I’ve been thinking a lot about the future of work. Do I want to go back to a physical office? Part-time? A hybrid model? And what does that even mean? I guess I’m waiting and wanting to better understand what purpose our offices will serve. What does WFH look like when we’re not in a pandemic?
Will returning to an office be like nothing ever changed with assigned desks? Damn, I hope not. That feels like a company refusing to adapt. Will it be more open and flexible with floating desks and more breakout areas? Yeah, I can see that. Or perhaps our offices exist to satisfy a thirst for social and community events? With the workforce becoming more distributed, that might require a larger travel budget, but it sure would be nice to have the option to get together IRL a few times per year.
But here’s the kicker. How do teams foster strong cultures and ensure everyone, yes everyone, has an equal voice whether you’re in an office or on a virtual square? How do we ensure there’s no bias when a majority of a team goes into an office, yet others, even just one, are working remote? What new skills, tools, or processes will need to adapt? How does this change onboarding, benefits, career growth, and compensation? How do we shift our mindset from the default physical office to a remote-first office? It feels like we might need a second here.
How do teams foster strong cultures and ensure everyone has an equal voice?
There’s no question this pandemic has forced the discussion, and whether you’re aware of it or not, many of us are re-writing the company handbook (in real-time) on how this plays out. And holy shit, if you take a second to recognize how this will impact generations to come, the opportunities to level the playing field and provide more equitable work environments — the gravity of being in a position to influence at scale like this…is just incredible.
Think about the last time you and everyone you know indirectly worked on a project together. The playbook on the future of work is being written while you read this. And it’s happening simultaneously at your friend’s company. And the one your neighbor works for. And just about anyone privileged enough to be employed. We’re all in a position to contribute. Don’t sleep on this one. I’m fired up thinking about it and can’t wait to see how we innovate, experiment, adapt, learn, and grow.
Think about the last time you and everyone you know indirectly worked on a project together.
The great acceleration around the future of work is happening. It’s going to be transformative, and enable us to shape both our work experiences and our cities. I have no doubt we’ll be seeing more communal workspaces pop up in our local communities. For me, that’s ideal — working for a company that provides flexibility so you can choose between working from home, in a company office, or a local satellite space (which is dope as it keeps the money in our communities). I’ve grown to enjoy working from home (more time with the kiddos, learning how to set up a home studio, no longer commuting), but I do wish I could walk or bike to a small, co-working space in my neighborhood.
Perhaps we can create mini-pods (think modular storage parks made into cool work environments) taking advantage of indoor and outdoor spaces and connecting with others in our local communities. This may help create some space between the home and office, while staying nearby enough to put our dollars to work in our communities.
So, what’s the future of work look like for you?