What will work look like in the future?
The future is full of exciting opportunities. Especially when it comes to the workplace, winds are shifting. Rigid structures and tight environments are going out of style, only to make way for companies focusing not only on their client’s, but also their employee’s needs and happiness. This drives productivity, creativeness and innovation to new levels. Some companies like Google or other Silicon Valley enterprises have for long identified these benefits and continuously work to master this process. Others, rather smaller firms are still lagging behind. To make this shift, companies need to redirect their efforts and fully embrace the future and change. Easier said than done.
Enabling the transition
In order to focus on the future, most work environments need a complete reset. A company’s long-term goals must include or even be based upon assisting their client’s needs and wants, sometimes despite the return on investment not being entirely clear.
Groundbreaking technologies and new tools should continuously be evaluated and implemented to make life easier for everyone in a company, from the top to the bottom. Technology can free workers from daily tasks that distract their focus on the company’s long-term goals. For example, how many large companies use Expensify for their expense reports?
The power of collaboration and team work, even with remote working
In the future, companies will have to stress a common culture among their employees more than ever, so everyone can work towards a goal, which they identify themselves with. Managers will no longer be thought of as bosses, but rather as leaders who can guide new people in the firm and represent the company’s culture towards the outside world. Think tanks, brainstorming and other creative outlets will become part of the daily business, instead of being considered special activities or events. This inspires employees and raises the speed of innovation immensely, helping build a self-sustaining innovation culture. Other important aspects of the future of firms are integrated teamwork and flexibility to work from wherever is necessary. The future is going to take place in a worldwide setting.
Lifelong learning: Sharing and transferring knowledge
Companies have to set their sights on young “generation Z” employees, since they can bring new technological skills and perspectives into the workplace. Collaborations and learning between generations will increase drastically in order to bring the best out of each other.
With change comes a series of challenges, unknown to companies up until this point. Embracing them as a learning opportunity is a crucial step for success in the future. Worldwide networks between companies can help by sharing experiences and assisting others in their process towards a more efficient workplace. These collaborations can be mutually beneficial, since different companies all over the world can share their solutions to a big array of problems. Some of our customers have begun to do so with our Enablement Program, working to establish a cross company certification for key individuals to help enable internal teams to work in a customer centric, continuous learning and agile format.
Specific aspects that may change in companies include on the one hand sinking costs of office space needed, since employees will be able to work from wherever they desire. On the other hand, the coordination efforts between managers and employees will have to increase significantly, in order to maintain a good internal communication. Further, employee work-life-balance will become an even bigger subject, because the line between the workplace and free time is blurring.
Tackling the future of work
As an innovation agency, Spark Works can help companies who are stuck in a routine and assist them in their process towards the future. The importance of the process and tools is just as essential as always having the end goal in mind. Through field-research, brainstorming, prototyping, testing, group discussions and potential analysis Spark Works can help develop a company’s culture, skills, concepts and innovation strategy.
By Carolina Garcia Heusser, Freelancer