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Flexible Work: A Future with Accelerated Workflows

Savvy senior executives have moved beyond denial. They know their "Future of Work" vision can't include a return-to-normal approach. Instead, it embodies the adoption of hybrid work models by a majority of forward-thinking organizations, supported by the broad deployment of digital business technology.

Driven by digital transformation initiatives and the realities of a rapidly evolving global economy, employers will adopt more dynamic ways of working. Meanwhile, employees will redefine themselves as members of reconfigurable teams that adapt quickly -- anytime, anywhere, and from any location.

Led by CEOs and the board of directors, Future of Work initiatives will be key enterprise-wide imperatives. The insights gained from digital-first ways of working will enable organizations to respond to the needs of key stakeholders, with solutions that empower an acceleration of workflows.

Future of Work Solutions Market Development

"As organizations continue to define and refine work models best suited for their industries, they inevitably will need to calibrate the right deployment of automation, digital and physical workspace, and place technologies," said Amy Loomis, research director at IDC. "Far from being a means to an end, deployment of these technologies is sparking new leadership conversations around empowering workers to be more autonomous and innovative working with IT, across functions and with clients."

The IDC Future of Work Top 10 Predictions are:

1) By 2024, 80 percent of the G2000 will use AI/ML-enabled "digital managers" to hire, fire, and train workers in jobs measured by continuous improvement, but only 1 of 5 will realize value without human engagement.

2) By 2023, G2000 line of business employees will use tools to automate their own work using codeless development, but 90 percent of these programs will fail without supporting COE and adoption methodology.

3) 40 percent of the G2000 will see a 25 percent improvement in information usage by 2026 due to investments in intelligent knowledge networks that turn structured/unstructured data into findable and actionable knowledge.

4) By 2023, digital transformation (DX) and business volatility will drive 70 percent of G2000 organizations to deploy remote or hybrid-first work models, redefining work processes and engaging diverse talent pools.

5) 70 percent of enterprise businesses will have extensively invested in diversity, equality, and inclusion data, tools, and benchmarking by 2024 to define recruitment and human capital strategies.

6) By 2023, 60 percent of G2000 businesses will deploy AI- and ML-enabled platforms to support the entire employee life-cycle experience from onboarding through retirement.

7) DX-related IT skills shortages will affect 90 percent of organizations by 2025, costing over $6.5 trillion globally through 2025 due to delayed product releases, reduced customer satisfaction, and loss of business.

8) By 2025, 90 percent of new commercial constructions or renovations will deploy smart facility technology supporting flexible workplaces and sustainably improving occupant experiences and operational performance.

9) By 2023, 70 percent of connected workers in task-based roles will use intelligence embedded in adaptive digital workspaces from anywhere to engage clients or colleagues and drive enterprise productivity.

10) G1000 firms will use intelligent digital workspaces with augmented visual technologies (hardware/software) in 8:10 regularly scheduled meetings by 2024 to enable high-performance distributed global teams.

Outlook for Future of Work Innovation Growth

As organizations accelerate and expand their digital transformation initiatives, traditional work models are no longer sufficiently nimble, adaptive, or scalable. Looking ahead, IDC plans to help organizations recognize the necessity of moving to work models that support an increasingly diverse, distributed, and dynamic workforce -- securely, effectively, and productively.

As I look to the Future of Work for enterprise knowledge workers and mobile front-line employees, I anticipate the increasing demand for secure IT solutions that streamline workflows. Removing friction from online employee experiences is proven to create an environment that improves engagement and increases productivity. This is a path toward progress that will help to fuel new digital business growth.

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