Top 5 Trends to Track in the Future Work

Top 5 Trends to Track in the Future of Work

In early 2022, I was invited by Authority Magazine to contribute to an interview series called The Great Resignation & The Future Of Work. 

5 Trends to Track Future of Work - Interview with Karen - Authority MagazineI was asked to share my thoughts, and reflect on the past few years as we emerge from the pandemic, as we move into the future.

This in-depth interview got me thinking about thinking more deeply about what the world of work has been through in recent years…and most importantly, the people doing the work – us – have all been through.

“The Great Resignation” is how we are describing the impact of seeing thousands and thousands of people leave long-term working positions after realizing that there was, in fact, another way of working.

So, now, what is the Future of Work? 

How can we address our new working reality? How can we create something that is better, as we are not going “back” to how things were before 2020.

You can read the full article here, and many thanks to Authority Magazine and contributing editor Karen Mangia for inviting me to share my thoughts.

The Top 5 Trends to Track in the Future of Work

In this article and video, I share what I believe are the top 5 trends to track for the future of work.

As I considered the questions that I was asked as part of my contribution, I became less interested in the idea of the Great Resignation itself, and much more interested in the future of the world of work.

We are shaped by our experience — and our challenges — and the pandemic has pushed us to reevaluate and realign how we can and will make an impact.

What can we learn from the pandemic? What do we want to take forward from the past? And how can we reshape our future of

Watch the video

See below for excerpts from Authority Magazine my top five trends on the future of work, and the time stamps in a video where I reflect on these trends if you wish to jump to them.

As I elaborate on in the video, I think the top 5 trends to track in the future of work should be focused on purpose, people-centered leadership, and closing any diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) gaps that exist.

Here are my top 5 trends to track in the future of work:

1. Everyone – at any and all levels of an organization – must have a clear connection to purpose.

Video: (0:37) 

Gone are the days where people are staying within a job for merely stability. Work that isn’t clearly aligned to purpose doesn’t feel, well, intentional. And employees just aren’t tolerating that anymore. People have always wanted to feel that their contributions matter and that their efforts have meaning.

The best way to guarantee that happens is to ensure that every person within an organization understands how their work is important and purposeful.

Leaders are charged with articulating this purpose — both for themselves and their employees — and how this purpose is intimately connected with the organization’s purpose.

2. Leaders must be intentional about building a strong connection and rapport with their team (and vice versa).

Video: (2:18) 

Companies with healthy, people-centered learning cultures have always known and embraced the importance of the connection and relationship between leaders and their team members. Effective connection is built, however, not by the number of calls or touch-points these individuals have; but rather by the humanness that is seen and cared for.

Authentic connection requires leaders to “go to gemba” and see for themselves the challenges that their team members face (as well as the amazing accomplishments that they celebrate).

This connection is a two-way street built from active listening, true caring, genuine curiosity, and mutual respect.

However, while this connection is impacted by both the leader and the team member, it’s the responsibility of the leader to set the stage and remain consistent. Leaders need to evaluate ways to remove barriers, ask questions, and listen.

This may be hard for some in a virtual world, but it’s not impossible. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Intentional leaders know it’s very possible, and they embrace the opportunity to learn along the way.

3. There is an increased (and continued) desire for flexibility in working structure, and the organizations that are succeeding are those that are adapting.

Video: (3:14) 

From hours to location, employees have discovered the value of flexibility in their schedules and they aren’t always willing to give that flexibility back. And, in many cases, there isn’t a need to remove it!

No matter where you live, what role you have, what you do for a living, or what you aspire to achieve, the one commonality is that we all want to feel valued and know that the people we work with and the company we work for sees us and sees our value.

Offering employees the flexibility to work remotely or in a hybrid setting – or the opportunity to set their own schedules altogether – will continue to be an increasing need and a valued offering.

4. More asynchronous working will require innovation in tools and collaboration products.

Video: (4:17)

Zoom and other video streaming services weren’t what they are today before the pandemic. Their capabilities evolved, as did our capabilities in using them, and many other tools to inspire innovation have and will continue to as well.

As teams are dispersed around the globe and working more flexible hours, we won’t have the same expectation of everyone being available at the same time, yet we can utilize ways to coordinate through project management apps, communication tools like Loom, and scheduling specific times in advance for live communication.

My team is living proof that innovation is possible within a diverse team dynamic dispersed around the world.

5. Diversity, equity and inclusion gaps will widen without purposeful attention by companies in managing hybrid and remote work.

Video: (5:35)

While the pandemic positively impacted greater flexibility and connection to work-life balance for many employees due to reduced commute times and more flexible working hours, for others it exacerbated DEI gaps that already existed.

For example, many of us have experienced first hand that women were disproportionately impacted with childcare and homeschooling responsibilities. And for those who do not have high speed internet access or quiet spaces at their home, it was challenging to have productive working days.

Employers and leaders must be aware of this gap and be intentional about managing it in ways that create inclusive environments which foster creative thought and respected opinions of all people.

How Employers and Employees Are Reworking Work Together

We are shaped by our experience – and our challenges – and the pandemic has pushed us to reevaluate and realign how we can and will make an impact.

What opportunities can we begin creating for ourselves, our people, and our organizations?

How are you supporting your people? How are you meeting their needs? How are you assessing where they’re at and what they want?

Company culture is set by leaders’ words and actions:

  • How are your leaders showing that they care about their people?
  • How are you showing you care?
  • How are you providing your people opportunities for growth, development, and responsibility?
  • And, how are you and your team, yourselves, committing to continuously learning as well?

For more thoughts on how we can redesign the future of work together, check out the rest of my interview –  The Great Resignation & The Future Of Work: Katie Anderson On How Employers and Employees Are Reworking Work Together  – in Authority Magazine.

Additional Resources

One of the ways we can provide our people with opportunities for growth and development is to Break the Telling Habit.

This is about knowing how to ask better questions, when to listen, and how to coach others to develop the capability and confidence to solve problems.

Download my free “3 Tips to Break the Telling Habit” Guide – learn how to ask questions more effectively to help others solve more problems by downloading this free guide.

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