THE EVOLUTION OF WORK

New behaviors and technologies are entering our workplace and organizations are struggling to adapt to new ways of working.
Are you an organization of the past or the future?

  • FLATTENED STRUCTURE

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    HIERARCHY

    From hierarchies to a more flattened structure

    • The past: The leader at the top is at the top because he or she is the alpha-dog, and everyone should look to them to make all the decisions and innovations.

    • The future: Everyone at every level is encouraged to have a voice and become a leader in their field.

    • Why? We aren’t dogs. You don’t want your company limited to the abilities and talents of a single leader. A collaborative environment provides a level of innovation and problem-solving that is greater than the sum of one CEO. There is no justification for keeping people from interacting and engaging with each other because of their seniority level.

    FLEXIBLE WORKING HOURS
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    FIXED WORKING HOURS

    From fixed working hours to flexible working hours

    • The past: Employees clock in at nine, they leave at five. Suggesting to management that this schedule change is a little bit like suggesting that Milli Vanilli is about to make a come-back.

    • The future: Employees mostly set their own schedules, schedules that balance their commitments to life and their career.

    • Why? We are no longer in the industrial revolution. The new generation, the Millennials, are different from traditional workers. They are used to handling multiple responsibilities on-the-go, using varied and sometimes eclectic schedules. Working flexible hours makes the organization more appealing to these new hires and provides greater job satisfaction and work efficiency.

    SHARED INFORMATION
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    HOARDED INFORMATION

    From hoarded information to shared information

    • The past: All information is considered proprietary and classified. Employees keep ideas to themselves in order to receive bonuses for their contribution. Everyone is a secret-agent.

    • The future: Information is freely available within an organization and easily accessed via the Cloud and other data networks. Employees share ideas with each other. The team, rather than the individual, is recognized for its efforts.

    • Why? James Bond works alone. Your employees don’t. Sharing information is part of what is driving the future of business. Think about how much information we share every day in our personal lives on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress. We do this socially to increase our visibility and to collaborate and learn new ideas and concepts from our fellows. This same concept, when applied to a business setting, increases productivity and value.

  • engaging, empowering and inspiring leadership
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    command & control and fear-based leadership

    From fear-based leadership to empowering and inspiring

    • The old method: If employees don’t perform well, they are faced with threats, such as the threat of losing bonuses or their jobs. It’s a little bit like being on a pirate ship and walking the plank.

    • The future: Employees aren’t micro-managed, with every step being criticized. Instead, management focuses on creating an environment of success.

    • Why? The real question is, “why not?” Why haven’t the majority of businesses gone this route already, when numerous case studies show us that threats are demotivating and encouragement highly motivating? The answer is that management has to work harder to make their organization a motivating place to work and many shy away from this extra effort. But the payoff is huge: employees will pour their energy into something they feel strongly supportive of, while they will quickly burn out on something they feel forced to do.

    CLOUD TECHNOLOGY
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    ON-PREMISE TECHNOLOGY

    From on-premise to the cloud

    • The old method: Information is scattered across computers or in hard-copy files, usually accessible only through a single person, department, or location. Good luck running the company when the project leader’s vacation time comes up.

    • The future: Information is stored in connected data networks, like the Cloud, and accessible from anywhere inside the company.

    • Why? Cloud technologies make it easier and cheaper to deploy social and collaborative tools to connect and engage employees and information. Being able to have instant access to information without needing to seek corporate or IT approval greatly increases the efficiency with which people can work and with which new strategies can be implemented.

    email as secondary form of communication
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    email as primary form of communication

    From email as primary form of communication to being a secondary form of communication

    • The old method: The word “email” makes us nauseous. Our inboxes are flooded with emails, and we spend hours sorting through them to find the relevant information. In the process, many emails get lost or ignored.

    • The future: Email is used sparingly. Instead, most information and files are shared via data networks and other collaborative technologies.

    • Why? Open your inbox and take a look at the last dozen or so messages sent you. How many are examples of effective communication and collaboration? Email has become a glorified chat messaging program, making our inboxes perfect examples of “information overload.” New collaborative technologies make it easier to collaborate, share, find, communicate, and engage with people and information without being overloaded. There’s no excuse for getting 200 emails a day anymore.

  • CREATE THE LADDER
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    CORPORATE LADDER

    From climbing the corporate ladder to creating the ladder

    • The old method: There is one way up the company hierarchy, and that is by climbing the corporate ladder through promotion (and maybe a bit of sucking up).

    • The future: There are multiple ladders, and some go sideways rather than up. Employees can become leaders at their organization without needing to be a senior executive.

