The Evolving Landscape of Work

NO NEWS HERE – work has changed and we must all lean into it.

*  The changes are coming from work and productivity enablers as well as societal changes.

*  Workplace changes surround us and it’s making it hard for people to navigate.

*  There is a real yearning for some to return to the way it was… and that is not possible. Largely because of the technological changes and how jobs and work are changing and

WHAT is influencing the workplace?

  • Real estate
  • Retail business
  • Leaders’ desires
  • Worker’s desires
  • Technology
  • Bias

All areas of influence will share their thoughts and insights.

Supporters of the real estate industry are rightfully concerned about their investments and industry. They want offices and shops full to realise their return on investment.

Supporters of retail businesses, particularly in CBD areas will focus on the positive aspects of shopping personally rather than online

Leaders – many will adopt the company line. They may have other thoughts, yet will go with the company flow.

Workers will go with the flow, yet will have their thoughts and opinions and likely share them and try to influence.

Technology is largely agnostic in terms of the agenda of onsite vs. offsite. Yet enables fluidity.

Bias – everyone has a bias for different reasons. This will show through in the way we think, feel, and act in relation to our work landscape. There will be many influences and safety concerns will be one paramount aspect. That is safety in relation to job security. So thoughts will be at the fore about ‘how can I protect myself the best’.

Bend it like Beckham I hear many say! People want flexibility with their work. There are many reasons for this.

Flexible work includes place of work, hours, and methods of working. For decades we have been told not to use our personal circumstances as reasons for wanting or needing different work scenarios.

  • Do not mention the kids!
  • Do not mention the ailing parent or in-law!
  • Do not mention to puppy with anxiety!
  • Do not mention that when you get your period you need to be close to the amenities!
  • Do not mention needing to be home to let the service person in.
  • Whatever you do, do not mention your personal needs, as business is different. That is the golden rule … is it not? You are two separate people – professional vs personal.

These days, more and more so-called taboo topics are on the table. It is OK to talk about your needs, and tend to them more, as long as you perform your role, and deliver what you agree to. That is much more OK these days.

The complexity of flexible

The work landscape is complex indeed. I read recently about the City of London taking a stand on workers and flexibility, or rather little to no flexibility, and how this impacted the participation of women (Bloomberg1). It affected childcare arrangements with pick-ups and drop-offs. And women participating in the workforce has dropped as the frame of work became untenable. With this in mind, people with disability come to mind. Being able to work flexibly is super important. There are of course many other aspects that make it complex.

Change often happens slowly. Sometimes it is glacial. What we have learned in the last three years is that we can change rapidly when there is a CRA (compelling reason to act). And that we had! However, the nostalgic pull of ‘back to normal’ is drawing people towards ‘the office’. For some though the change is unwanted. When enforcement happens, it can create significant trust and safety issues. And it will show up in the engagement surveys – if the right questions are being asked.

Considering trust and safety, what happens for people is they wonder why ‘the boss’ does not trust them to do a good job if they are working flexibly. They used to trust me. Now they do not trust me. What has happened? Have I not proven myself? And so now, I do not feel safe. I might return to the office, but I am probably peeved off with it. So, I might sit at a desk away from the gaze of ‘the boss’. I might decide to ‘work the hours I am paid for’. And so on. It can become quite a snowball. Or it can fester away at a low level.

Recently, I was discussing ways of working with an Executive Director in the Tertiary Education sector. They were trying to fill a role and wanted the person to be in the office three days a week so they could ‘whiteboard ideas’. It got me thinking about the relevance of this and timing. Certainly, when you are problem solving and working things out it helps to be in the same place together. Is that something that is needed all of the time? Perhaps it is during a phase of a project or piece of work. The worker would need to be flexible in this regard. Complexity again!

It really does come down to the situation and context. And needs to be negotiated in a safe environment.

The changing landscape of jobs and skills

The World Economic Forum2 reported in 2023 that technology is influencing almost every job in a positive way. They say that 44% of workers’ core skills are expected to change in the coming five years.

