The future of work 2025: navigating workplace change

The future of work 2025: navigating workplace change

The pace and rate at which our world (and workplaces) have changed in the past three decades has been tremendous. And there’s no sign things are slowing down.

So, what does this mean for the future of work, particularly in the legal space? I think we can adopt three perspectives to see what’s on the horizon:

  • First, looking at the issues our clients (and wider markets) are grappling with
  • Second, understanding what our people want – and the shape of our firm in this future
  • Third, anticipating what future employees are looking for so we are well placed to attract, retain and motivate tomorrow’s talent

This presents many challenges – but there are also opportunities for those who can grasp them by adjusting their ways of working.

Client and market insights: adapting to the democratised workplace

Workforce activism is increasingly making headline news around the world. Companies are grappling with employees and casual workers making their feelings known – and voices heard – in any way they can, amplified by social media.

In a world where purpose is becoming increasingly important and profit is not the only key driver, employees are becoming more vocal in articulating their views about their workplace, employer or wider social issues via online platforms.

To help us better understand the rise in workforce activism – and the reasons for it – we conducted research with 375 global C-suite executives.

The resulting report, ‘Future of Work: Adapting to the democratised workplace’, foresees an unprecedented rise in workplace activism across all sectors and geographies.

It is not an issue that is going away anytime soon, with more than 80% of respondents expecting to see a rise in activism among employees and casual workers in the future.

The research shows that over half of those surveyed (55%) see workforce activism as a significant risk to corporate reputation – a risk only exceeded by cyber threats (65%) and fears of a new global economic slowdown (62%).

Employers need to be prepared for what’s ahead. The workplace is more democratic. It is a new world with different expectations.

The good news is that this expectation – that employers will provide a broader purpose that their employees can identify with and support – is an opportunity. It is an opportunity to clarify and expand the employer’s purpose and allow it to be a magnet around which people can coalesc

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About the author:

Mark Rigotti is a Partner and Senior Adviser at Herbert Smith Freehills and sits on the Boards of the European Australian Business Council and the Australasian Korean Business Council. He recently completed his second term as Global CEO.

As CEO, he was Chair of the firm’s Global Executive, Chair of the Global Diversity & Inclusion Group and a Member of the HSF Global Partnership Council.

Mark developed and drove the firm's vision to be “a world class professional services business bringing together the best people to achieve the best results”. He spearheaded the launch of the “Beyond 2020” global strategy, focused on five key areas: clients, sectors and products; people, performance and leadership; service delivery; innovation and technology; and platform.