Contemplating the future of work can be a fascinating exercise, as we envisage how and where future generations will do their jobs, and the innovations that might power our future workplaces.
Will the talent of tomorrow need to commit to a lifetime of learning? The workplace of the future requires strong leaders who are prepared to start thinking differently today.
As technological advances quicken and future-watchers respond in turn, the latest predictions are that the legal office of tomorrow will be enhanced by innovations such as greener and more oxygen-rich environments. However, few predictions address the fundamentals of how leadership and our use of talent might change.
Service automation provides one of the biggest transformations within the legal sector as a way to streamline processes and save costs. It’s true that there are some administrative processes which seem to be the most obvious choices, but it’s more far-reaching than just that. Machine learning can provide a research resource for lawyers and the role of the paralegal will be reshaped. There has been talk of lawyer bots and we’ve seen the emergence of a few legal start-ups, championing AI and gaining a lot of momentum. The next generation of lawyers will need to learn how best to work alongside new technology so that they can utilise its potential. Having such knowledge will be an advantage to the legal talent pool that possesses it when they seek to progress their careers in a competitive space.
One force sure to transform the workplace is big data and a priority for senior leaders will be to tap into a supply of high-quality data. In an interview with PageGroup, Larysa Melnychuk, CEO and founder of the International FP&A Board, a think-tank for senior finance professionals, predicted that artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced systems knowledge will give leaders of tomorrow a clear, real-time understanding of the exact numbers driving company success or failure.
She says, “It’s all based on key business drivers, and about that 20 % of drivers that explain 80% of the results, and, obviously, this then drives changes.” She cites a client in New York: where previously it took over a month to reforecast a balance sheet numbering in the trillions, it now takes under 36 minutes.
There is a clear role for leadership during any transition phase. Laurence O’Neill, EU Core Infrastructure Coordinator for PageGroup notes that staying true to your service-centred path must remain a priority for CEOs: “While advancements in technology will shape the landscape of the future workplace, it will be up to people to ensure that we don’t lose focus of what makes us human and up to future leaders to ensure they facilitate this way of thinking.”
On an individual level, staying ahead in the workforce of the future will demand that those within the legal sector continuously adapt and engage with others in that process, while retaining our core identity and values.
To protect livelihoods and maintain a competitive edge, our future leaders must be utilised for higher-order tasks, particularly finding new ways of answering our bigger problems, and building the right sustainable models to help solve them.