Collaborative Technologies

Let’s Talk About Tomorrow

February 6, 2017

I’ve spent a lot of time the last few years investigating the future of work and doing my best to interpret it for you – especially the “So What?” questions that breakthroughs inevitably produce.

But I have also pointed out on many occasions that, obviously, the future doesn’t exist – yet.

We, together, create the future, one day, or one moment, at a time. The actions we take, the assumptions we hold, and the expectations we create about Tomorrow all add up to new experiences that become The Present and then The Past.

I like to talk about “premembering” the future in the sense that the more we can anticipate what might happen, the better prepared we can be for whatever does happen. Besides “So What?” the most important question we can ask is “What if?” [click to continue…]


The Future - Next ExitI often start reading new books in January (or in the holiday period just before the New Year). It’s a time of year when most of us are renewing our business plans and looking ahead optimistically to new beginnings.

This year I’ve focused in on two books about the future and the future of technology. One is “old” – first published in 2011 but still incredibly relevant – and one is much newer, having just become available in 2016. Both are stimulating and provocative; I’ll mention them briefly today and then share their lessons here a little bit at a time over the next several weeks. [click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }

WORKTECH15-West-Coast-Marketing-Image2-720x305WorkTech is one of the best one-day opportunities you can find anywhere for learning the latest insights about the future of work and networking with fellow workplace futurists. And if you register at this link  as a friend of The Future of Work…unlimited you will get a $100 discount off the registration fee.

Phillip Ross and his Unwired Ventures team always assemble a mind-bending and eye-opening program filled with success stories, thought leaders, and provocative insights. [click to continue…]


Distributed MeetingOn the eve of IFMA’s annual World Workplace conference, which I am attending this week in Denver, it seems appropriate to think for a moment about meetings that don’t take place in a “place.” I’m thinking of course of meetings where everyone is somewhere else – what most of us call “distributed” meetings.

One distributed meeting practice I hold very dear is this [New Rule]: Do not schedule a “mixed meeting” unless there is absolutely no alternative.

A mixed meeting is one that includes two or more people in the same place plus one or more others calling in from somewhere else.

I’ve almost never seen a mixed meeting go well; some organizations actively prohibit them – if anyone is participating remotely, everyone calls in, even when some participants are located close together. [click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }

LargeCrowdSome time ago I heard a story about a CEO who had opened up his organization’s strategic planning process to solicit ideas from all of the company’s 5,000 employees. When asked why he did that instead of relying on his executive committee, he said, simply, “I woke up one morning and realized that 5,000 people are a whole lot smarter than five.”

But that kind of openness is highly unusual among senior executives. Most of the executive leaders I have known and worked with see themselves as the “deciders” and the visionaries whose instincts about what is needed are superior to everyone else’s. Most of them are convinced that’s why they are in a leadership position.

But in large complex organizations it’s not that simple.

As I pointed out last week (“Getting Everyone in on the Action”), there is valuable knowledge distributed throughout every large organization – but it’s usually buried deep within the rank and file, and most executive leaders do not seem interested in seeking it out. [click to continue…]


When: Thursday, March 7, at Noon Pacific Standard Time


Please join me and my colleague, Pi Wen Looi of Novacrea Research, for a lunch-and-learn session to learn about “Leveraging Mobile Work to Engage Your Employees.” We’ll present our 2012 Mobile Workforce Survey findings and share ideas about how you can use these insights to engage and leverage your mobile workers.

We planned to conduct this webinar well before Marissa Mayer of Yahoo! issued her now-famous edict mandating all Yahoo! staff to “cease and desist” working from home and to come to the corporate office every day. But the buzz surrounding that decision makes this webinar all that much more timely.

This session is designed for anyone who manages Gen Y workers, remote workers, IT professionals who are involved with mobile technology, and knowledge workers who work on-the-go.

Past research on the mobile workforce has focused on either the technology needs of mobile workers or the challenges of managing a virtual workforce. Our newly designed Mobile Workforce Survey is the first study that takes an integrated look at both the hardware needs of mobile workers (e.g., mobile devices) and the factors that impact their organizational engagement and personal views about mobile and remote work.

Key Takeaways

  • How and where knowledge workers are getting their work done today
  • What tools they use to be productive
  • How their mobility is affecting their work and their professional and personal relationships
  • Tips for managing and engaging remote workers


Please click on the link below to register for the free webinar, which is being hosted by People-OnTheGo, a firm focused on workforce productivity and achievement.

Date: Thursday, March 7
Time: 12:00 noon PST
Place: Online

Pi Wen and I hope to “see” you on the webinar next Thursday. Feel free to invite your colleagues; the more the merrier!


Mobile Workforce Survey 2012

October 31, 2012

We are pleased to announce that the Executive Summary of our 2012 Mobile Workforce Survey is now available for free at this link:

The survey was conducted over the last several months; it reflects the work patterns and preferences of over 200 mobile professionals and managers.

