Prior to the recent pandemic, there was a gradual move to a more distributed workforce in industries where this was possible. There was also an increasing proportion of the workforce demanding optionality in where and how they work, even selecting their employer based on this criterion. Covid saw a massive acceleration in this dynamic, effecting a huge swath of employees almost overnight. Several months on, Workvivo conducted a survey to see how employees were reacting to this move. An overwhelming proportion of employees working remotely (and their employers) indicated that the distributed working environment was actually more productive and satisfying for both parties.
We see this move to a truly distributed workforce as a key dynamic in the Future of Work. Organizations that fail to get ahead of this change in terms of the ways in which employees communicate and engage with each other and the business, and in terms of revising organizational culture, will find it increasingly challenging to retain key resources and therefore compete.
This change in the working dynamic, however, is not a simple move – especially for larger organizations with ingrained cultures and ways of working. With a reduction in face-to-face interactions in the workplace (not just professional ones), businesses must increase focus on the ‘whole individual’; both their personal as well as their professional life.
We believe there is a need in the Future of Work to bring more ‘humanity’ into leadership, increasing leadership transparency, recognizing employees’ work, ultimately helping the employee feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves, but are an indispensable part of that thing. Supporting the personal/professional blend will also become non-optional. These qualities are essential when many employees are working in home offices, often several miles and possibly time-zones away from leadership, with the potential for isolation and disconnection within arm’s reach.
Technology can be a major enabler in making this cultural transition happen, whilst maintaining healthy levels of connection and engagement regardless of working location. Company culture needs to become flexible, malleable, extensible in ways it never has been before. By providing engaged communication through a well-known social paradigm, we see technology such as Workvivo as the cultural fabric that provides flexibility without breaking cultural bonds. A central gathering place where everyone, regardless of role, location, culture or personality type can connect, interact, collaborate and create as one. We’re excited by this prospect and actually see organizations becoming more enjoyable places to work, more resilient and more creative as a result, in the future of work.