drastically shifted the past few years as economies moved away from manual labor to knowledge-based outputs and the availability of internet outside the office.

Two of the most helpful technologies that facilitate working from home are videoconferencing and chat. These technologies will not be possible without the speed of internet which major cities have. Also, working from home doesn’t necessarily mean working AT home. The growing availability of hubs and coworking spaces with high-speed internet and plug-and-play work stations have also offered flexibility for businesses to shift their employees from the traditional office space (where real estate rent and requirements are complex and difficult to comply with) to out-of-office solutions.


2. Activity-Based Working (ABW)

This new style of maximizing work space focuses on shifting the mindset from “me” to “we”. Individuals are conditioned to appreciate space as a team-space -- a shared space where no individual owns a workstation or a specific set of equipment. Instead, the whole space is divided into sections based on requirements of activities.

Activities can be collaboration (for meetings), individual learning (for reading or research), online production (for internet-based tasks), among others. The key to consider for management when implementing ABW is the natural resistance of employees to “not having their own space”. It should, therefore, be part of management’s strategy to communicate the benefits of ABW and how it fits the operation of the whole team.


3. Performance Management

With the ever-changing demands of work and the continuous requirement to maintain or lower operational costs, companies face the dilemma of clearly defining employees’ roles while keeping them inspired and engaged at work. With unique tasks piling up due to operational demands, companies tend to “hire” people without a clear description of their duties, hoping that the next hire will be “smart, engaged, and hungry for growth” so that they can keep doing whatever tasks are thrown at them, without expecting a formal evaluation of their work based on a traditional appraisal system.

This is where performance management comes in. Performance management eliminates the need for formal appraisal sessions, because both the manager and employee are involved in defining and working on the objectives and targets together. This means that target-setting isn’t anymore just a top-down approach, but more of a collaboration between management and staff. Steering the discussion towards the overall company goals is still highly dependent on the capacity of the manager to facilitate, than dictate.


4. HR Management Tech

Ever-changing consumer behavior — tempered by the challenge of making a sale in this hyper-informed economy and the growing complexity of matching human capital with the evolving needs of the company — has given HR departments a reason to automate most of their functions to free up time and resources for more pressing needs.

Today, there is a burgeoning industry offering technologies to address these automation requirements on talent acquisition and management, employee payroll and compensation, performance management, benefits expansion and administration, and workforce analytics. As companies become more competitive in hiring and keeping proficient talents, investing on and deploying these HR Management technologies will only continue to soar up the priority scale of HR executives everywhere.


5. Credentials Development (Seminars And Workshops Funded By The Company)

In recent years, career pathing within companies turned into a requisite for both the employee and HR to identify vertical and lateral growth paths for employees. To match this function, HR executives are also developing and expanding programs to develop the credentials of their employees while on-the-job.

Looking at that strategy from a long-term perspective, it turns out to be a mutually beneficial program. As employees receive "free upgrades" to their respective skillsets, employee retention and company loyalty drastically improve, on top of becoming more effective at work.


Work styles and requirements will continue to evolve as industries expand, economies grow, and professionals traverse through the different stages of their careers. Organizations will need to keep up by discovering how these trends can fit into and work with their existing policies and operations. The speed to adjust to these changes will, in the end, determine the success of companies in keeping their workforce engaged and satisfied with their work environment.


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