The Workplace - What to Invest in for 2020

January 2020

With 2020 comes not just a new year, but a new decade. And in the past ten years, the way in which we work and the office spaces that we use have changed dramatically. Flexible working has become not just a luxury but an expectation. Digital technologies have transformed the way that we deliver our roles, with innovations from the cloud through to fintech revolutionizing the office environment.

 

To meet these changes, what should we invest in for the decade to come? Should we focus more on the office spaces, employee training, or digital technologies upgrade?

The increasingly dispersed office

Most analysts and future forecasters believe that the office is here to stay, at least for the time being. Certainly, in 2020, offices will still be a very present reality, but they will be increasingly mobile, flexible, and less centralized. Even if you work for several days in one corporate location, there is no guarantee that your boss will.

And as the year goes on and flexibility increases, much of the recruitment in Hong Kong is likely to include roles that can be carried out in the comfort of home, delivered by remote working technologies, collaborative software, and changing culture. After all, flexible working isn't just good for business, but it's also good for the environment and for the mental health of employees who would otherwise face long and unproductive commutes every day.

Telecommuting is already very much on the rise, so the virtual workforce is becoming a reality. The good news for managers is that plenty of monitoring and productivity tools exist to assess whether teams are actually working, but at the same time, research suggests that teleworkers can be highly productive.

Tools such as file-sharing platforms, collaborative platforms, the cloud, license-based subscriptions, and so forth will continue to make it easier for anyone to work at any time, with anybody and from any place.

This trend will accelerate as more freelancers come on board. In fact, recruitment in Hong Kong demonstrates very clearly that freelance and contract work is the fastest-growing category of job advertisement, as tech and IT firms rely on being able to access specialist skillsets on a project basis.

 

Succession planning for the future

The much-discussed 'war on talent' isn't set to go away at any time soon. In fact, it looks to become even more challenging and on a global basis. With automation taking over low-skilled roles, the knowledge economy will see the most talented and skilled individuals being able to name their price.

Employees of today and tomorrow must constantly seek to upgrade their skillsets, look for training, and plan ahead for their careers. Firms will need to start succession planning in a more robust and forward-thinking way to prepare their leadership continuity. Digital training, performance management, career mapping, pivoting and Flexi careers will all be common topics that will occupy the minds of HR managers and employees alike.

 

New Generations

This year will also see a shift of balance towards Millennial and Gen Z employees who want flexibility, autonomy, and meaning from their work. Culture will now become as vital as benefits and salary. Businesses will need to invest in the employee experience and reshape their working spaces, so that younger workers can collaborate, be innovative, and feel as though they are doing something of value, beyond salary. This means that corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs will also become key investments.

In conclusion, today's business leaders need to continue their agenda of succession planning, teleworking and tech investment to meet the digital agenda and employee engagement to satisfy the expectations of younger workers and to secure the best talent.

 

With these priorities and trends in mind, what are your workplace investment plans for 2020?

 

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Silicon Valley Associates is ideally positioned to support the continual demand from tech companies and IT Departments looking to hire in Hong Kong, Asia, and Worldwide. Please let us know if you would further advise on the above topic or your hiring needs

 

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