    • Why? As more businesses adopt collaborative technologies, employees are finding it easier to become visible within their organization. This means that they can be recognized for their contributions, become subject matter experts, establish thought leadership, and ultimately shape their own career paths.

    CONNECTED AND ENGAGED COMPANY
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    SILOED AND FRAGMENTED COMPANY

    From siloed and fragmented to connected and engaged

    • The old method: Departments are kept separate, with no collaboration between them. Insert joke here about how the people in Human Resources don’t often show a human side to them.

    • The future: Departments share information with each other and make decisions together.

    • Why? Departmental silos are problematic for organizations of all sizes. They prevent collaboration, hurt efficiency (as information is difficult to retrieve and decisions difficult to coordinate), damage unification, and promote harmful competition between department managers. Fortunately, collaborative technologies and improved business practices are making it easier to break down these barriers.

    WORK FROM ANYWHERE
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    WORK AT OFFICE

    From working at the office to working anywhere

    • The old method: Employees work in a prescribed space in a predetermined office, providing Dilbert with over ten years of viable material.

    • The future: At least part of the time, employees work from anywhere: a home office, a coffee shop, or in a cab while on the way to the airport.

    • Why? Employees can now connect to people and information anywhere, anytime, and on any device. Many organizations today have satellite offices staffed with just a single employee working from a home office or a co-working space. This drastically reduces (or eliminates entirely) real estate costs and helps the organization access previously out-of-reach talent and resources.

  • From hierarchies to a more flattened structure

    Instead of the traditional hierarchical model, organizations are adopting a more flattened approach where anyone can speak with and interact with anyone else. There is no longer any justification for keeping people from interacting and engaging with each other because of their seniority level. New collaborative platforms are making this especially easy today.

  • FLEXIBLE WORKING HOURS
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    FIXED WORKING HOURS

    From fixed working hours to flexible working hours

    Instead of the traditional hierarchical model, organizations are adopting a more flattened approach where anyone can speak with and interact with anyone else. There is no longer any justification for keeping people from interacting and engaging with each other because of their seniority level. New collaborative platforms are making this especially easy today.

  • SHARED INFORMATION
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    HOARDED INFORMATION

    From hoarded information to shared information

    Instead of the traditional hierarchical model, organizations are adopting a more flattened approach where anyone can speak with and interact with anyone else. There is no longer any justification for keeping people from interacting and engaging with each other because of their seniority level. New collaborative platforms are making this especially easy today.

  • From fear-based leadership to empowering and inspiring

    The smart leaders understand the concept of following from the front, that is, removing obstacles from the paths of employees to help them become successful. Scaring your employees into doing what you want is a failed approach to leadership yet unfortunately this is how many of our companies were created; it's time to evolve this way of leading.

  • CLOUD TECHNOLOGY
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    ON-PREMISE TECHNOLOGY

    From on-premise to the cloud

    Cloud technologies are rapidly making their way into our organizations, this means that it's easier and cheaper to deploy social and collaborative tools to connect and engage our people and information. Not only that but many employees or team leaders are deploying these technologies without having to wait for corporate or IT approval.

  • email as secondary form of communication
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    email as primary form of communication

    From working at the office to working anywhere

    As mentioned above employees now simply need to "connect to work". This means that an employee can work from a home office, a coffee shop, or in a cab while on the way to the airport. Many organizations today have satellite offices staffed with just a single employee working from a home office or a co-working space.

  • From climbing the corporate ladder to creating the ladder

    Employees now have the unique opportunity to share their expertise, passions, and interests in a very public way (inside of their companies). This means that they can be recognized for their contributions, become subject matter experts, establish thought leadership, and ultimately shape their own career paths. Employees have a voice within their organizations that they never had before. There is no need to climb the corporate ladder, instead employees are building their own ladders.

  • CONNECTED AND ENGAGED COMPANY
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    SILOED AND FRAGMENTED COMPANY

    From siloed and fragmented to connected and engaged

    Most organizations are traditionally siloed and fragmented, employees in different departments or geographies don't communicate and collaborate with one another, information isn't shared, content is duplicated, and it's impossible to find the right people and information to get work done. That's now over. Organizations are working hard to break down barriers between teams and employees and this means adopting new behaviors which are supported and facilitated by new collaborative technologies.

  • WORK FROM ANYWHERE
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    WORK AT OFFICE

    From working at the office to working anywhere

    As mentioned above employees now simply need to "connect to work". This means that an employee can work from a home office, a coffee shop, or in a cab while on the way to the airport. Many organizations today have satellite offices staffed with just a single employee working from a home office or a co-working space.

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