After embracing remote work in 2020, companies face conflicts making it permanent

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Paul Sawers@psawers

Although the pandemic forced employees around the world to adopt makeshift remote work setups, a growing proportionof the workforce already spent at least part of their week working from home, while some businesses had embraced a “work-from-anywhere” philosophy from their inception. But much as virtual events rapidly gained traction in 2020, the pandemic accelerated a location-agnostic mindset across the corporate world, with tech behemoths like Facebook and Twitter announcing permanent remote working plans.

Not everyone was happy about this work-culture shift though, and Netflix cofounder and co-CEO Reed Hastings has emerged as one of the most vocal opponents. “I don’t see any positives,” he said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. “Not being able to get together in person, particularly internationally, is a pure negative.”

Hastings predicted that as society slowly returns to normal, many companies will concede some ground to remote work, but most will return to business as usual. “If I had to guess, the five-day workweek will become four days in the office while one day is virtual from home,” he said, adding (somewhat tongue-in-cheek) that Netflix employees would be back in the office “12 hours after a vaccine was approved.”

But a remote workforce offers too many benefits for most companies to ignore completely, chief among them a vastly widened talent base. Fintech giant Stripe launched what it called a “remote engineering hub” to complement its existing fixed-location offices. Although Stripe had employed remote workers since its launch a decade earlier, these workers were embedded within a traditional office structure and reported to a manager or team based in a physical office. The remote engineering hub went some way toward putting remote work on equal footing with brick-and-mortar bases and helping the company “tap the 99.74% of talented engineers living outside the metro areas of our first four hubs,” Stripe CTO David Singleton said at the time.

This highlights some of the conflicts many companies will face as they strive to remain competitive and retool themselves for a workforce that expects flexibility on where they work from. Making that transition will come with major challenges.

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This CEO Just Brilliantly Explained How Remote Work Will Change the World by 2030, and It’s Next-Level

BY JUSTIN BARISO, AUTHOR, EQ [email protected]

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Chris Herd thinks he’s seen the future. And it’s ruled by remote work.

As more and more companies rush to adapt new remote work policies, many find themselves behind the curve.

But what if you could look into the future? What if you could see how remote work will change the world over the next decade?

Chris Herd believes he has. 

Herd is founder and CEO of Firstbase, a startup focused on helping solve its customers remote work problems. Over the course of the past nine months, he’s spoken to more than 1,500 people about the future of remote work, and how it’s likely to change the world in the very near future.

Herd summed up his insights recently in a brilliant Twitter thread. Below you’ll find the highlights, along with my personal commentary.

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Let’s Hope Machines Take Our Jobs: We Want Wealth, Not Jobs

By Peter St. Onge

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The job-threatening rise of the machines is an economically illiterate meme that refuses to die. We’re actually probably in the early stages of it, a bull-market in neo-luddism, if you will. Bastiat’s “Candlemakers Petititon” answered this one long ago, but today I’ll run a little thought experiment that owes it all to good old Bastiat.

Let’s say Weird Al Yankovic invents a machine capable of making everything with a single push of a button. The first thing he does is print up a bunch of machines and sell them for a ton. Weird Al is now a billionaire, and there are thousands of make-everything machines.

This diffusion of Weird Al’s new technology replicates the market process, where new tech spreads in proportion to its usefulness. If you doubt this, because of patents, for example, check out Brazil’s experience with AIDS drugs, where they tore up the patents on humanitarian grounds.

Weird Al’s machines will, at a minimum, be mass produced in Brazil. Or China. Or Mozambique.

So, one way or another, we get a bunch of make-everything machines.

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India is in the middle of a much-needed start-up revolution

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India now has 38,756 officially-recognised start-ups –– with 27 unicorns, eight of which achieved this status in 2020 –– and is the third-largest tech start-up hub globally.

Entrepreneurs today are utilising the unprecedented advances from technology, operating on the demands of our demography, and inadvertently steering citizen welfare.

Five years since Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Start-Up India initiative, we are witnessing a golden chapter in the history of Indian entrepreneurship.

India now has 38,756 officially-recognised start-ups –– with 27 unicorns, eight of which achieved this status in 2020 –– and is the third-largest tech start-up hub globally.

According to Praxis Global Alliance, start-ups are growing at an average rate of 12–15% annually. Start-ups have raised $63 billion between 2016–20 in funding, $20 billion of which was raised in 2019 over 1,854 deals. Investments in start-ups are growing incrementally each year ($12 billion, $25.2 billion, $26.3 billion, and $34 billion invested in the last four years, respectively), with $16.7 billion till May 2020. Start-Up India kickstarted an entrepreneurship revolution. Several policy interventions were since announced, giving the entrepreneurial ecosystem a much-needed launchpad. The overhaul of the digital payments ecosystem is being led by State innovation, with Aadhaar, Jan Dhan, UPI, and India Stack. The Atal Innovation Mission, Niti Aayog, has built an ecosystem of 8,800 tinkering labs, 4,000 mentors and over two-and-a-half million students, and acted as a conduit for over 3,500 innovations while supporting 1,500 start-ups.

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We read all the ‘Future of Work’ articles so you don’t have to – Here’s what you need to know to prepare for the post-pandemic future

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A post-pandemic world won’t make work less

Around May, we noticed a trend: the rise of the “future of work” articles. Published by consulting firms, professional associations, and business influencers, these articles and reports asked, “What will work be like when Covid-19 is over?”

It’s a good question, one we’re all asking.

The articles and reports kept coming over the summer and into the fall. In total, we read over 40 of them published by leading organizations including McKinsey, the World Economic Forum, and the Society for Human Resource Management. Some were brief. Some were full reports with survey data. Congizant’s, which took a future-looking-back perspective, was the most creative.