Here are the basic headlines:

  • Mobile work is the new normal.
  • Work is collaborative.
  • Email is the most commonly used communication method, followed by smart phone.
  • Social networking tools and online collaboration applications are seldom used.
  • Fax, large-scale video conferencing, and overnight delivery services are rarely used.
  • Commonly used communication methods differ by company size.

Those might not sound like “radical” or even surprising findings, but there are some very interesting and important details behind these one-liners.

More importantly, we also found that mobile employees remain as engaged with their work and their companies as office-bound workers, and that they are significantly more productive. Finally, a majority of respondents reported that their job satisfaction would improve significantly if they had could create and manage their own work schedules.

The full report will be available for purchase later this year, but as noted above this Executive Summary is downloadable right now at no cost:

The report was produced jointly by The Future of Work…unlimited and Novacrea Research.

{ 1 comment }

staffing industry logoShort-Term Growth, Long-Term Hiccups

Staffing Industry Review

January 2012

by Leslie Stevens-Huffman

This article about employers’ growing reliance  on contingent, or contract workers, included the following quote from Jim Ware:

“The migration of applications to the cloud and the growth of information-based jobs make it easy for contractors to telecommute,” says Jim Ware, executive director of The Future of Work Unlimited, based in Berkeley, Calif. “The advent of new software even allows companies to measure the performance of remote call center agents and customer service reps, so staffing firms need to start gearing their services toward the needs of distributed workforces.”

The full article is available online at this link:


Recent Activity

Work on the Move discussion group
Work on the Move: Driving Strategy and Change in Workplaces, a new book on workplace strategy published by the IFMA Foundation, was officially launched on October 26 at World Workplace in Phoenix.

Jim wrote a core chapter on change management, and he led the “conversation with the authors” session at World Workplace. Pick up a copy of this very important book at your earliest convenience. You can order it online from the IFMA Foundation at this link:

Research on the Future of Work
We recently completed two focused research projects on flexible work and remote collaboration (both sponsored by Citrix Online®). Both are available for downloading here (free site registration is required to access the papers).

The first, “The Future of Business Collaboration,” looks at how mobile technologies, and personal video in particular, are impacting remote collaboration.

The second project is an update of a paper that we co-authored in 2008 with Charlie Grantham: “Flexible Work: Rhetoric and Reality.” We’ve just completed a new survey to get current perspectives on how mobility and flexible work programs have grown (we know they haven’t shrunk!) and evolved.

Jim also led a free public webinar for Citrix Online® on November 30, 2011, on the future of business collaboration. You can view a recorded version (both voice and visual) at this link:

Roundtable on the Future of Work

In partnership with Mike Johnson, CEO of the FutureWork Forum, a globally active consortium based in London, we led an invitation-only Roundtable on the Future of Work in early December. The dozen participants were an impressive cross-section of authors, researchers, consultants, practitioners, and service providers.

We were very grateful that our long-time friend and client Diane Coles, Director of Workplace Solutions at SCAN Health, hosted the event at SCAN’s award-winning Long Beach headquarters facility. And we were pleased that Citrix Online® sponsored the event as well. We anticipate producing a brief summary of the Roundtable conversation in the near future.
 Facilities Forum 2012

Coming Up

National Speakers Association Winter Conference

Jim Ware recently became an active member of the National Speakers Association, the leading professional group for speakers and the speaking/coaching/facilitator profession. He will be attending the association’s winter conference in Plano, Texas, February 3-5. If you will be there, or in the area, contact Jim to arrange a private meeting or share a glass of wine.

Facilities Fusion 2012

We will be actively involved in several sessions at IFMA’s April 2012 Facilities Fusion conference in Boston. Details of our individual sessions are available at this link on our website, or you can review the entire program at the IFMA website at this link.

And. . .
If we’re in your area and have a few minutes, we’d love to see you for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a cuppa coffee (depending on our other commitments).

And please follow us on Twitter for more current updates on the future of work and our future plans:

Give us a shout or send us a note, and if we can squeeze out some time, we’d love to say hello and share some good ideas the old-fashioned way: face-to-face.

Comments or Questions?

Contact us anytime with comments or questions – or leave a Comment right here. We read them all.

{ 1 comment }

We are very pleased to welcome you to our brand-spanking new, completely redesigned website.

We hope you will take a few minutes to scan our new pages, which highlight our services and capabilities and make it very easy for you to find copies of our presentations, white papers,  newsletter articles, and blog posts (like this one).

Please contact us for help in addressing your own needs regarding the future of work

And I would be remiss in not mentioning – and recommending – our web designer/developer, CJ Ware (yes, we are related). CJ is not only a technically competent developer, but more importantly he’s served as a strategic guide, helping me rethink how to present myself and my work to the world and what capabilities to include on the site. Yes, I am obviously biased, but I’m also seriously excited about what CJ has done for me. I recommend him wholeheartedly.

You can contact CJ at his own website,

What do you think of the new website? We’re still doing polishing and fine tuning, and we would welcome your feedback and suggestions. What have you looked for that you couldn’t find? What do you particularly like about the new design? Please leave a comment; we read them all.