Is your workplace ready for the fourth industrial revolution?
As it stands, China is investing heavily in R&D, with budget funding for science and research reaching 2.5% of the country’s GDP in 2019, matching the US and exceeding Japan.
As technology begins to spread its reach towards work practices, it’s important to start proactively looking at ways to future-proof workplaces — here are ten tips for overcoming the new challenges that the future of work may present.
1. Hone your professional interpersonal skills
AI, automation and machine learning are expected to be a large part of the digital workplace. According to IBM, approximately 14% of companies in China are actively leveraging AI.
While new technology will help to remove time-consuming tasks, employers are expecting professionals to hone the interpersonal skills that will help them collaborate and communicate more effectively.
Tip: To ensure collaboration is smoother, make an effort to learn some of the jargon your colleagues use within their specialism. You might also find it helpful to limit your own jargon, so communication is clear and direct.
2. Familiarise yourself with new business ethics
Ethical standards in business are changing to address new concerns surrounding the protection and use of customer data. Compliance, governance and risk are now an immediate concern for business leaders, rather than an afterthought.
Tip: To make sure all your ideas, actions and initiatives are low-risk and within the letter of the law, try making time to regularly catch up with your company’s compliance officer.
3. Learn to resolve conflict quickly
The digital workplace hinges heavily on communication and collaboration across teams, making relationships with colleagues more important than ever before.
Tip: Instead of letting disagreements delay projects, aim to resolve them quickly using constructive, open discussions. When in doubt, involve senior business leaders to help find a quicker resolution.
4. Create and maintain welcoming work environments
Work environments will see a physical transformation as businesses strive to create collaborative spaces and to foster a strong and positive company culture.
Tip: Rather than arranging meetings in your own workspace, try holding sessions in a neutral space which caters to the comfort of everyone else.
5. Be open to change
As the fourth industrial revolution approaches, businesses need employees who are resilient and willing to adapt to change.
Tip: You can make a head start on developing your resilience by requesting clear business goals and mental health support from business leaders, and by working on your communication skills.
6. Finding new ways to meet
It’s thought that future workplaces will focus more on the distribution of work across teams and even across other companies. To accommodate everyone, professionals will need to embrace new technologies to facilitate meetings.
Tip: Be open to trying new software platforms that allow colleagues on and off site to meet easily. Be conscientious about your meetings — set an agenda and make sure you only invite individuals who need to be present.
7. Manage stakeholder priorities
The pace of economy and technology is speeding up, making the future of work subject to fast and drastic change. Because of this, stakeholder priorities may become harder to manage.
Tip: Endeavour to start communicating honestly with business stakeholders regarding concerns around the deadlines, resource, scale or complexity of projects or tasks.
8. Take a proactive approach to requesting human resource
Because project delivery speeds are increasing so rapidly, you may find it beneficial to request additional support from a temporary member of staff. Working with someone from outside your organisation can lighten your workload, help you upskill and improve your communication abilities.
Tip: Be candid about the skills you need from a temporary worker so that a recruitment company can help you find a qualified fit, who is able to add faster value when they arrive.
9. Focus on digital upskilling
For many companies in China, it’s a struggle to find professionals with the digital skills needed to roll out transformation initiatives (particularly in data and cyber-security) and work with new software. Being proactive about upskilling can set you in good stead for the future.
Tip: Aim to keep your digital upskilling in line with your career objectives, so you can retain your work satisfaction while increasing your professional value.
10. Take advantage of flexible working
A digital workspace can help facilitate a better work-life balance for professionals, so it makes sense to take advantage where you can.
Tip: Approach management to suggest software for collaborative working, project management or remote working, so you and your team can enjoy more balance and flexibility.