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Competence in problem-solving and teamwork as key assets to future work-life

Competences in problem-solving and teamwork can alleviate the present work-life changes. They can help us to step out of comfort zones and be ready for the future work-life. We do not know today where we will be in ten years, and what our jobs will be like. Planning studies with insights into future needs helps us prepare for the future.


Liisa Wallenius

Senior Lecturer
Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences

Published : 14.11.2023

Work-life is changing rapidly. The tasks and organisation of work is changing. We are members of various teams, take separate roles and use different tools from one project to the next. Our work is splintered into small units and the place and time of work have become diffuse.

As educators, we realise the changing situation. We follow economic and societal development and follow trend predictions. We concentrate on training students on competences and meta-skills that will help them in their future work.

Work that we are yet unable to define

The Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra discusses the future of work from a megatrend point of view (Dufva, Solovjew-Wartiovaara & Vataja 2021). The text points out the following three trends.

  1. Versatility of work life: the environment and conditions are changing constantly, and one cannot predict the future work.
  2. Lack of alternatives: work is changing and there is no alternative. The fact that we do not know what is waiting and what will be regarded as work in the future must be accepted.
  3. Multitude of changes in work-life: the change is multi-facetted and entails changes in e.g., contents, competences, leadership, and culture of work.

When thinking about the changes, it is evident that competence in problem-solving can help us adapt to the ever-changing scenery of work. We are challenged, and even delighted, to have the opportunity to let go of the prevalent practices and routines of work and employment, and problem-solving will help us further. In many cases solutions are found through trial and error, as we are adjusting ourselves and learning to live in the new.

Working together as a community

Humans do not like to live in a bubble and work alone. We need to be part of a community. Working together and tackling the change together is how to proceed. The need of co-workers and interaction is something one can relate to in this post-pandemic time. Making the change and together requires flexibility and teamwork competence.

As the concept of teams and teamwork is changing, creating the future asks for teamwork skills. The competence to work in various teams is becoming even more crucial. How are we to make new practices for and in the future if not by co-creation. Even the sense of community and togetherness in remote work will take us further.

Problem-solving as a crucial future work-life competence

Kurki (2023) lists the five most crucial future work-life competences. Among these we find three competences that all involve skills in problem solving.

  1. Ability to work outside your own bubble. This requires change resilience and problem- solving competence.
  2. Self-management including self-care. A competence requiring problem-solving.
  3. Managing work life balance including how to manage short project work and freelance appointments.

Change is here. The only constant thing is change. We can welcome it and make the best of it. We can also face it and learn to live with it. In the end, we are part of it, and competences like problem-solving and teamwork will help us.

Our students at Haaga-Helia learn to develop their competences for the future from the first semester. Project studies throughout their education offer opportunities to develop among other skills in both problem-solving and teamwork. Our job is to educate them for the future to create possibilities together.


Dufva, M., Solovjew-Wartiovaara, A. and Vataja, K. 2021. Työn tulevaisuus megatrendien valossa. Sitra.

Kurki, E. 2023. Viisi tämän hetken tärkeintä työelämätaitoa. Helsingin Sanomat.

Editing: Marianne Wegmüller

Picture: Haaga-Helia