Due to the COVID19 pandemic, L&D leaders have started dealing with a liquid workforce, which is a non-traditional workforce that consists of consultants, freelancers, part-time employees, and contingent workers. 2020 saw many organizations changing their workforce structure completely and the number of liquid professionals is projected to increase rapidly. Learning and development (L&D) professionals are used to training a regular full-time workforce but learning to train a liquid workforce will require an altogether different strategy.
In the future, maintaining a digitally ready workforce that is adaptable to a changing landscape will be the priority for L&D and HR. Organizations should have a rigorous contracting and onboarding process for their liquid workers. Processes like these protect the company and a consistent onboarding process makes sure that the liquid workers instantly feel like part of the team.
Last year’s pandemic has led to the rapid growth of worldwide remote working, which also helped the digital economy to grow like never before. But this has also led to an increase in the stress of managing a work-life balance. This has put the spotlight on worker health and wellness. There will be new challenges and opportunities for L&D professionals in the future, but the workforce will depend on them to thrive and adapt.
Remote work models – Since a majority of the employees are working from home, companies have started to realize how much they are saving on real estate and travel costs. Here are a few work models companies are starting to explore.
Centralized office + home office: In this model, employees mainly work from their office, with an optional work from home. This is a good option for employees who live far away from their office, as well as for busy parents and caregivers.
Centralized office + any location: In this model the employee chooses their work location, it can be the central office, their home, friend’s home, or even a different continent. This helps organizations to save on office space and other extra expenses.
Fully remote: This is the most advanced remote working model. Companies who fully adopt it will no longer have a centralized office and their employees are scattered across the globe. With advanced technology and proper infrastructure to support it, most companies may opt for this model.
In the future workplaces may be a blend of physical and virtual environments. It can be diverse, multigenerational, and located around the globe. Organizations would need an integrated platform with advanced technologies that support team collaboration and work location. L&D professionals would have to use these platforms to support a workforce with diverse needs.