The shape of the global workforce has changed and that is a good thing for South Africa.
From individuals to businesses, the pandemic has affected us all. We’ve learned different skills, adapted new behaviours and improved how we operate. The traditional 9-5 work day has also been turned on its head, and many are embracing this freedom and thriving in this arrangement.
In the 2021 study Decoding Global Ways of Working, by Boston Consulting Group and The Network on the pandemic’s impact on worker preferences, 53% of South African respondents want a job that allows them to work from home occasionally, while 61% preferred some or full flexibility in defining their working hours.
“The world is increasingly moving online and this is redefining both how organisations hire people and how people want to work. Modern businesses need to adapt their thinking and look at alternatives to traditional employment,” says Jane Khumalo, HR Manger at Hey Jude. “As a business that has learned to operate successfully with remote workers, we no longer expect people to be sitting in our offices to do their jobs. We hire people from around the world, who can work from home, in the hours that suit them.
Technology is the enabler, people are the key
Side hustle, freelance, on-demand work – call it what you will, but technology is changing attitudes and opportunities when it comes to employment. According to data from Stats SA, full-time employment numbers have decreased, but part-time job numbers have risen. Technology enables people to work with greater flexibility, giving them more time to spend with family, greater earning potential and a happier work-life balance.
Accepting a new job no longer has to disrupt families, explains Khumalo. Relocating schools, moving home, being separated from your family and lengthy commuting times can be a hardship of the past when you work from home.
“There’s a new way to work and live in South Africa. With a computer or laptop, an internet connection and your skills, you can work on your own terms and in your own time. From the mom with free mornings to the travel agent who wants to supplement their income, there are many opportunities for work that can benefit both businesses and motivated individuals. The future of work is here, and that future is flexible,” says Khumalo.
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