The Future of Work

Ambassador Riitta Resch – gave an opening speech welcoming the FinLux Business Club. At the moment the Finnish Embassy is in Brussels and supports Luxembourg from there. However, it is difficult to help companies that are interested in the Luxembourgish market from distance, it will be much easier for the FinLux Business Club to provide support to companies on site.

Europe is currently recovering from the Covid pandemic and the related restrictions, supported by the EU and their recovery fund. This opens up opportunities for Finnish companies that are interested in the Luxembourgish market e.g., companies strong in digitalisation. FinLux Business Club will provide support and guidance on-site with remote guidance from the Embassy in Brussels.

Hertta Vuorenmaa, University Lecturer & Research Programme Director for Future of Work at Aalto University – the future of work is already here.

The recovery from Covid and from the related restrictions are impacting how people continue to build up the future of work. A lot of change has been accelerated by the pandemic.

One of the most important leadership questions now is “how are you guys doing?” Every leader should pose this question to their team and should also listen to the answers. It was mentioned that “the people coming back to the office are not the same people who left it at the beginning of the pandemic”.

It is important to recognise that work is not changing the same way everywhere. Different organisations change in different ways. Furthermore, work has always changed. Already the 1st industrial revolution, at the end of the 17th / beginning of the 18th centuries, changed the way we work. And the change continues.

Adaptation is key. Technology is never the issue, people are. Engagement is more important than ever and without inclusion, there is no engagement.

A socially sustainable working life requires action on three levels: individual, organisational, society.

For those who would like to learn more about the Future of Work, Aalto University offers an online course that is free of charge:

Panel Discussion

  • Remote, Flexible and Hybrid work – establishing and maintaining a culture of trust

(Nina Mäenpää)

  • Trust is crucial for launching and conducting remote/hybrid work successfully
  • The remote and hybrid setup is however challenging psychological safety, which strongly relies on trust.
  • Trust is typically established via personal connection. In a remote setup, we are missing the unintentional encounters, which serve an important and previously underestimated role in building trust.
  • It is however possible to build and maintain trust also in remote and hybrid environments, but this requires attention, effort and time (keeping up the conversations, virtual meetups/coffees etc.).
  • Some even experienced new and better ways to connect and communicate virtually.
  • As brought up in the keynote, it is most crucial to ask “How are you?” frequently, and really listen to the responses.
  • The future role of the Office in a hybrid world of work

(Niko Pulli)

  • It is too early to determine if indeed the future will be hybrid or what the definite future of the office will look like, as the last year of forced remote work is not a natural example to base conclusions on. In about 3 years we will have a more realistic picture on which way things are going.
  • It is clear that knowledge work as such does not depend much on physical space.
  • Also, that it is unnecessary to require office presence in order to ensure people do their work.
  • Instead, the “future” office must be tailored around the particular company’s needs and purpose; Each company must become more clear and intentional around what their purpose is.
  • There are however many reasons to assume that the office is here to stay, certainly as a cradle for company culture, which is the most important feature of many companies.
  • Collaboration tools cannot fully replace all needs for interaction and connection building.

(Hertta Vuorenmaa)

  • There will not be a universal truth; an office must serve the purpose of the company in question.
  • Assume less & analyse more and do your own legwork: Do a thorough analysis of your needs/purpose: “Why would anybody want to come here?” – take the minuses as a to-do -list rather than criticism.
  • Building a culture virtually is hard; huge differences in how people are perceiving it, for instance generational.
  • The key question is how to create a culture/office that people actually want to come in to.

(Carolina de Leon Brooks)

  • Great differences in how people have experienced this, but as pointed out, it is too early to conclude anything definite based on the extreme examples of the pandemic.
  • How is leadership changing in a hybrid and remote setup?

(Hertta Vuorenmaa)

  • While leadership never has been easy, the pandemic period has meant a lot of emotions and unforeseen developments that have made virtual/distance management particularly hard; Nobody was prepped to deal with these types of concerns virtually, including fears of death.
  • Many developments were already in place before Covid, but were accelerated by the Covid crisis.


  • Main skills needed for leaders navigating these waters/remote and hybrid structures: Empathy and coaching skills; ask questions and really listen to answer.
  • The trend is suggesting that responsibility and leadership are becoming more shared in a hybrid environment, which requires more trust. Trust also functions as a motivator for employees working remotely.
  • Carolina de Leon Brooks
  • Carolina was the cofounder of the Luxembourg based Job Tailors start-up initiative that some 4-5 years ago tried to introduce and promote flexible working arrangements in Luxembourg.
  • The complex structure of the workforce, with a significant portion being cross-border workers from the three neighbouring countries (France, Germany and Belgium), contributes (then as well as now) to the greatest obstacle to flexible and remote working in Luxembourg: taxation.
  •  Due to social security payments, cross-border commuters can only work from their homes for an estimate of 20 days annually to avoid dual taxation.
  • While we saw emergency legislation introduced during the pandemic, temporarily easing these rules, it will remain difficult to fully implement flexible working culture in Luxembourg until/unless any permanent regulative agreements are introduced between the countries.
  • Learnings were however also made during the pandemic in Luxembourg; previously banks and legal institutions, which constitute a major part of employers, were reluctant to allow homeworking due to privacy and security concerns. However, after the pandemic and with the development of technology, it has been learned that many of these functions can safely be performed remotely/over internet.