2015 — The year of working transformation!

- Power is shifting from companies to the people setting them free to work as they want to where they want to in new constellations.

Rethinking the modern worker

Historically the economic growth has been all about making companies as effective and profitable as possible, it still is, but the “efficiency curve” has peaked already, new investments in technology can still improve the output, but we are actually facing a level where companies must rethink how to maximise the most important asset they have — the people working for them.

Going from working places to places to work

In fact, the companies that has been most successful in this transformation are startups and small businesses. They are the ones who has the courage to set new rules of how work is supposed to be done by offering flexible working times, remote working and more “campus-like” working places. Going from working places to places to work has had a huge impact on the startup community and it will definitely make its entrance within larger companies too.

This is a huge subject and it’s widely discussed from various angles, from the well-being perspective to macroeconomic terms. This is my 5 points list proving it happens now and why they all are very important.

1. Old School offices kills creativity and innovation

Just the fact that everybody should gather into a crowded office every single day says it all, why are we all so convinced this is the way to increase productivity, innovation and creativity? It did make sense when we worked in factories, not anymore. The world known entrepreneur Richard Branson predicts offices as we know them won’t even exist in 20 years (read the full article here), and he has also with his company Virgin introduced flexible working time and vacations for as long as his employees want too. Pretty amazing stuff — read about his ideas on modern working life.

Big changes are coming, remote co-working spaces, remote teams, flexible working hours, campus-like offices focusing on quality work, boss-less companies and much more, I will talk more about some of them below.

2. Work where you are and where you create most value

This trend has been around for a while, among freelancers and entrepreneurs this is one of the major reasons why they quit their ordinary job, having the freedom to chose where and when to work is a privilege of life. However, we now see how bigger corporations are finding new ways to change how their employees work and where they do it. We have seen the rise of co-working spaces like co-offices and just the other day I read about people sharing their homes for co-working and networking with others — the phenomenon is called — hoffice. One more example, in the US Marriott got things right in their workspace-on-demand initiative — check it out here!

I am pretty sure we will soon see shared spaces close to where people live, shared and hosted by bigger companies which also allows guest workers such as freelancers and small business owners. When big corporations no longer need big offices in the inner cities this will be reality I think. If no one picks that one up soon, I guess I have to. It would be such a lovely project to realize. Makes a lot of sense also when addressing keeping and attracting employees and make intrapreneurs stay, right?

3. New tech and robots take over

The evolution of innovation isn’t a new thing. We all know that and it is about time we accept it and admit this is a very good thing. No one would be prepared to give up the modern lifestyle we have created for ourselves and go back to how it was 100 years. ago. So, let us embrace technology to continue improving our quality of life. Larry Page, co-founder of Google pointed it out clearly said in an interview with Financial Times recently:

“You’re going to have some very amazing capabilities in the economy. When we have computers that can do more and more jobs, it’s going to change how we think about work. There’s no way around that. You can’t wish it away.”

That might sound scary, but it doesn’t have to be. Who wouldn’t like to work less and still be able to maintain a reasonable income besides having more time to do whatever you like. By working more efficiently, there is no reason why people can’t work less hours and be equally — if not more — effective. That’s going to be a difficult balancing act to get right, but as long as we are open to redefine work to the quality of the outcome of it instead of hours spent in front of a screen inside an office, I am sure we will solve this one too.

4. Working less hours with better or equal results

For some reason we have been taught working many hours inside an office is the one and only way to be successful. How wrong is that? The definition of work has become 9–5 for five days a week and companies seems to have set it in stone. That is about to change. If a person or a team could create an outstanding performance within 4 hours instead of 8 that would be very good for productivity. If a team spends a huge amount of time inside an office, forced by their boss to work on a task with people not committed to what they are up to, would the end result be any good at all?

Of course not, so once and for all, let us be totally clear of what working is all about — the quality of the outcome is all that counts.

By letting people work as they want and setting up a culture and environment where people want to hang out is essential for raising engagement, creativity and finally the results of all efforts being done. In Sweden an interesting research project is going on where a group of scientists are comparing a team working 6 hours a day to another one 2 more hours a day to find out which one of them is most productive — Huffington Post has reported on this and you can read it here.

5. Making a traditional career is no longer important

If you’re still in thinking of your career as a ladder you climb where years of practicing and growing your speciality is what takes you to the next step, you’re in for an abrupt awakening. Yet, you might be lucky enough to have your skills in areas that will continue to be needed, but building a career out of it is not a recommendation in our fast moving society where businesses have to be agile in a competitive landscape.

That means they have to set up a flexible workforce with and huge range of competencies. Your job is to be chosen as one of these people and that can only be done be developing your skills to be much more than a specialist.

“Stay hungry — stay foolish” is one of Steve Jobs awesome quotes that sums it up just perfectly. Stay curious, be open for new learnings every single day, listen to other people, read and spend time with people who has developed the skills you want to add to be at your best. And one more thing — you still have to be damn good at what you do, but you cannot any longer rely on just ONE speciality, you have to broaden your competence and also understand the whole process of a business to be able to add value into it.

Peter Guber, CEO of Mandalay Entertainment has peaked his career several times by adding an open mindset to keep on learning to stay relevant — read one of his famous posts here.

Let 2015 be your best year ever! Let’s make history and enjoy it as we do.

/Stefan Krafft — Marketer, Entrepreneur and proud member of the Holvi-team.

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Originally published at blog.holvi.com on January 9, 2015.

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