3 Things to Focus on to Become the Employee of the Future

November 8, 2017 Shelbi Gomez

The following article, by Shelbi Gomez, senior communications manager for Workfront, is inspired by a session at the Dreamforce 2017 conference. Enjoy!


Today at Dreamforce, leading Constellation Research analyst Alan Lepofksy said there are several challenges plaguing the office of today. He says the number-one problem is we are all overloaded in both our personal and professional lives, but it isn’t just one type of thing that is impacting us.

He breaks the overload down into four categories:

  • Too much information and the quality of the information we are being given.
  • Too many social channels where the information is being disseminated.
  • Too many people being involved at any given time and we are losing the art of creating personal relationships.
  • Too many interruptions in the day hinders our ability to get anything done.

Everything around us is changing at a rapid pace. Think about it: three years ago how did you pay for your coffee? How did you book a cab? How did you wake up in the morning? It isn’t just our personal lives that are changing drastically; work is changing at a break-neck pace as well. 


Download our 2017-2018 State of Enterprise Work Report to find out more about how work is changing.


So how can we prepare ourselves for the office of the future and still remain productive?

Alan says that the next-generation employee needs to dedicate their time to three major attributes: focus, analytics, and creativity.

1. Focus

We have to learn to focus our work in new ways if we want to be a productive employee of the future. How do you learn to focus? Through organization and structure. Take the social and more transparent environment and wrap structure, accountability, process, and prioritization around it.

This can be as simple as adding @[name], or due dates to give constructs and framework around being able to find information later. For artificial intelligence (AI) to work properly, we have to feed it the proper metadata.

2. Analytics: The “Quantified” Employee

Let’s start with the good news: we do not have to be data scientists to leverage analytics. How many steps are we supposed to take in a day? I hear you saying 10,000 steps. The vast majority of us couldn’t have answered that question several years ago, but we can now due to analytics.

If we can have this level of analytics in our day-to-day lives, why shouldn’t we expect this same level of knowledge when it comes to our work?

For instance, why can’t we know the right amount of meetings we should be having, the right amount of projects we should be working on, the right amount of hours to work in a day, the right amount of people we should be connected to at any given time, or where time is wasted or best spent on projects?

According to Alan, the employee of the future will have access to this information because it will become common knowledge—just like the 10,000 steps—because of AI. But he stresses that AI doesn’t stand for "artificial intelligence" but "augmented information, interactions, insights, and impacts."

3. Creativity

Alan says the employee of the future will need to be creative in brand new ways. He says the employees of the future will also be required to be storytellers. The things we are doing to create content is changing and will continue to change dramatically.

Think about it; when you are asked to prepare information for a meeting do you default to creating PowerPoint charts or spreadsheets to capture the story and then spend half the time explaining what the data on the screen really means? This doesn’t happen with photos or movies.

Alan says we need to become artists in order to become more engaging with the content we are creating.

In short, Alan says context is the solution to solving the overload issues for the employee of the future. If we can get tools to talk to one another, data to be integrated, information to be displayed in single places, and also get it to be beautiful to look at, we start to have viable solutions.

We are just getting started, but we can rest assured that work is about to get awesome again through the use of tools and technologies.


See "4 Keys to the Future of Work" for more advice on how you can make sure you are prepared for the future workplace.

About the Author

Shelbi Gomez

Shelbi is an experienced public relations professional with experience in both agency and corporate marketing environments. She currently guides brand awareness, market research, analyst relations, and customer content. She has nearly a decade of BtoB and BtoC experience helping companies tell their stories in the changing media landscape — in traditional media outlets, social media, and now through content marketing.

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