“Use the rod, beat the child, that’s my motto!” roared Pam Ferris, playing infamous headmistress Miss Trunchbull in cult classic film Matilda. Motivational techniques have thankfully moved on a little since. Ferris’ line, while a severe example, alludes to an antiquated social construct in which subordinates were principally motivated by anxiety. The stick, as opposed to the carrot; vinegar rather than honey. However, that culture is now firmly in decline, particularly in the commercial sphere. The future of work centres around a philosophy of positively encouraging and supporting productivity. Specifically, this refers to a culture that makes internal communication and commercial activity simple, reliable, and therefore fruitful.
There are three essential cornerstones of such a culture. These are: trust in the employee; workforce mobility; and technological flexibility.
The Future Of Work: Emerging Before Us
To some extent, we already see these vital policies developing in workplace culture. They have particularly flourished in modern co-working spaces, a trend which grew out of the financial crisis of the late 2000s and the resulting vacancies in real estate. Firms such as WeWork, Huckletree and Second Home have built workspaces, open to businesses of all sizes, that bear these elements at their core. These operate by encouraging non-fixed, open-plan working areas designed to facilitate free communication and regular collaboration. People hence have the flexibility to move around that workspace as they choose or require, dictating their own working methods.
Such an environment may acquire an extra dimension with smaller alcoves orbiting the wider workspace. These are ideal for more private work. However, this ultimately represents a shift away from the cubicle-dominated offices of the late twentieth century. They have also inspired an ideal that many businesses are beginning to follow in their own premises.
The End Game
The future of work will be characterised by the loosest possible reliance on traditional office spaces. Business is far more dynamic in today’s globalised, ever-mutating world economy, and travel is an inherent part of ambition and growth. Whether this be travelling to additional company premises, potential clients, or even on holiday with a view to occasionally checking in, having one’s work confined to a single building is an obstruction.
In tandem with this is the phenomenon of Bring-Your-Own-Device, which has silently sneaked into our way of working in recent years. For ease of operating, our own personal devices and software often suit us best in completing certain tasks. Far from looking to regulate device or software use, this is a development that businesses should aim to embrace.
The principles of trust in the employee, workforce mobility and technological flexibility all come into play here. Treating staff as adults, trusting them to regulate how and where they work, creates a collective spiritual uplift. Improving morale and overall wellbeing will in turn have a significant positive impact on output.
The Technological Drivers
Working philosophy matters little, however, if not underpinned by the requisite technology. Bring-Your-Own-Device is only a starting point. The high-tech progression that supports the future of work involves such measures as cutting-edge audio-visual infrastructure and a virtualised cloud network.
The latter of these creates a platform through which all devices – including those personal devices we speak of above – can be connected, no matter where they physically are. This is often known as the Internet of Things, and constitutes a valuable step towards an efficient, modern, user-friendly workplace. Moreover, it provides that business with a remote desktop to store data. By storing data in this way – within a scalable environment – it becomes accessible from any location through any device. This is what allows staff the freedom to tailor the ways in which they work to their own needs. Furthermore, real-time interaction between colleagues in different places has accelerated with the growth of modern audio-visual technology. This has supported businesses’ efforts to create a cohesive, aligned enterprise with a driven, informed and collaborative workforce.
Yes, this may come with a degree of deregulation on monitoring how staff work. However, this is reflective of the modern employee, who is generally motivated more by wanting to do a good job and less by needing to make ends meet than its preceding generation. Yes, it encourages a lesser reliance on the traditional workplace, but that too reflects the demands of the global economy. There is little question that the future of work depends on an appropriate technological underpinning – right down to the core connectivity infrastructure that businesses use. Trust the workers; mobilise them; support with the right technology. These are the keys to the positively driven enterprise of the future.
Viastak work to support businesses looking to leverage technology, in order to streamline the way they operate. We believe in creating flexible, dynamic enterprises that are equipped to deal with the demands of the modern global economy. To find out more, please get in touch.