I recently googled ‘the future of work,’ and took note of the different top search results:
- Official whitepapers detailing how industries will use more automation in their labor force
- Opinion pieces advising CEOs and industry leaders on adapting to growing employees demands for flexibility and wellbeing
- Which digital tools are best to achieve asynchronous communication
For me, this ubiquitous post Covid 19 pandemic topic doesn’t stir thoughts about any of the above at all.
To have a thoughtful take on the future of work, companies can’t use this movement to push their new technology or artificially endorse “remote work” benefits, meanwhile passively-aggressively forcing face time at the office.
No, successfully understanding the future of work requires a genuine connection with your team, knowing good work is best achieved through a strong sense of trust, and an acknowledgment of how closely work and personal life intersect.
At STADIUM, the future of work is centered around four things:
- A work from anywhere culture (which means getting rid of your commute!)
- A true ability to be yourself. There is no putting on your “game-face” at work – no keeping up appearances, playing politics, or being a ‘facade’ of anyone other than who you are each day
- A pod-oriented versus linear-oriented org structure where, for many of us, there isn’t a firm definition around roles but rather a string of projects in which you dip in and out. Getting things done actually come from a place of multi-tasking and context-switching, which traditional organizations may note as chaotic and unfocused
- Understanding your employees on a very human level. The FoW isn’t about scaring your workforce with automation that’ll eliminate their jobs, but rather built upon principles that your employees are appreciated for the hard work that they do.
After all, our brands are built upon the principle that every employee milestone should be recognized with a treat – whether it’s a new hire, work anniversary, promotion or simply a birthday celebration.
These four principles are ingrained in how I work, and also… how I operate as the person behind the work I do.
I recently became a new mother, so my personal future of work coincides with a near-term future of raising young children.
Our remote-first approach eliminates a daily commute, so I’m able to effectively work and execute the morning and evening routine for my nine month old daughter in between the hours I have childcare. There will often be a ten (or some days, five) minute transition from feeding her breakfast, to getting dressed (to getting oatmeal out of my hair, ha), to going to the basement home office and turning on my computer to start my first meeting.
For working parents, accommodating kids’ schedules is nothing new. Hours and shifts are often centered around school dropoff and pickup. Part-time work was created to accommodate, notably women, that wanted or needed to be at home with their preschool age children. Five to eight pm is the universal ‘we’re offline’ time for American parents.
A flexible work schedule isn’t anything next-level. But what is, is knowing I don’t have to apologize for it. As hard as it is to admit, weaving in between work life and Mom life can sometimes leave me feeling equally frazzled as it does fulfilled. There’s a lot to do in both departments, and it can be challenging to balance the pendulum swinging between priorities.
“Having it all” is more a societal cliche than a reality, but what has been possible at STADIUM is the permission to be vulnerable while trying to achieve that endeavor. To be honest and authentic without fear of retribution even when I have to admit I feel underprepared for the day.
So, what’s the future of work? It’s more than just endorsing a flexible way of working via digital tools. It’s freeing your employees to feel that by choosing how they want to work, where they want to work, when they want to work, and making space for what motivates them to work (in my case, that’d be securing the best future for my daughter), you are creating a positive company culture of freedom and agency that’s real. One that’s guaranteed to make a lasting impact on everyone who opts to dedicate their talent, time and energy to growing your business.