Change is happening so fast that today’s workplace looks nothing like offices of old. Reports are giving way to live project management dashboards, employees have the chance to work from almost anywhere, and businesses are recognizing the need to offer employees flexibility in when they work.
With all this change, there are still some things we’re waiting for. I recently had a chance to ask several thought leaders what changes they are seeing in the workplace.
See our post "LEAP Panel: The Future of Work, According to Four Very Smart People" for insight on what you can expect your future workplace to look like.
I also asked these experts what changes they would like to see in the future workplace:
- Jess Pike, managing editor, King Content
- Alex Clarke, digital content manager, B2B Marketing
- Paul Hill, journalist and course director, Chartered Institute of Marketing
- Barry Hodge, programme manager, Knightstone Housing Group
- Phil Sheldrake, member of the Digital Life Collective and director and secretary at Network Society Research
- Andrea Fryrear, speaker, author, and Chief Content Officer at Fox Content
Here’s what they said.
What change would you like to see in the future workplace?
“Ooh, tough one. Greater flexibility around working hours would be nice. Less cluttered file storage on servers (although I guess this one's down to the company in question).
“I also think with a more mobile workforce—and more people moving jobs within shorter periods of time—companies are going to have to think more seriously about their onboarding processes, both in terms of office procedures and policies, and technology.”
—Jess Pike and Alex Clarke
“Collaborative problem-solving. The prevailing twentieth century business model was a zero-sum game: someone had to lose for you to win. But where collaborative problem solving happened, real innovation emerged.
“In engineering, you saw British and French collaboration to build Concorde, the supersonic passenger jet. In the United States, collaboration between different universities and the military created the Internet.
"And today, you can see tech firms and automakers collaborating to build a new generation of semi-autonomous or completely driverless vehicles.
“Maybe we’re entering an era when cross-company collaboration is seen as the fastest route to innovate products and services.
"That changes the strategic question from ‘who do I have to beat’ to ‘who can I work with to win?’”
“Removal of the rows of office desks. Staff should be encouraged to work from home all the time and only come to offices when they need to collaborate and work together.
“Instead of rows of desks, offices should only be collaborative working areas.
"The workplace of the future should be home working when you need to work alone and central collaborative areas when you need to work with team mates.”
“I’d love to see more financial investment in ongoing education and professional development.
“If you have good people it’s so much easier and more efficient to keep them around than to hire new ones, but you can’t expect them to magically upskill every year without some deliberate plan and budget to make it happen.”
“I like to think of enterprise IT as being augmented by and partly supplanted by what I call work IT.
“Work IT is actually the workers, not the enterprise.
"Just as we’ve seen this BYOD thing, ‘bring your own device’ to work, and ask IT if you can make it work, you can start thinking about people bringing their own applications to work.
“The corollary for the work IT innovation is that in order to operate in an organization, in a society even, you need feedback.
"You just need feedback all the time so that you can learn and that you can change your behavior in order to succeed better, in order to listen better, in order to get feedback and internalize that, and it’s just a constant cycle going on.
“At an organizational level, we call that the ‘learning organization.’ That means that each and every one of us must have the ability to tap into the influence flows going through the organization.
“Influence flows, in other words, the data that’s flowing through the organization should be accessible by everybody for them to achieve their purpose.”
The experts I talked to feel that technology will need to evolve to keep up with future work trends and that flexible schedules and the ability to collaborate will be even more essential in the future workplace than they are now.
Over the next several posts, I will continue to share the insights I got from this forward-looking group on the future of work and how we can adapt to and benefit from it. Stay tuned!
Check out "Get Ready For The 4 Challenges Shaping The Future of Work: News From The Best of Leap 2017" for tips on how you can overcome hurdles on your way to the future of work.
About the Author
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.Follow on Twitter More Content by Shelbi Gomez