Jim Ware and The Future of Work…unlimited in the Press

This page includes materials we have published, as well as articles and blog posts written by others who have quoted us.

WGN Radio logoOn Tuesday evening, February 26, 2013, Jim Ware was invited to speak with talk radio host Turi Ryder (WGN 720 radio in Chicago, Illinois) to discuss his perspectives on the mandate issued by Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo!, that all Yahoo! employees would be required to come into the corporate offices every day rather than working from home.

That edict has clearly been highly controversial; it has generated an unusual, and unexpected, amount of press commentary.

Jim’s interview with Ms. Ryder is available online at this link:

The Perks and Catches of Working Remotely

Additional commentary, and a selection of links to other blogs and mainstream media coverage of this debate, are available on the Future of Work…unlimited blog, at this link:

Does Yahoo! now stand for bureaucratic dinosaur?


click here to download a pdf version of the full report]

Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 8.39.21 AMOrganizations today have an unprecedented ability to capture data about both their facilities and their workforce’s activities. However, while FM professionals hear a great deal about smart buildings and how Big Data supports facilities management, there seems to be far less attention being paid to smart behaviors and almost nothing to smart management.

There is plenty of buzz about Big Data, but the reality is that Big Data is nothing without Big Judgment.  IFMA and Sodexo collaborated with The Future of Work…unlimited to sponsor and host a Future of Work Executive Roundtable on the challenges and opportunities surrounding these questions at IFMA’s Facility Fusion 2015 conference in Orlando in April, 2015.

This white paper summarizes that conversation.


FT Logo imageI was thrilled today to discover that Maija Palmer’s latest article about the “new world of work” in The Financial Times actually uses me as a case study.

You can read the story (“So Near and Yet So Far“) online at this link:


(free registration is required to access the article)

The story is actually about the new venture I’m working on with partners Paul Carder (based in the UK) and Marcus Bowen (in Hong Kong).

[click to continue…]


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:



Jessica Stillman of GigaOm has picked up my recent article in Workspace Design Magazine (“Taking Charge of Tomorrow“) and highlighted my call for a radical rethinking of the role of workplace and facilities managers.

Facilities Managers:  Don’t Get Caught Out by the Future of Work

Jessica  cited my belief that workplace professionals should view the job as “supporting work wherever and whenever it takes place.” She goes on to say:

This shift in focus “puts workplace professionals squarely into flexible work programs,” Ware concludes. In order to be effective at providing work spaces that fit with more flexible conceptions of work, Ware says architects, designers and facilities managers shouldn’t shy away from playing futurist: “creating pictures (visions) of alternate possible futures, and then being sure your organization is prepared for any or all of them.”

What do you think? I hope you’ll weigh in with your own views about the future of the facilities/workplace professional, either here, or at the original article in Workplace Design Magazine, or over at GigaOm.


Taking Charge of Tomorrow

January 16, 2012

WorkDesignMag-logoWork Design Magazine just published my article on “Taking Charge of Tomorrow.”


It’s a call for more aggressive action on the part of workplace professionals to lead the kind of organizational planning and change that is needed to enhance workforce productivity, engagement, and attraction/retention.

To quote:

It has been said that “the best way to predict the future is to create it.” However, as much as we’d all like to create our own future, most of us have limited choices about where we can take our organizations.

And even though we hear frequently about all the profound changes that are about to hit the workplace, the pressures are far greater in most organizations to maintain the status quo—to do what people already know—than they are to innovate or experiment.

Yet workplace professionals must do both: they must provide a stable, predictable workplace that employees can just take for granted, and at the same time lead the way to the future. And, of course, the lead times for producing meaningful change are totally out of sync with the realities of today’s dynamic economy.

My recommendation:  develop scenarios of alternative possible futures – both for the organization as a whole, and for the workplace itself. Scenario planning is a tried and true approach for dealing with uncertainty, although it’s not used anywhere nearly as widely as it should be.

I hope you’ll take a few moments to read the entire article.


GigaOm just cited Jim Ware’s recent posts on the Worksnug blog about the value of moving from one place to another as the work you are doing changes:

“Here on WebWorkerDaily we recently posted on the musings of [former] Harvard Business School professor and partner in FutureWork Forum Jim Ware, who used a recent blog post to urge knowledge workers to shake up their routines and work in a greater variety of spaces. But what sort of spaces might improve your creativity? Ware throws out various possibilities from outdoor places to libraries and even sailboats. But a recent British study offers another suggestion: pubs and restaurants.

The GigaOm post is at this link, while the original Worksnug post is here.

And if you are a glutton for punishment, you can read the original article (published in The Future of Work Agenda in 2011) at this link.


Bob Fox, publisher of Workplace Design Magazine, has just published the December 2011 issue, which has several important stories on office lighting. But I’m mentioning it here for one self-interested reason: it also includes a nice, brief bio and photo of none other than me. Bob and I have many common interests. We spoke briefly at the WorkTech11 West Coast conference in October, and his request to publish my bio came from that conversation. Thanks Bob!


Facilities Management Journal

September/October 2011

by Diane Coles, MCR, and James Ware, PhD

SCAN Health Plan® is the fourth largest not-for-profi t Medicare Advantage health plan in the United States. The company serves the needs of more than 128,000 members in California and Arizona. Headquartered in Long Beach, California, USA, SCAN was founded in 1977.

SCAN’s corporate mission is to find innovative ways to enhance senior citizens’ ability to manage their health and to control where and how they live as long as possible. Why shouldn’t SCAN employees have the same control over where and how they work? That’s exactly what the workplace solutions team did by creating an “Alternate Workspaces Engaging Staff & Office Management Efficiencies” or AWESOME project.

Please note that the FM Journal is accessible online only with an IFMA member login. Contact us directly to obtain a single copy of this article


The Futurist Magazine

January-February 2011, pp37-38

World Future Society

by James Ware

This brief article appeared as part of a special section of the January 2011 issue of The Futurist, “70 Jobs for 2030.” Each of the contributors was asked to speculate about what jobs would be common in the year 2030, even though they do not exist today.

Jim’s focus was on roles that would become prominent in organizations characterized by fluid employment, large number of temporary contractors, and global presence. He suggested five specific yet-to-be-invented roles:

  • Personal Brand Manager
  • Talent Aggregator
  • Office Concierge
  • Global Sourcing Manager
  • Organizational Quartermaster

Click this link for a complimentary downloadable pdf version of “70 Jobs for 2030