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The Changing Workplace Landscape


The world has experienced exponential changes in the last decade. With the advancement of technology, as well as other major changes, our way of life and the way we do things, has significantly changed. For example, the way we communicate has fundamentally changed with the advent of social media, video conferencing platforms, virtual reality platforms, mobile phones and other mobile devices. Society has become far more informal and where ties and suits were the ubiquitous dress code for men, and smart workwear and either suits or dresses for women, now the “casual Friday” is the norm every day.

One other major change that we have seen is the change in the way that we work. In particular, we note that three major forces, COVID, technology and a shift to a better work-life balance, have made significant changes in the workplace. As a result of these changes, the traditional workplace, as we know it, has evolved and as such, there is an ever-growing need and responsibility for employers to embrace these changes, and start putting measures in place to protect the interests of their employees and of the business.

In that connection, this article focuses on how the modern workplace has changed, how it will continue to change, and what this will mean for employers.

How has the nature of work changed?

In the last 5 – 10 years, and in particular since the COVID 19 pandemic, the way that employees work has changed exponentially. Whilst most employees previously worked from a physical office from 9am – 5pm, Monday through Friday, this is no longer the case for many employees. Instead, progressive employers have embraced a model where employees are able to work flexibly, whether that means working from home, from a shared working space, or in some cases working remotely in a different state or country. Technology has allowed these changes to occur without significant, or in many cases any, disruption to productivity. The only factor holding back the move to more flexibility is often antiquated attitudes to work and what that should look like.

Further, flexible working in many cases has also allowed employees to work hours which are not the traditional 9am – 5pm. Rather, many employers have made it possible for employees to work hours which accommodate their schedule, their family’s schedule or to provide enhanced work-life-balance.

These changes to the workplace have helped the work-life balance of many employees and is now becoming the new way of working. Anecdotally, businesses wanting to attract young employees and new graduates are now having to offer flexibility in relation to how and when work is performed to attract the best candidates.  As such, it is becoming more important for employees to offer this type of flexibility, in order to be attractive to new employees and in order to retain existing ones. This means that employers need to really consider how this may impact their current operations and also consider what they can do to ensure their business can transition to a more flexible sustainable environment. There have been numerous studies that have shown that money alone is insufficient to ensure employees remain motivated and engaged. Rather cultural and other benefits often play a far greater role. Employers that are proactive in creating this balance and ensuring they are agile enough to change, when necessary, are far more likely to flourish in what will continue to be a rapidly changing environment.

How will the workplace continue to evolve?

As we saw in the introduction to the Future of Work article, as technology continues to evolve, so will the workplace. In particular, artificial intelligence (“AI”) and automation will likely continue to play a key role in the workplace and can, if used appropriately, increase efficiency and accuracy and save costs. Almost certainly, AI, automation and technological advances will make certain tasks and roles obsolete, in particular in industries where the tasks are repetitive and mundane. However, this is also the case in specialised fields including the law, where the use of AI, is transforming how routine tasks are performed. This is leading to the redundancy of certain positions, as well as the creation of many new positions, some of which we cannot yet imagine. What is certain, is that employers and businesses who ignore these changes are likely to be quickly left behind, when their competitors are able to make use of new technologies to ensure a better and cheaper product or service. It is also inevitable that some of these changes will result in a need to restructure the business and planning for this in difficult economic times will place employers in a position of significant advantage over their competitors.

Further, we can also expect to see certain types of technology, such as biometric technology, and geofence applications, continue to replace manual verification and login procedures. In addition, we also expect to see other types of technology, such as cloud storage, continue to replace physical bookkeeping and server based storing processes. These processes have far reaching implications for the maintenance of employee records, and privacy concerns and need to be carefully considered to ensure the business remains compliant with their legal obligations.

What do these changes mean for employers?

As the nature of the workplace continues to evolve, due to advancements in technology and changes to employee expectations, these changes will bring new opportunities, as well as new challenges, to employers.

While technological advances assist businesses to make their workplaces more flexible and more efficient, employers must also be aware and alive to the challenges and risks that arise as a result of evolving technology and a more flexible workplace. These risks can include, but are not limited to legal risks, financial risks, security risks and reputational risks.

For example, as a result of the shift to a more flexible way of working, employees are now accessing company information and files, including confidential data, through different Wi-Fi networks and in some cases personal devices. Further, many employees have changed the way they store data, and have transitioned from physical storage of documents, to storing data in cloud storage. As a result, company data is increasingly more exposed, and this has led to the risk of cyberattacks and data breaches which put companies and businesses at risk. As such, employers have had to implement more appropriate security measures, including implementing more accurate login systems such as geofence applications and/or biometric technology, or introduce more advanced systems of monitoring and surveillance.

In order to avoid any issues that arise as a result of technological advances and other changes, we also encourage employers to:

  • consider the evolving nature of their workforce and the risk the business faces;
  • audit business practices to determine whether new practices can be introduced and identify risk factors some of these advancements and changes have created;
  • ensure the business has appropriate policies dealing with these matters – for example, implementing hybrid working policies that clearly reflect how employees will be allowed to work flexibly and policies that address data security, privacy and confidentiality;
  • provide training to employees to ensure employees are engaged and aligned to the business vision and requirements; and
  • review contracts of employment to ensure they are fit for purpose and provide sufficient flexibility to allow the employer to rapidly change, if necessary.


It is essential for employers who wish to continue to thrive, to adapt with the changing times, and to put the right measures in place to protect their employees, and their business, so they can stay competitive.

If you require any assistance or information in relation to this alert, please do not hesitate to contact us.

This alert is not intended to constitute and should not be treated as legal advice.

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