We believe that it is in the interests of both employers and workers to ensure a stable, resilient and positive working environment for the future. This is a matter of good governance and ethical policy, but also a way of trying to ensure sustainable future: one in which both day-to-day productivity and innovation for the future are nurtured by a loyal and engaged workforce. So, what measures can be taken by forward-thinking employers to protect both their workforce and their businesses in the emerging world of work? These are our collective insights:

Our suggestions for employers:

1. Choose the right contract type:

From a business point of view, employers might consider using temporary contracts as the first step towards full-time and permanent employment for those workers who perform well. While a short term, flexible workforce allows businesses to quickly respond to external pressures, there is a balance to be struck, as permanent employees will preserve the business in the longer term.

2. Classify correctly:

As governments continue to introduce new legal restrictions, it is important for employers to remain up to date with the legal classifications of non-standard working arrangements. The consequences of misclassifying employees can be significant. If your arrangement is of a self-employed nature, make sure the service agreement makes this clear and adopt the appropriate approach towards self-employed individuals in your day-to-day practice.

3. Promote flexibility in hours and place of work:

Flexibility is a way of attracting and retaining talented people who will grow the business over the long term. This will be particularly important going forward, as the millennial generation is well-known for expecting flexible conditions of work. It is also a good way to ensure diversity within your workforce, which in itself is known to improve decision-making.

4. Upskill the workforce:

The world is changing faster than ever and complexity is increasing. People can no longer expect to find a job for life and the needs of any job would change radically over time in any case. All this requires a workforce that is ready and willing to upskill along the way and forward-thinking businesses should generally encourage their employees to train and develop new skills as part of the culture. At the same time, workers have a duty to themselves to take care of their own professional development and engage with the opportunities they find to do this.

5. Adapt service provision:

It's in the interests of most businesses to find new methods to deliver their goods and services, including by forays into the gig economy and expansion into online service provision. A willingness to adapt and innovate will help businesses stay relevant and able to take advantage of the new economy.

6. Create a supportive, inclusive work culture:

It may well not be enough to offer flexibility and freedom of choice: workers may need a cultural environment which is open and inclusive before they will feel truly integrated and reward the employer with their loyalty. Therefore, employers should seek to embed policies that encourage people to give feedback, and - as a matter of good practice – they should take that feedback from people at all levels of the business.

7. Promote positive working relationships:

Long, mutually beneficial, positive working relationships between employers and employees are important and these can be fostered by having a positive workplace culture, good managers and motivated staff, whose incentives are aligned.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.