#FutureofWork is Trending – Are You Paying Attention?

4 ways to keep pace with the workplace future that’s happening right now

The future of work isn’t simply a hashtag to follow, but there is a reason it’s trending: it’s kind of a misnomer. The future of work is happening, all around you, right now.

From the way we work, where we work, to your ultimate ‘why am I doing this?’ work as we know it is changing.

And for once, we have a major heads-up about where we’re headed. Despite the rumors, there’s more to #futureofwork than robots eating our jobs. It hits on every element of what it means to run a business and manage employees, find great ones, be a great one and get the job done.

If your company is dragging its feet over embracing the future of work, ask yourself (or your leadership): would you sit still if you could see the future of your industry? We didn’t think so.

Check yourself before the #futureofwork wrecks you

The future of work is everyone’s industry. If you want to land, nurture, engage and maintain the top talent you need to compete in that industry, your workplace will have to prove it.

Here are 4 ways to check where your business stands on the future timeline – and some inspiration to catch up:

1. Let’s get digital.

Remember office memo pads? No one else does, either. But becoming a digitally empowered business takes more than moving memos to email. Research shows this game-changing mindset (driven by leadership) can transform business, as a whole, not just how we communicate.

The modern biz puts digital to work to automate processes, measure performance, predict the future with data, engage better talent, create greater products and connect agile teams wherever in the world they work.

If the digital transformation hasn’t (yet) entered your company’s consciousness, it’s not too late

2. Flex your muscles.

Today’s workforce values flexibility that enables employees to work when — and where — they do their best. Flex, as Bloomberg puts it, is the “unicorn of work-life balance.” Don’t confuse it for a couple of work-from-home days.

Flexibility is one part productivity, one part work-life balance and one part proof your company grows with the times. And almost 40% of U.S. businesses are, in fact, growing with the times.

Companies that run the industry gamut – from Aflac to Target, Unilever to VMWare – encourage employees to work anytime, anyplace, as long great work gets done.

Indeed, there’s plenty of trust involved. But there are also results. A growing number of studies back flexible work’s connection to employee happiness, productivity and lack of burnout.

Sure, it’s a perk for current employees, but flexibility on time/place can also give you access to a talent pool that spans the globe. Imagine that: allow employees to work from anywhere, and you can land the best employees from anywhere.

3. Keep it connected.

Whether your entire team works at the same table or are distributed across the planet, connections will make or break your success. No matter what industry. Forward-thinking businesses know how to engage all levels of employees, wherever they are.

Technology can help. Project management tools like Trello and Asana can keep your team members on the same page, while chat tools like Slack, HipChat or Teams make team convos happen without putting more meetings on your already-packed calendar.

We’re human, after all. We crave connection, information and just plain knowing what’s going on. The future will only intensify that need.

4. Disrupt your leadership.

It takes more than a few digital tools to position your company to surge into the #futureofwork. It takes leadership.

Our new world of work is disrupting the ways execs manage teams and leadership looks at organizational structure. And rightfully so. It’s not only the way we work that’s on the move – the actual jobs we do are evolving, too.

Understanding the types of roles (and talent) best suited to lift your team above the competition has never been more pivotal than it is for today’s business leadership.

The future goes to the prepared

While there’s no trick to “future proof” your workplace (if someone tries to sell you one, walk away), there is a secret to prevent yourself from falling behind: pay attention. Listen to human needs (candidates, employees and customers) and fear not technology.

No matter your industry, keeping up with where human needs and technology intersect will keep you a step closer to the future than your competition.

Your company’s pace on future-forward work trends could affect how current employees feel about your business and your ability to attract (and retain) the top talent you need to propel your bottom line into the future with you.

So, if you look into the #futureofwork, where do you see your business in 3-5 years?