Changing the way we think about the way we work and the future of work in the modern era is something that needs to start internally, at the very core of the working system.
And by internally I mean from within an organisation or business. Just as company policy, vision and direction are internal functions so too should be the determination of what work actually looks like in the future within this vision.
Internal change and direction will then drive buy-in and slowly but surely we can begin to adapt to a new way of thinking. Instead of thinking can it be – begin to adapt to a new way of thinking about way we work.
But before adaption comes adoption, and when it comes to work, the very culture of our society has been groomed so long to accept certain work practices that we need to change a deeply entrenched understanding of how things are traditionally done.
But that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible.
Many pioneering businesses are doing great things to adapt to the future of work, especially in the arena of flexibility, mobile workspaces and new technologies. Some of the company’s leading the way in this regard are Facebook (voted best place to work in the UK in 2015), Google and Virgin Atlantic.
But outside of these industry giants remains skeptical employers and even workforce who are wary of changing a work culture that has been in place for generations before them.
Author of the best-selling Future of Work, Jacob Morgan, explains that key to initiating the debate around change is asking why companies do things a certain way and assessing whether in fact this is productive or even viable. For example, asking why it is that employees have to work 8-5 at a dedicated desk space.
In particular, the way in which flexible or part-time work is perceived is critical to the adaption of a future mind-set. Harnessing the power of part-timers or of skilled knowledge workers, such as working moms, is often overlooked.
To be future fit in the workspace we need to acknowledge the demand for a more flexible work environment; one that allows for a more holistic approach to work-life integration.
The knowledge economy in South Africa and the world over is full of highly skilled individuals, which due to changing life circumstances such as having children, would prefer to use their experience in a more flexible scenario.
By companies embracing a future mindset, this culture becomes more acceptable and opens up the flexible working economy to the benefit of all. There is no doubt that the year ahead is going to reveal even more demand for this type of work.
After all, we live in an age of technology and increasing life pressures. The benefits of flexible work are endless and have been proven to improve productivity and output while decreasing costs and staff turnover. We challenge businesses, both small and large, to begin to adapt to a new way of thinking when it comes to future work practices.