In the past few weeks, I have spoken at a couple of events, the first was for experienced business owners and the second, leaders from agency owners.
The theme has been the future of work and the future of the workplace.
As part of The Focus Five series, I wanted to provide you with a snapshot of the ways Focus is planning for the future and helping business shape their future successes with the ‘future of the work’ series.
The Future Of Work & Workplace Summary
Welcome to three people, the first is Jeff, Jeff is old school, misses working from his office with his seat and being listened to constantly when he spoke. Jeff does not understand the rush towards a fully remote workforce apart from a bottom-line perspective.
Jeff has not really truly considered the evolution that has been happening in recent times, the evolution of trust, from WFH meaning it was people not working until in recent times when people could get their heads down and actually hit deadlines.
WFH Trust Timeline
Something to note and pay attention to is how very few businesses were deliberate in creating the right online and virtual environment for their teams to success.
Many businesses have struggled to build the right remote stack (aka technology and software) and this has caused numerous issues and important dynamic shifts, especially with company culture and interpersonal connections.
The workplace has been through a journey especially in the last three years.
The future of the workplace is hybrid, and a hybrid office.
Grace has been on this journey and embraced it. Unfortunately, throughout this change, Grace has seen pros and cons, most specifically around her line manager and being able to have effective one to ones, while managing her team, alongside her deliverables and helping her team hit their deadlines.
This is a challenge many people have struggled with and have not been trained or supported in the shift to forced working from home.
Training and preparation for the Hybrid workplace are paramount to your future successes.
The Current Employee
The office despite the politics that majority of people encounter had clear dynamics, you had your layers of connections, you were able to connect to more people and have closer relationships with colleagues and make a support network of friends in and outside of work.
Clear Office Dynamics Have Changed Forever
What many people miss is the work version, their work identity, their people around them, their desk (despite not being able to sit there often enough) and the place where they had the battle of who actually booked the meeting room and awkwardly waiting outside of the meeting room or someone else’s office.
These have all been changed and it took a number of months to adapt and adjust to new dynamics.
The next shift in the workplace is enabling hybrid workforces, this means old ways of tackling the office layout and where people sit and why look and operate differently, booking into the office, being able to work safely and with your project team is going to be something dedicated people will have to look after and own.
The forced WFH experiment we are living through means offices and dynamics have shifted and many of us are seeing the passive future playout, without the element of satellite offices and small collaboration spaces.
The Future & Rewriting The Future
We have most likely seen the end of your desk, your seat and your department all being in the same small space. It is important to note this is the future and to manage the expectation of the ~40% who crave to work from their seat with their people around them.
Messy Remote Dynamics
The shift in working from home and the future of working in multiple locations have led to the shift in dynamics, between office acquaintances – those who had passing conversations and in the lift chats to colleagues being less connected (the Allen Curve is an important read) to work friends losing their closeness and with the level of interactions (proximity bias) means less work BFF’s and less close colleagues. This can be negative but also could be a positive enabling better collaboration without conditioned affinity to friends.
2021 and Beyond
An important layer we have to consider and place front and centre of the future of work and workplace is safety, and knowing the customer will be in charge, the customer will want brands to be loyal to them and be rewarded showing loyalty and creating safety, ordering online and respecting a new world of commerce.
The Future – Hybrid Employees
Meera is the future, she is a Culture Community Manager, she enables the workforce to work flexibly, she understands her performance and what is required from her business and works in shifts to ensure the best work life balance alongside getting the best professional performance.
When the return to the office is safe many business will have to develop more mentors, not more managers, a flexible working environment and an office which acts like an arena.
The Future Will Have Battle Grounds
There will be areas to address, there will be many options, working from the office, working from home, working remotely, working in co-working spaces, working from the area’s (client offices or agency offices) and encouraging this to be logged and supported by managers of all levels and experience.
The Office Will Be An Arena
The office has to be turned into something different, performances will be needed in the hybrid workplace, the arena is a place to perform, entertain, to put on a show in a safe and collaborative space.
The Hybrid Office – 30/70 rule
Despite this being a Linkedin poll, over one thousand professionals indicated the future is 30/70, 30% in the office, 70% out, 3 in ten days in the office, 7 in the other ten as remote. This is hybrid and is the future of the workplace.
The Future Of Comms: Asynchronous
The future of comms looks like multiple arrays of asynchronous tools, deliberate in the ways we communicate and explain projects, product developments and campaigns, we will see tools like mmhmm, loom and audiograms becoming everyday tools and documents not just with text and imagery but with video explainers.
Presentations with video, audio and interactions will be essential to winning the hybrid workplace battle. Plain Excel sheets lacking commentary will be redundant, PowerPoints or Google Slides with links and basic imagery will be things of the past.
Are you ready to make the shift? This is the future of collaborative work and adding to your remote stack today is going to protect you and your business.
The workplace should also see a reduction in requirements for all at the same time / real-time meetings, reduce attendance with more deliberate agendas and interactions.
Platforms Influence On Shaping The Workplace
Here are a number of important learnings and lessons you will have the implement and be deliberate in shifting old ways of work and embracing new tech and new formats from platforms the workforce uses every day outside (and some inside) of work.
The shift into chat workplaces has not gone unnoticed and many have struggled to manage and apply processes to ensure success and standardised usage of tools like Slack, Teams and Facebook’s Workplace.
The importance of video and story formats will be evident in the next year, the importance of replacing in-person connection will be essential, as will keeping and engaging staff in short but very deliberate communication messages. Video first means we operate in a new performative space however this means creative members of the team and employees with growth mindsets will thrive from introverts through ambiverts to the biggest extroverts.
Layers To Remember For Hybrid Success
It is important to step for staff, clients and customers and embrace change.
There are a number of area’s which couldn’t be covered in this summary of the presentations however building the right environment must include:
- Increasing the space and distance between teams and departments and how you can enable a safe environment
- Fluid offices – removal of rows of desks and fixed office layout
- Reducing commuting and commuting fatigue
- Improved office design to improve cognitive dissonance and collaboration
- Tech that understanding performance and apply smart but human analytics
- Technology within the office with heatmaps of where people work safely
- Employee wellbeing and emphasis on mental health and mental wellbeing
- Talent wars and retaining staff and retaining teams
- More access to natural light and allowing outdoor space
Knowing the future is hard but building towards the future in a smart and intentional way will enable you and your business for successes in the future.
If you would like to get in touch or would like a dedicated workshop on the future of work, get in touch with the details below:
Thanks for reading and looking to embrace the future of the work and the future of the workplace.
Danny Denhard – Focus Founder
Focus Dedicated Workshops
We have created dedicated remote workshops that you can book to help with your company performance, improve your company culture and start you on the road to the future of work. Get in touch if you would like more information or want to book Focus to help you fix the broken world of work.