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  • Writer's pictureThothathri Raman

Future of Work!

Change is constant, is the time honored cliché but in the modern sense Change is not only constant but it is also equally immediate and tectonic, a fact some of the well known top companies are discovering to their discomfort in the recent months. Something seriously is changing and How!!

"The world of work is undergoing unprecedented changes, with Covid-19 accelerating the existing megatrends," global hiring company Adecco Group observes. With 300,000 employees in their own company spread in 60 countries worldwide shaping 3.5 million careers globally, the world’s leading talent advisory and solutions company should know.

"Smart Industry nearly every sector we serve and is driven by three factors – changing consumer needs, adoption of disruptive business models and creation of new product markets and services. Technology and talent are key pillars for the creation of these digitally enabled smart industries and will be integral deciding who emerges as a leader in the new smarter, connected world." a comment at a talent development website describes the ground reality. As organizations become smarter and digitally enabled, Engineering, R&D and IT spends are converging to create Smart Industries. Disruptors such as Cloud, IoT, Data are at the core of this convergence and are driving organizational efficiencies and helping to develop new products and services for a smarter tomorrow.

The Covid 19 lockdown may have thrown the job market haywire and some of the industries to the brink of collapse. And yet, in some ways the Covid induced changes in the global work environment, technology use and education not to mention the social life are changing at mindboggling speeds. Education clearly has one of the industries seriously affected by this change and yet education is the industry that needs a lot of catching up to do laid back as they have been all these years .

The future of work is changing – and in many cases, it’s shifting to a more asynchronous way of working, with benefits for both employees and organizations, according to the Harvard Business Review. The traditional 9-to-5 is dead, Adecco's own research shows, and it’s time for companies to consider how they can make the switch to a new way of working.

How can you facilitate that switch? Start at the top, focus on outcomes, challenge existing norms and assumptions, make clear agreements, and keep an eye on inclusion, to start Harvard Business Review observes.

For instance one of the fastest growing electric vehicles manufacturers backed by Amazon, the global ecommerce giant has this to say at its website "Today we’re operating off hundreds of millions of years of accumulated plant- and animal-based carbon. On our current path, we will fully exhaust this stored energy in only a few generations and, in the process, carbonize our atmosphere to such a degree that life as we know it will not be possible. If the planet is to continue to sustain life and enchant future generations, we have to change."

That change cannot happen without the people in charge of such change becoming sensitive to the future needs of the society. Elon Musk founder and CEO of Tesla and SpaceX arguably one of the greatest thought leaders of our times was rather blunt in observing "one of tech’s great developments — artificial intelligence — could spell the end of many jobs altogether. AI will make jobs kind of pointless,” Musk said. In his opinion least vulnerable to that job disruption will be individuals who can program AI software, Musk noted, recommending young people go on to study engineering.

But, even then, he said, “eventually the AI will just write its own software.”

Clearly the role of education institution is going to be more profound than ever in making these changes possible even though the old model of campuses, faculty trained in traditional ways and the whole pedagogy based on class room teaching, case studies and quizzes has to make way for more closer industry interaction and the facilitation and not teaching done by faculty drawn from industry and also form academia who are well versed with the changes taking place on the ground.

From the looks of it the higher education ecosystem needs to undergo drastic overhaul for them to remain relevant. "I would specifically address how b-schools are transforming themselves based on the lessons learned from Covid, specifically the shift in how we approach education from the traditional classroom/lecture model to one that engages through media. In my opinion, we will not simply turn back the clock to 2019 when the new normal is upon us. There are many lessons learned to apply to transform how we deliver instructional content" says Dr Olin Oedekoven, the founder and CEO of Peregrine Global group of educational service companies, a pioneer in online and virtual, education, assessment and training platform created more than 15 years earlier with footprint in over 50 countries worldwide.

There will be a blend of online and offline teaching in the future and innovation in digital technology will continue to drive the future of education. This is where B-Schools face the greatest challenge. Not only they should be using all the digital tools for their own campus offering but they should also be researching and advocating transformative research in teaching and learning methodologies to shape the digital future in Education. The need for continuous learning with the education having a short shelf life with the tectonic shifts taking place in businesses and their requirement would pose an additional challenge and great opportunity for the business education campuses.

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