The future of work is always a hot topic, but perhaps more now than ever before. Being in the training and development field has given me a different perspective on the recent world shake-up and how to move forward as the dust settles in new and unexpected ways. While there are many learnings (including my increased belief in gratitude as a superpower), here are three that I believe will be critical for businesses and organizations moving forward.
1) Creativity is alive and well
A lot of my inspiration continues to come from the amazing creativity that revealed itself when so many businesses and business models went down in flames. The local distillery that added hand sanitizer as a new production and revenue stream, the merchandising company that found and sold masks and related materials when no one was buying hats and t-shirts, performers who did online concerts for fans while they couldn’t tour, whole industries that rose like phoenixes from the ashes of suddenly obsolete ones – creativity and innovation move us forward when the comfort of habit is no longer there to hold us back. The old ways are not necessarily the best ways.
2) Productivity is not tied to being in an office
For decades, many businesses and organizations have resisted the pleas of workers to be allowed to work from home, either full- or part-time. The prevailing fear was that people would slack off if not physically supervised. Now that we’ve been forced to work remotely, the results were exactly the opposite. Working at home shifted the focus away from “looking busy” to measurable performance and productivity. When the ask was clear, workers at all levels made sure to meet expectations – and could still put in a load of laundry or walk the dog between calls. Not surprisingly, many people are not interested in going back to an office setting, at least not full-time. Most cite social contact, not the inability to get work done, as the main draw for being in person with co-workers.
3) People matter
Traditional leadership across industries was already beginning to shift with the demands of the younger generation pouring into the workforce. The old way of top-down leadership, command, and control, and profit first is not working in this new arena. Workers want to be developed and given opportunities to contribute right out of the gate. In recent Gallup polls, younger workers in particular want development opportunities, balance in all life areas, and being treated as human beings instead of cogs in the wheel. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are front and center as people evaluate businesses that want to attract and retain the best and brightest in their fields. While the results for the future of work remain to be seen, there is an undeniable shift in this area that businesses ignore at their own risk.
The Future of Work
A funny thing about the future – it is happening around us every day. As we recognize the need for change in many areas, what will serve us best is recognizing and building the skills, resources, and views needed to navigate this new frontier already in the making. Resiliency, innovation, focus, clarity, communication skills, and the ability to connect as human beings will get us wherever we need to go, no matter what challenges remain. Learn these, bring them into professional development programs, and you’ll be ready to thrive now – and in whatever is next.
Author – Cathey Stamps
Marketing + Partner Lead
InteraWorks is a global learning company on a mission to elevate the human experience at work. Specializing in professional development and performance enablement, we offer top-rated learning programs based on four defined conditions that must exist for individuals, teams including Effective Edge, Best Year Yet, and the Essentials series. Our integrated learning framework and online tools generate immediate and sustainable breakthroughs in performance. Through decades of working at all levels in enterprise companies across many industries, we’ve built a reputation for helping people and organizations harness their focus, mindset, talent, and energy to produce results that matter most.
We’ve defined four conditions that must exist for an individual, team, or organization to be effective within the arena of performance and development; Accountability, Focus, Alignment, and Integrity. We’ll continue to explore these and more in our blog and look forward to your engagement and interaction with us. Stay tuned as we engage the edges.