We found a significant amount of overlap in most of the content, and a few ideas that are original and deserve more consideration. Below, we summarize the findings. Together, these ideas can help your team prepare for an uncertain future, pushing us closer to an answer of what work will look like in the future.

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Inside China’s iPhone factory: Fascinating footage shows Apple components being made in a fully automated plant manned by robots

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The manufacturer in southern China’s Shenzhen is entirely staffed by robots

The automated plant is dubbed ‘lights-out’ factory with AI-powered machines

It can save costs on labour and energy while improving product quality, it is said

Apple devices and iPhone components are now being produced in a Chinese out-source factory from dusk till dawn without any human workers.

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The 10 highest-paying IT certifications of 2020

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COVID-19 isolation might be a good time to add to your IT skill set, as we’re seeing several new entries on our annual list of the 10 highest-paying IT certifications. Cloud technology, information security, and project management certs are on the rise this year.

IT is one profession where the optimal skill set is a constantly moving target. We keep track of the ten highest-paying IT certifications on a running bases, and for 2020, we’re seeing some of the highest-paid certifications challenged yet again by new entrants while average salaries are on the rise across the board.

Fortunately, if you’re trapped in your home during the coronavirus pandemic, you’re far from helpless if you want to learn new skills. Many certifications are fully optimized for remote learners with most of the guided lessons, practice sandboxes, and even the certification exam itself being fully available online and on demand. This preparing for and achieving a new certification com pletely viable for people that are working from home.

Hot specializations range from information systems management, networking, cloud computing, project management, and security. Eighty percent of IT professionals say that certifications are useful for their careers, the challenge is determining which area to focus on.

We looked at data provided by professional development solutions and course provider Global Knowledge to determine the highest-paying IT certifications in the world right now. The data is based on what Global Knowledge’s customers are studying as well as the jobs they find after they graduate. We’ve broken down the top choices based on a description of the specialization as well as a corresponding pay range. Cloud and project management certifications currently dominate the top five spots.

Kindly note that these figures change from year to year, so we update this piece whenever Global Knowledge releases new data. Be sure to return to this list to check out which certification tops the rankings the next time you’re thinking of changing career gears. Let’s look at the most in-demand certifications for 2020 and their corresponding salaries.

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The 5 most in-demand skills at America’s top start-ups, according to LinkedIn

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According to LinkedIn, start-ups seek key job skills like programming proficiency and data analysis.

 Learning some new technology could go a long way in landing a new job.

As the coronavirus pandemic forces companies to shift parts of their business online, employers are searching for candidates who are proficient in tech or can learn quickly. Among the top 50 start-ups in the United States, in fact, the five most in-demand skills are all tech-related.

That’s according to new data from LinkedIn, which analyzed the skill sets of recent hires at across the country’s top start-ups, which include familiar names like food-delivery app DoorDash and bedding company Brooklinen. Overwhelmingly, the findings show, employers hired job seekers with data savvy, programming acumen, and strength in sales and marketing.

“When you receive 150 applications for one opening, employers care ever more about quality and about qualifications,” Julia Pollak, labor economist at ZipRecuiter, told Grow in October. “If you can take some time and invest in a certification or some online qualification, that can make you more competitive in the future.”

Here are the five most in-demand skills in America’s top 50 start-ups.

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At least half of people who have a job fear they’ll lose it in the next 12 months

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Job losses are a concern for more than half of working adults.

New survey shows more than half of working adults fear for their jobs.

But two thirds of workers are optimistic about retraining on the current job.

Employment concerns and perceived opportunities to learn new skills vary greatly between countries.

A new Ipsos survey, conducted on behalf of the World Economic Forum, shows that more than half (54%) of working adults fear for their jobs in the next 12 months. However, these workers are outnumbered by those who think their employers will help them retrain on the current job for the jobs of the future (67%).

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These 6 skills cannot be replicated by artificial intelligence

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An interior view shows a self-driving car owned and tested by Yandex company during a presentation in Moscow, Russia August 16, 2019.

Self-driving cars will eliminate many jobs.

Mass unemployment will occur because of robotics and AI.

Hospitality, management and creativity cannot be substituted by AI.

We need to acquire and refine more sophisticated abilities in these areas.

The COVID-19 crisis is going to accelerate a number of changes and transformations in human society. Notably, the pandemic is expected to significantly accelerate the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

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The most fundamental skill: Intentional learning and the career advantage

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Learning itself is a skill. Unlocking the mindsets and skills to develop it can boost personal and professional lives and deliver a competitive edge.

The call for individuals and organizations alike to invest in learning and development has never been more insistent. The World Economic Forum recently declared a reskilling emergency as the world faces more than one billion jobs transformed by technology. Even before COVID-19 emerged, the world of stable lifetime employment had faded in the rearview mirror, replaced by the expectation that both executives and employees must continually refresh their skills. The pandemic has only heightened the urgency of doubling down on skill building, either to keep up with the speed of transformation now underway or to manage the particulars of working in new ways.

Despite this context—and the nearly constant refrain for people to adapt to it by becoming lifelong learners—many companies struggle to meet their reskilling goals, and many individuals struggle to learn new and unfamiliar topics effectively. We believe that an underlying cause is the fact that so few adults have been trained in the core skills and mindsets of effective learners. Learning itself is a skill, and developing it is a critical driver of long-term career success. People who have mastered the mindsets and skills of effective learning can grow faster than their peers and gain more of the benefits from all the learning opportunities that come their way.

This article, supported by research and our decades of experience working as talent and learning professionals, explores the core mindsets and skills of effective learners. People who master these mindsets and skills become what we call intentional learners: possessors of what we believe might be the most fundamental skill for professionals to cultivate in the coming decades. In the process they will unlock tremendous value both for themselves and for those they manage in the organizations where they work.

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