The New Shape of Work: Reinventing for the Future


Puneet Swani

Senior Partner and Career Business Leader

International Region, Mercer


A framework for talking about recovery – Mercer’s three R’s


The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we work and these changes are permeating far beyond the peak of the contagion. As we navigate these unchartered waters we find ourselves dealing simultaneously with health crises, digital crises, and economic crises. The way that Mercer suggests the framework for handling the recovery can be divided into 3 steps:

  • Respond

  • Return

  • Reinvent

When we look back into the last recession in the past decade, we can understand three obvious actions that many organizations used to navigate the economic downturn which are risk management makes a difference, economics and empathy are defining futures, and reinventing brings opportunity.


As you build back better, what should you focus on three trusts to consider as you build out your strategy:

  • Reinvent for values – what people value and how value is created is shifting. This requires a rethink of the benefits that inspires and how the EVP needs to evolve for a more diverse inclusive work model. Reinvent for values includes:

  • Design for new business realities

  • Design around what people value

  • Design benefits that truly benefit


  • Reinvent for flexibility – COVID19 has tested our ability to flex how and where we work, to rapidly adjust capacity, and accelerate digital transformation. The new shape of work is flexible and skills-based. Reinvent for flexibility includes:

  • Design for employee flexibility

  • Design for skills and an agile workforce

  • Design for digital work and lives


  • Reinvent for sustainability – How companies and investors behave is in sharp focus as they reset priorities and take collective actions.

  • Design for sustainable transformation

  • Design for responsible employment

  • Design for diversity, equity, and inclusion


Flexible working is about more than remote working. Inclusive flexibility ensures that all jobs can flex when needed – the key is identifying in which dimension.

  • Where: location & infrastructure

  • When: hours and scheduling

  • How: scaling and technology

  • What: job content and sharing

  • Who: workforce, automation

A new world and social order demands a new way of look at work, working, and the workforce. We have seen the transition from discrete jobs, job-based workforce decisions, job-based career development, and job-structured work and individual evaluation into skill customers, data led, skills-driven workforce planning, skill-fuelled career agility, and assignment/gig-defined work and agile performance methods.


The Path to a Sustainable Business


Leading the long-term transformation with ‘cause and effect’ which starts from transformational (cause) to Functional (Effect) and Impact (Further Effect). An organization has to start with their purpose and moving further into tangible of operational practices.


The new way of workforce views company is also different. It's no longer Profit that matters but Purpose and Planet are also matter too.


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