Changing the way we work

Changing the way we work

It is impossible to predict what work will look like in a decade or two. But what we know for certain is that job functions will be more versatile. Let me explain.

Text: Päivi Castrén Photo: Katariina Salmi

I remember the days of the typewriter. It was my first tool at work. I would type out a letter and then send it across to the receiver, via mail. It would take at least two to three days to reach the intended person. Now, technology has crunched the response time to a few minutes or even seconds, in some cases.

Change is definitely the only constant, yet it is often perceived as something difficult and unpleasant to adapt to. But I think otherwise. Most things come along naturally, with evolution. We didn’t need change management to deal with the advent of mobile phone technology. We just adopted the new tools and changed our ways of working accordingly. I believe this is a positive circle, and that’s why I prefer to talk about evolution, not revolution, when it comes to the future of work.

It is impossible to predict what work will look like in a decade or two. But what we know for certain is that job functions will be more versatile. There will be more ways of working than there are now. As more and more people work on ad hoc projects with cross-border teams while collaborating with clients, flexibility in work patterns (work anytime, from anywhere) will be the name of the game. This enables (as well as requires) individuals to keep learning new skills continuously. It’ll be easiest for the kind of people who embrace this change and the opportunities it brings.

That said, organisations will continue to thrive, primarily because it is human nature for people to want to belong to a team. And as leaders, our job is to provide these teams with an environment they would love to work in. One way to do that is to ditch hierarchy in the ordinary sense of the word and opt for a chain of command that promotes swift and efficient decision-making. This in itself is a big incentive for teams to perform their best and take more responsibility.

In short, the leaders of the future will have to be enablers. They have to understand that the changes they are dealing with are affecting not only individuals and workplaces but also societies at large.

Change is always exciting. But more than that, it’s energising to take the steps towards the future and make it reality.

Päivi Castrén,
Executive Vice President, HR

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