The world has changed a lot in the last 20 months. And all of this change has rightly gotten everyone thinking and talking about the future of work. Where will we work, when we will work, how will we work, and will it all work? There is understandable uncertainty about those questions. But now isn’t the time to hesitate and stare motionless into the future, waiting. The future is now. The questions are real but waiting for 100% certainty is folly. It is time to stop waiting and start moving. And we want to help.
Where to Look
Too often people look to the future with a blank stare at a blank sheet of paper. The future will be different, but human nature changes little. We can learn much about the future by looking at history first. Ask yourself questions like:
- What do humans do in times of change?
- What do they want?
- How do they interact with each other?
By considering the past, we set ourselves up to better see into the future. The big point is this – while context and tools might change – not everything will change. Look for the past patterns to help you determine the direction of the future.
How to Look
In our personal lives we often hear the advice to focus more on the journey than the destination. I would give you the same advice now. The exact end state of the future of work is unknown. Besides – when are you defining the end? Are you trying to determine for your organization or team, or make some more global prediction?
Rather than focusing on a fantasy end-point, look at the trends and where they are pointing you. That is a more productive and helpful way to move into the future. Remember the future is now.
What to Do Now
Here is what you shouldn’t do now – nothing. Now is the time to be proactive about the future of work. That action can include:
- Surveying changes in the past and how they played out.
- Looking for lessons and insights from the past 20 months that might be useful.
- Looking and observing what people are doing today.
- Talking with your team, colleagues, vendors, and customers about what they want or need in the future.
- Moving forward, making decisions that can be adjusted as needed, rather than assuming or acting as if the decisions must be final, forever.
Don’t Do it Alone
I hinted above that you should be talking with others, listening to what they say, and observing what others are doing. We want to help you unpack the future of your workplace, by sharing what we see, what our clients are doing, and more. That is why we have created The Future of Work Livecast – a free interactive livestreamed event about the future of work and how you can thrive in it. Join us September 30 at 1:30 pm ET to hear our latest thinking about the future of work, and the path to get there, to see the path others are on, get your questions answered, and most importantly determine what you can do now to move in the direction of your future.