The future of work is here and it needs strong leadership to thrive. Source: Shutterstock

The future of work is here and it needs strong leadership to thrive. Source: Shutterstock

The future of work is here and needs more hands-on leadership

TECHNOLOGY is not only changing the way employees and businesses operate but also the spaces that operate in. Companies need to understand and facilitate these changes if they want to boost productivity.

Be it artificial intelligence, machine learning, cloud and mobility solutions, or the internet of things, the pace of change in how organizations do work is changing rapidly, which is why business leaders might also struggle to mold the ecosystem to support employees despite their best intentions.

“When companies look for means to enhance efficiency and support workers, they would have to embrace and trust machines to take over their jobs,” IWG Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei Country Head Vijayakumar Tangarasan told Tech Wire Asia.

According to Tangarasan, workplace automation is a practical approach for companies to optimize their resources but, contrary to it all, they also need to remember that humans are not machines.

“A human workforce thrives in varying environments, which is why companies need to make smart decisions to equip their workplace to suit different types of workers.

“Silicon Valley tech giants have cracked the code by providing their workers with the flexibility to work in their preferred environments.”

As tech is an industry that often leads the way for other sectors, naturally, businesses, both within and outside tech, are taking notes of the benefits of the turn to flexible working.

However, due to the increasingly competitive and rising price of commercial real estate, some businesses and particularly SMEs are held back for financial limitations and capital expenditures.

IWG owns Regus, a provider of office leases and coworking spaces. In Tangarasan’s opinion, coworking spaces do not just provide businesses of all sizes an exciting, flexible, and cost-friendly workspace, but they also establish a community-like culture for all workers to flourish in.

Overall, the reality is that technology has disrupted how businesses do work. The future of work is here. Companies that want to continue to thrive need to lead the way and help employees embrace change for a productive future.

How is Malaysia preparing for the future of work?

As outlaid in its Industry 4.0 framework, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) has placed SMEs at the core of its forward-looking initiatives since 42 percent of the Malaysian workforce is employed by SMEs.

However, many SMEs seem to be cautious about embracing Industry 4.0.

To help bring in change, the framework has identified several key areas that can benefit SMEs and ease them into the new era of business and technology.

These key areas include upskilling and retraining the existing labor force, involving SMEs in more technology-driven projects, developing innovative collaborative platforms, and most importantly, improving the existing digital infrastructure.

“Helping SMEs to embrace new digital platforms and innovations will undoubtedly allow the current workforce to anticipate, adapt and thrive in future working scenarios.”

According to Tangarasan, the regulator in Malaysia is on the right track in terms of helping the country’s people prepare for the future of work.

“The first step is recognizing the importance of Industry 4.0. In this regard, the government has done a great job. The challenge remains with its implementation.

“This cannot be done overnight and by a singular party; the industry needs to be involved and the government has started to recognize this.”

At the end of the day, the reality is that technology is disrupting every industry and regulators and businesses must work together in order to accelerate their journey to digital in order to remain competitive in the global marketplace.