David D’Souza: Advances in technology allow us to reimagine the structure of work


The leaps forward made by some key areas of technology allow us to reimagine the structure of how work might be in the near future. There is no doubt that we have opportunities to fundamentally reshape the way that we think about people, places and productivity in this brave new world. Whether it is supporting employees through proactive monitoring of their health or through allowing them to work more flexibly, we are on the verge of shifting from theoretically possible improvements to affordable and effective solutions.

These benefits will accrue right across the employee lifecycle from recruitment through to compensation and mobility. Within recruitment, for instance, less than £10 will buy you a virtual-reality (VR) headset that will combine with your mobile phone to allow you to take a 360-degree tour of an organisation’s office to understand whether you might want to work there. A cost-effective version of virtual reality saving time for both the employer and potential employee that is already being utilised.

Employers can already collect all of the details that you have published publicly on social networking sites to build a profile of you as a potential employee. When you start on your first day at an organisation you can speak to colleagues in different offices via their first language using Skype Translator to instantly translate from English. Analysis of the emails and communications in an organisation can provide an insight into mood, hot topics, organisational influencers, and even the likelihood of employees leaving.

When this is combined with the ability to automate repetitive tasks and increasingly aspects of knowledge work, it is clear that there is an opportunity to step change productivity and create far more tailored, productive and flexible work environments with people at their heart, supported by insight and tools.

David D’Souza is head of London at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)