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The workplace of the future: What will it look like?

The workplace of the future: What will it look like?


Now is a dynamic time for the labour market, both globally and in Australia. Lawyers and employers alike need to keep up with the changes to remain competitive in this shifting market. 

We had a chat with Nick Duggal, partner of Moray & Agnew Lawyers, to find out the key aspects of the workplace of the future he thinks practitioners should be aware of, and how clients will likely be affected. Nick will be speaking at our upcoming Employment Law Half Day during our March CPD program.

Alternative Forms of Workplace Arrangements

First of all, there is an increasing need in the employment sector for businesses to engage workers via alternative forms of working arrangements in order to remain competitive. Increasingly the labour force is consisting of workers that are engaged under forms of contingent work arrangements rather than as permanent employees. These include contractors, people who are engaged by a third party labour hire or contractor management firms and people who supply services while operating their own businesses. This workplace trend gives employers the opportunity to be more supple in how they handle their labour arrangements, and gain a competitive edge in their management of their workforces. It's something employers need to consider in managing their workforce going forward.

The Robots Are Coming

The second thing employers need to consider is the growing role of robots in the workplace. Increasingly technology is wholly replacing individuals performing certain work tasks. This gives rise to a whole range of implications. First of all there is the need for workplace restructures. Secondly there is a focus on investing in technology and there are all sorts of intellectual property and other rights that arise from that. Third of all, to the extent that robots are doing physical tasks then there’s likely to be work health and safety implications for the remaining employees.

The Rise of the "Gig Economy"

The implications of what's colloquially referred to as the "gig economy" on workplace arrangements is another issue for employers to consider. Increasingly people are using online platforms to transact labour. Prominent examples are websites such as Uber, Airtasker and Freelancer. These online technological interface platforms are creating a whole new way that organisations are able to procure labour and services which is beginning to have a dramatic impact on how labour and physical services are being performed. 

Want to learn more? Catch Nick at our Employment Law Half Day where he will be discussing the workplace of the future and how the employment law landscape is changing. We will also hear case law developments from Nicholas Harrington of the Victorian Bar, and learn more about independent contractors from Rick Catanzariti, partner of DLA Piper.

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