The ‘mass experiment’ of so many people forced to work from home due to COVID-19 had accelerated workplace trends that were already underway, according to Jo Jericho, Senior Strategy Manager – Consulting, Monitor Deloitte, who spoke about ‘The Future of Work’ at AADA 2020 Moving Forward.

Ms Jericho leads Deloitte’s Strategy, Growth and Transformation team. Her expertise ties together the disciplines of business strategy, customer experience and employee experience into value-additive transformations. Recently, she has been helping automotive businesses re-imagine their futures that have been reshaped by COVID, and believes future work models will be driven by choice and autonomy around when and where, and how and why work is completed.

“Bad companies are destroyed by crisis. Good companies survive them, and great companies are improved by them,” she said, quoting Andy Grove, the founder of Intel.

She said COVID-19 had accelerated movement that was already occurring, away from traditional hierarchical structures into fluid networks of teams.
“Fluid networks of teams are cross-functional, self-organising, focused on what’s important for customer, and thinking about a customer mission, solving a problem that will help a customer,” she said.

“Every day the re-prioritise into ‘what is going to deliver the most amount of value for the customers?’”

Ms Jericho said workplaces were moving from ‘command and control’ models to ones of ‘autonomy and trust’.

“Netflix very early on wrote a manifesto for its HR policy, or employee experience, and they talked about designing for the 97 percent of people that want to do right for your organisation,” she said.

“You’re always going to find someone who’s going to try to buck the system and take advantage of the situation. But then do you design for the three percent of people or do you design for the 97 percent of people? And the increased autonomy and trust is a reflection that you need to design for the 97 percent of people. And if you think about COVID, that’s just validated it.”
Other shifts that were already occurring and would continue were a focus on health and safety, growing to improving the ‘human experience’ of work, and a move from a primary focus on profit and shareholder value to the rise of social enterprise.

Ms Jericho said the ‘mass experiment’ of working from home had resulted in significant benefits for businesses, customers, and employees. These included:

  • enhanced productivity;
  • increased speed to market;
  • reduction in real estate costs;
  • improved customer intimacy;
  • strengthened access to talent;
  • reduced environmental impact;
  • greater inclusion and diversity; and
  • improved engagement and well-being.

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