The future of work, to date, is still being written. What we do know is that companies are urgently working to adapt, applying what they’ve learned in the past two years to change how teams collaborate for the better, no matter their industry. Companies that want to survive and thrive in 2022 will need to adapt to the new power dynamics accordingly.
Stephanie Mencarelli, InVision’s SVP Design, and Jeff Chow, Chief Product Officer, recently spoke with current and former leaders from Discovery+, Google, and Uber for their insights on the future of work in a post-pandemic work world. When the panelists shared their hopes for the future of work, they agreed on four things:
- The future of work is flexible
- People come first
- The future of work builds trust
- Innovative digital tools can level the playing field
Read the highlights below and check out the full video to get all of the insights from the experts.
The future of work is flexible
As InVision noted in its 2022 Trends Report, four themes are likely to influence the fabric of future workplaces: companies will be more adaptable, employees may leave for greener pastures, organizations will adopt innovative digital tools, and diversity and inclusion will become even more important. When asked what would positively impact the state of work, the panelists also emphasized the need for more flexibility around the workplace.
“Over the last two years, many of us who work in corporate settings (and some who don’t) found that flexibility is a superpower for productivity. The hope is that working from anywhere, flexible hours, being there more for the moment, and having empathy as we continue to experience more of each other on social media will positively impact our output,” says Tracey Lincoln, who serves at Google.
Their X factor: A better future is one where leaders create more balance between the needs of employees and employers.
The future of work puts people first
InVision’s Chief Product Officer Jeff Chow and Stephanie Mencarelli, SVP Design emphasize the importance of prioritizing people before the workplace or tools. “People empowerment and technology servicing are the keys to harmonizing the future of work,” Jeff says.
“We are flipping the script of today to shape a brighter future of work tomorrow. This is a rare moment — and it provides an opportunity to shape the future of work by making sure people are at the center of it.”
The future of work focuses on how technology serves people rather than allowing tools to shape the way people work. Work is no longer a place. It’s a space — and more frequently — that space is digital.
“We are flipping the script of today to shape a brighter future of work tomorrow. This is a rare moment — and it provides an opportunity to shape the future of work by making sure people are at the center of it,” Stephanie says.
Putting people first has other benefits, such as increasing productivity and simultaneously empowering employee fulfillment. Our panelists agree: good leaders value the passions and interests of their team both at work and outside of it and help employees achieve their personal and professional goals.
“A big thing for me is helping people tell their story and create synergy between personal and professional interests. A job can be a tool to fuel ambitions outside of work. In a way, a 9-5 is like an investor in a start-up – look at it more as a partnership – every two weeks, this company gives you seed money to execute things that help you find fulfillment in everything you do. That’s the impact I want to have, ” says Bryant Alexander, Program Manager, Talent Acquisition Enablement at Uber.
Tracey echoed that sentiment, adding that she’s seen many people exercise their passion muscles outside of work.
“While onboarding at Google virtually and getting to know my team, I treated one-on-ones as an opportunity to understand their passions from the start, rather than just what they do at work and how they work,” she says. “I asked how we can lean into their passions as much as possible while they are at their 9-5, so their cup runneth over and is not just half-full. I don’t mean blending their passions with work, necessarily, because some people don’t want to cross those boundaries. It’s more about protecting their space by giving them time back when possible.”
The future of work builds trust
Collaboration in the workplace calls for open communication and transparency. Building trust makes a culture of open communication possible, which forms the foundation for optimal collaboration.
“Understanding collaboration takes an understanding of trust. If you are going to be a good collaborator, you need to understand people’s perspectives and their interests outside of work. Building trust is the only way to have successful collaboration,” Shawn says.
Collaboration isn’t the only reason to build trust. As Shawn points out, it’s actually caring about your team and creating a safe space.
“There’s been a lot of upheaval during the past couple of years – people needed to know that their team had their back when they took time to care for their families. This goes back to trust too. I hope the trust and empathy continue when people start going back,” he added.
Innovative digital tools can level the playing field
The panelists also shared some tactics that they believe will elevate voices that may have gone unheard before the pandemic. This includes visual collaboration tools, such as virtual whiteboards that can help foster a stronger culture of inclusion and creativity.
“We used InVision and other tools to collaborate — so information is democratized more than before. From interns to VPs, anyone at any level shares and exchanges ideas — and it really gets that collaborative vibe going. At the end of the day, the product went to market in record time, and we got that customer bite by having all those voices involved in the process. I hope that remote work continues to level the playing field for underrepresented voices, Shawn says.
As workplaces adopt innovative digital tools to improve team collaboration, much-needed flexibility comes back into play which can be a game-changer for introverts, people with disabilities, women in the workplace, and benefit diversity and inclusion as a whole.
“I think most companies that track employee well-being will tell you that employees who find fulfillment outside of work tend to be fulfilled at work. The use of various tools — whether tactical tools like InVision, or tools for wellness — will go a long way to help the future of work,” Tracey says.
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Stephanie Darling is the Editorial Content Manager at InVision. She has a background working with arts and culture organizations, and she loves all things food, dogs, and podcasts.