Is your job under imminent threat as a result of AI?

In short, no one should sit back on their laurels and think they are safe. Technology whilst agnostic does have one strong driver – to improve speed to market, productivity, lower cost (perhaps the technology itself is expensive), and remove repetitive menial work where possible. According to the World Economic Forum3 the areas where there will be growth are:

  1. AI and Machine Learning Specialists
  2. Sustainability Specialists
  3. Business Intelligence Analysts
  4. Information Security Analysts
  5. Fintech Engineers
  6. Data Analysts and Scientists
  7. Robotics Engineers
  8. Electrotechnology Engineers
  9. Agricultural Equipment Operators
  10. Digital Transformation Specialists.

The top 10 fastest declining roles will be:

  1. Bank Tellers and Related Clerks
  2. Postal Service Clerks
  3. Cashiers and ticket Clerks
  4. Data Entry Clerks
  5. Administrative and Executive Secretaries
  6. Material-Recording and Stock-Keeping Clerks
  7. Accounting, Bookkeeping, and Payroll Clerks
  8. Legislators and Officials
  9. Statistical, Finance and Insurance Clerks
  10. Door-to-Door Sales Workers, New and Street Vendors and Related Workers.

How can you prepare for change?

  • Research your industry, trends, and predictions and work out where you believe the opportunities will be
  • Learn more. Take courses and gain more on-the-job experience.
  • Take one new opportunity to broaden your skills, and flag that you are motivated to do more, gain more, and deliver more.

Gigs (and I do not mean concerts!), Freelancing and Consulting

Are you a gig worker? Have you flirted with the idea of being one? According to the World Bank4 12 percent of the job market globally is categorized as the gig economy. There is massive growth in developing economies.

What is it about gig work that draws people to it. Recently a client who is a career gig worker described to me that they love it because it enables them to feel like they have a choice over what they do. Even if they end up working in the same organisation for several years. It also enables them to take long holidays – we are talking months. And it generally pays much better while you are working.

Gig work is great when there is plenty of work. Not so great when the market is retracting. If you are a gig worker, or considering entering it consider the following to help you with your decision-making:

  • Are the current market conditions for the kind of work you do favourable?
  • Will kind of structure will you have for your gig work – your own company or paid by an agency?
  • Make sure you put enough away for when times are tighter. Aim for a minimum of four months pay as your buffer.
  • How will you get your gig work? Through advertised roles, through one of the gig platforms such as Upwork or Expert 360? Through your network?
  • Your profile will need to be current and up to date. So have your resume and LinkedIn up to date.

Gigs, freelancing, and consulting also enable you to more easily have a side hustle. The sense of flexibility and being able to make decisions for yourself seems to reign in this space.

WHATEVER YOU DO – keep learning!

Sitting back on your laurels is a sure-fire way of becoming superfluous to need. So, make sure you keep learning. Take courses, take on extra work and assignments, have outside-of-work interests that also build your skills, capability, and reputation. Lastly, make sure you engage with people in your network regularly. It might be a phone call, email, message, engagement with them on LinkedIn, meeting up for coffee or lunch. Be front of mind and ask questions that create an interesting conversation where you can learn, and they can too. So do some research on topics of conversation before turning up to any network connection.  Your relevance is driven by you. You are in many ways the master of your destiny.

I hope this is of help to you, and if you are in a career funk and not sure how to work through it, we would be delighted to help you out.


1Bloomberg, October 2023, As City of London Rolls Back Flexible Working, It’s Losing Women,

2World Economic Forum, Davos Agenda, May 2023, The future of jobs: 2 experts explain how technology is transforming ‘almost every task’,

3World Economic Forum, April 2023, The Future of Jobs Report 2023,

4The World Bank, September 2023, Demand for Online Gig Work Rapidly Rising in Developing Countries,,and%20youth%20in%20developing%20countries.

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