The Future of the Evolving Workplace

Few would argue the pace of change is increasing, especially in business and technology, along with their impact on the workplace. Wise company leaders sense these changes, and adjust, adapt, plan and execute. Each day brings an evolving convergence of many external influences that shape upcoming days, weeks and years. The workplace is greatly impacted by this convergence of external influences.

In the past, employees resisted organizational change initiated by leadership. Now that technology is causing seismic changes in how, when and where we perform work, it is leaders who are resisting the evolving, 24/7, distributed workforce.

In the new workplace, there is a de-emphasis on place because work can be performed most anywhere. Place is irrelevant, especially as communication and office productivity technology continues to make quantum leaps forward.

The following are six converging developments affecting the evolving workplace:

  1. Results-Only Workplaces  Known as the results-only work environment (ROWE) movement, the emphasis is placed on predetermined results and not the location of workers.  This is made possible by the advent of new technologies that tether employees 24/7. In ROWE workplaces, employees work anywhere, anytime, and anyplace, as long as they deliver expected results.  This is not a work/life or work/flex program.  This transformative workplace design allows workers to live their lives while getting work accomplished.

    Employers save significant office space resources while increasing productivity. And more importantly, a typical ROWE company experiences a 40% increase in productivity after their transformation.

  2. Civil Workplaces – This workplace development involves how we interact with one another while working. We live in a culture where bad manners and uncivilized behavior is widely accepted in the streets and neighborhoods of America. Drivers on American streets and highways are far less accommodating, and sometimes, just plain hostile. Parents are not properly teaching manners to their neglected or incredibly catered-to children.  

    Leaders routinely yell at or intimidate employees. To stop the maddening epidemic of incivility within the work space, companies will establish civil work environments with rules of engagement. 

  3. Certified Great Workplaces Regardless of where you work, a great work environment is a strategic business advantage. Enlightened self-interest draws CEOs to the conclusion great workplaces based on trust and respect are good for business. C-Suite executives who disregard this message, and more importantly, boards of directors who ignore this message, will lead their company to oblivion. 

    Expect to see a moving away from annual “great place to work” lists and towards great workplace certification.  The current system limits the number of companies who can “win.”

  4. Jerk-Free Workplaces – Anybody can have a bad day once in a while and act like a jerk.  Most bosses and coworkers later apologize for their transgressions. Then there are the certified jerks, bullies and bossholes who act in a toxic manner most every day. They terrorize down the organizational ladder while sucking-up the ladder. 

    These pathological corporate parasites suck the life out of people, decimate productivity, cause turnover, and are costly to employ.  If they refuse to change, it is unethical to keep them employed. There is a growing intolerance for costly certified bossholes and jerks.

  5. Social Networking – Nothing beats a warm handshake and good conversation in person, yet we are seeing a new kind of networking connecting the world. Rather than embracing this networking as an opportunity, it is amazing how human resource and legal departments are unbelievably afraid of social networking.

    Companies should not fear what their employee’s might say on social networking sites but view workers as potential advertisers of a great product or service.

  6. Free Agency - Work is more about what needs to get done rather than the encumbrances of becoming an employee.  Due to mass corporate lay-offs, unethical and incompetent leadership, people have become loyal to their career, not their employer. That is why there are increased numbers of former employees calling it quits after a layoff and becoming solo-entrepreneurs surviving on gigs from various sources.  
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