The world of work is changing – on this point we can all agree. But how, and why, and at what rate are all questions that consistently plague managers, workers, and business thinkers around the world. The nature of work has changed dramatically in the past decade, and will continue transforming in the years ahead as demographic shifts, technology advancements, and new economic realities settle in.
What we know is that, in general, workers today have different expectations and priorities. “The corporate ladder” and the hierarchical world it created are vanishing relics of the 20th Century. Workers today, empowered by technologies that allow them to work any time, from anywhere, are demanding more flexibility from their employers. Employers are discovering that it’s often cheaper and more efficient to have a smaller ‘in-office’ headcount. The economic crisis has forced many to re-evaluate their personal and professional goals. Sustainability and environmental conservation are increasingly driving decision-making.
Organizations are devising new ways to attract, train, and retain a productive, fulfilled workforce. Employees are getting creative about how they earn income and plan for their futures. The cost of starting a business is lower than it has ever been before, which is keeping companies large and small on their toes and on the lookout for new competitors. Business schools are revamping their curricula to focus more on strategy, ethics, responsibility, and innovation.
So what does all this change mean for you? What does the future of work look like in your organization? Ultimately, the answers to these questions are for you to decide. The new reality—the future of work—is one that you’ll create. The new reality is also one that is ripe for innovation. What’s important is that you stay on top the many ways organizations and their employees are adapting to a rapidly changing marketplace. Force yourself to evaluate what works, what doesn’t, and what might make sense for your organization or team. Most importantly, do not make the mistake of maintaining the status quo. Always consider how innovation can factor into every decision you make. Always ask yourself how something can be done more efficiently or more effectively. Always consider how new innovations in the broader marketplace might make life easier or lead to better ideas. In short—be proactive, not complacent, about designing the future of work.
What does the future of work look like to you and your organization?