What the workforce will look like in 2025 as it morphs due to pandemic

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The coronavirus pandemic has radically altered the way we work, and companies of all sizes are experimenting with new ways to manage their far-flung virtual organizations. According to experts, remote work is here to stay and even when the health crisis ends, a good portion of the workforce will remain working from home. The challenge is how to keep employees connected, drive innovation and collaboration, and keep a steady talent pipeline when people are geographically dispersed.

Companies are prototyping new HR models to keep up with this rapid pace of change. Some are embracing artificial intelligence and automation to keep operations on an even keel, gather data-driven insights about their employees, improve the talent search and manage global risk.

It’s a daunting task and it’s happening at a time when business leaders are already wrestling with economic shutdowns, health-care concerns, an upcoming U.S. presidential election and societal upheaval.

What will the future of work look like in 2025? A recent McKinsey & Co. global survey of 800 executives in a range of industries reveals key trends. These include: a push towards automation; the shift to remote work or hybrid remote workforces; an increase in the use of freelancers, and growing reliance on artificial intelligence and machine learning tools to manage the workforce and other key functions.   

These shifts are already happening. Since the pandemic, 85% of respondents had accelerated digitalization of employee interaction and collaboration, and 67% have accelerated automation and artificial intelligence, according to the survey. Industries on the forefront include technology, finance and insurance.

For a glimpse of how companies are in the midst of this transformation one can look at Cisco, a network hardware company with more than 75,000 employees headquartered in San Jose, California, at the heart of