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October | Change Management | Read time: calculating...

Future of Work under the microscope

From the tulip fields in the Netherlands to Sydney’s northern beaches, Jolanda Rotteveel’s career began in international relations and transformed into a Future of Work Associate Consultant role for Keogh Consulting. Her focus is on helping businesses adapt to the rapidly changing landscape of the modern workplace.


After completing two master’s degrees in international relations and human resources in the Netherlands, Jolanda Rotteveel followed a dream to live down under with her husband, and 17 years later they’re still calling Australia home.

Now expanding Keogh’s footprint into NSW through her Sydney-based role, Jolanda brings people management, organisational development and change consulting experience to Keogh from a career spanning two continents working in corporate and project settings.

For organisations needing a refresh post-COVID and reimagining the “new normal” in the workplace, Jolanda says considering the Future of Work is a must.

“The pandemic fast-tracked technologies like AI and robotics, but also global pressures like skills shortage, sustainability, and social changes. These changes influence how people live and work, and that is what Future of Work is all about,” Jolanda explains.

Jolanda has a few tricks up her sleeve – as the Dutch say, to find the “sheep with five legs” – when it comes to solving issues like recruitment in a world crippled by skills shortages and workforce pressures.

“Business transformation is what really excites me and having the curiosity to figure out what makes people tick and what they need to thrive is what I think is important,” she explains.

“I really enjoy finding out what needs to be done and how it can be done best, what is going to make a difference for people and for the organisation, what the context is to make sure it will be delivered well.”

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What is the Future of Work?

The five key pillars of the Future of Work integrate the who, what, where, when and how of work. While ‘where’ and ‘when’ includes flexibility such as hybrid and remote options in the modern workplace, ‘what’ focuses on harnessing technology, skills and work design, and ‘who’ refers to the talent an organisation needs to do that work.

The final pillar, ‘how’, is all about enablers. It includes culture and ways of working, including leadership, technology, learning and workplace design. “If you ignore the ‘how’, you risk productivity loss, talent gaps, turnover, wellbeing issues and miss out on potential innovation opportunities – a key accelerator for business performance,” Jolanda says.

While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution in the modern workplace, Jolanda says addressing key Future of Work pillars can assist turning around businesses challenged by fast-changing conditions.

“It’s all about making it fit-for-purpose and giving your people a voice in designing a solution that allows them to be their best selves and deliver great business results,” she says.

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How culture enables change

Talent shortage has become a top priority for leaders. The latest National Skills Commission report shows occupation shortages have doubled in 2022. “A different recruitment approach won’t be enough. Creating a bespoke plan with a humanistic approach is key,” Jolanda explains.

“You’ll need to reconsider work design, how you upskill and reskill your employees, and review how you can create internal mobility in your workforce around tasks and skills. We can help leaders navigate what’s required to create an agile workforce that can tackle the wide range of challenges ahead”.

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The pandemic has highlighted the need for building connections and fostering an inclusive work culture. With hybrid working now mainstream, it requires more than a conversation on the number of days in the office. Leaders need to talk with their teams about why, and explore which activities are better done face-to-face.

“I regularly hear comments that leaders are keen to re-establish pre-pandemic work practices, but the world has changed, and your people have too. It is not about going back but moving forward. It’s important to give your employees a voice in this,” Jolanda explains.

“You also need to be clear on what the guardrails are – the non-negotiables – and where teams and individual employees have flexibility to determine their ways of working that supports their best performance. There is no-one-size-fits all.”

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Addressing the Future of Work at the right time

The Future of Work is more relevant than ever as businesses adapt to disruptive technologies and global trends that are changing the way people live and work. It’s not all about robots and automation – it’s rethinking what modern work looks like.

“Different types of jobs and different things are changing the future of work, but it’s also global trends, like social change. For example, demographics like the ageing population and different needs from different generations in workplaces,” Jolanda explains.

“It’s also topics like sustainability next to other disruptive global trends around inflation and economic factors. COVID has been a massive accelerator for some of those trends, because of hybrid working, and we’re still debating how that will work.”

Jolanda adds that it’s important to not expect to get it right straight away. “Start with one team or a small business area and find out works and what does not,” she says.

“Don’t just do what your competitors are doing. Everyone is testing and learning. Be curious, learn fast, tweak and figure out what is going to work for your organisation and what your people need to thrive”.

Looking for professional advice on how the future of work will look like for your organisation? Get in touch with our consulting team and start the conversation today.


Image credit: Tim Gouw on Unsplash