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We get back to work, but not as before

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Angela Lang / CNET

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When you work again, will you recognize it? According to Deloitte, the future will make gig work, remote work and virtual teams from niche or second-class status to the new mainstream.

“We will never go back to what was once,” said Steve Hatfield, Global Future of Work Leader at Deloitte. “Most organizations have recognized that virtual and distributed work can take place,” he says of the “demonstration factor” that was imposed on them Shelter-in-place orders. “We won’t all have the office the same way again.”

A recent survey by Gartner found that 74% of chief financial officers expect part of their workforce to remain away and 17% of them expect 20% of their workforce to do so.

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Steven Hatfield, director of the global future of work, Deloitte

Steven Hatfield, Global Future of Work Leader at Deloitte, believes that much more will change in the way you work than a series of zoom calls and sneezing signs in the office.


Changes in the workplace, of course, vary widely depending on the job type, but all work categories must focus on the psychological perception of whether it is safe to return to the job. “The psychological aspect of safety focuses on trusting your employer, but it also applies to things like the subway or public transportation,” which employers don’t control, says Hatfield. Combine that with a Disease that is not yet fully understoodand it’s easy to imagine that many employees will choose to stay away even if the company reopens its offices.

This keeps these workers away from a wider economy of restaurants, coffee shops, transit expenses and downtown shopping, all supported by millions who go to physical workplaces.

Returning to work is also about preserving the corporate culture. This is one of the main reasons why we have offices at all. “It’s a real obstacle,” says Hatfield. “Organizations that think more about their culture will succeed.” Hatfield advocates a clean review, from the way new hires are made to the division of the working day into sections with specific work modes: mornings can be collaborative, while afternoons are for individual work and status reviews serve as bookends everything.

And gig work, far beyond Run over and GrubHub deliveries, can multiply, Hatfield predicts. Many companies may expand their workforce of highly skilled workers so that they have the right skills at the right time and not always all the skills. This can challenge ideas of work stability and employee retention.

Steve Hatfield had a lot more to say about how the world’s largest business services company got us back to work. Hear all of the insights he shared with Brian Cooley in the full video replay above.


What is a video interview and a panel series with industry leaders, celebrities and influencers who outline the key changes and trends affecting business and how consumers are engaging in the “new normal” world in 2020 and beyond connect, treat. There will always be changes in our world, there will always be technologies to help us deal with these changes, and we will always discuss surprising twists and turns and possible solutions.


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