Actually, I haven’t really gone anywhere, except that a few months ago my wife and I did move our residence , which includes my home office; the move was just 15 miles but it might as well have been 1500. As many of you corporate folks know, a physical move (especially after 17 years in the same place) is traumatic and time-consuming at best.
But the fact is that, like many of you, I’ve been completely overwhelmed just keeping up with everyday emails, contacts, presentations, client projects, new technologies, future-scanning, meetings, and personal development efforts. I worry that the future of work is going to keep on being like this - forevermore.
Sometimes I really wonder how we can ever make time to plan and prepare for the future of work, when the “today” of work is so demanding.
But I am committed to being part of a solution, not just a whiner about the way things are today.
While I don’t have any easy time-management principles to offer, I believe deeply that we all have to do a better job of setting (and keeping) priorities. Unfortunately, given my recent physical move and several client commitments, the Future of Work Agenda newsletter (which has appeared regularly on a monthly basis for almost a decade) drew the short straw, and I had to let it go into hibernation for a few months.
Now I am rededicating myself to sharing with you my current perspectives, ideas, and mental models for taking charge of your work (and your life).
One of the I know about the future is that it doesn’t exist - at least not yet. We together – all of us alive today – are making decisions and taking actions that, together, create tomorrow. You have choices, and the choices you make influence not only your own future, but the futures of everyone else – sometimes in small ways, and sometimes in very big ways.
So here is a choice, and a commitment, that I am making: from today forward I intend to publish this newsletter on a more frequent (if not completely regular) basis. But I’m also going to be more informal and more concise, writing shorter articles that will inevitably contain more unanswered questions than guaranteed solutions.
I don’t pretend to have all the answers, and in fact I don’t want to. My goal is to stimulate your thinking, and to drive an ongoing global conversation – including any and all of you, as you choose to react, respond, comment, and raise your own questions in response to mine.
With that, here are several questions I’m thinking about these days (and will comment on in more depth in the weeks and months to come).
Please add your own to the list via the online Comment function below.
- What will the workplace look like in 5 or 10 years? Will the trend to more open spaces, and more variety within the workplace, continue?
- Has flexible work and work-from-home peaked out? Or will reliance on the corporate office as a common gathering place continue to decline?
- Will technologies supporting remote collaboration ever create experiences that rival in-person meetings?
- Why does there continue to be so much resistance to enabling distributed work and distributed teams? Isn't that just the "way we do things" today?
- Why does video conferencing continue to be used so little, given what we all know about the value of eye contact and body language in fostering effective communication? That, in combination with more accessibility at lower costs, means video should be a much bigger part of our lives than it is. Why isn't that happening?
- Why are over 70% of employees actively disengaged with the companies they work for? Will we ever invent a way of managing large numbers of employees that actually leverages their unique talents and capabilities?
- Why is there so much distrust in established institutions, both public and private? Is our cynicism about government and large corporations a signal that we need to invent completely new kinds of governance structures – and to build organizations that are based on the way we work today, rather than on leftover models from the Industrial Revolution? (I fully realize that’s more a statement than a question)
- Finally, how can we most effectively harness – and leverage - the absolutely unique talents that each individual brings to the workplace every day?
The future of work is not a place or a destination; it’s a journey we are all making together. I hope you will want to tag along as I continue to try making sense out of these kinds of questions.
I learn best in conversation with smart folks like you; I hope you will become an active participant in this ongoing conversation about we can work together to create a productive and engaging future at work.
Please add your comments and questions below.
This issue of Future of Work Agenda was produced by Jim Ware of The Future of Work. . . unlimited. We encourage your comments, suggestions, and submission of materials for possible future publication.
Feel free to contact Jim Ware anytime.
To subscribe to Future of Work Agenda, click here and register on our web site. Please pass this newsletter on to other interested individuals and encourage them to subscribe as well. The newsletter is free, and will remain free as long as possible.
Production design by CJ Ware (www.cjbuilt.com)