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Future Work: How Businesses Can Adapt and Thrive In The New World Of Work

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The way we work is overdue for change. Businesses want to increase efficiency and attract the best talent and skills. The new workforce wants a fresh deal. Aided by technology, companies now have the tools to boost output and cut costs, to give employees more freedom over how they work, and to contribute to a greener economy. But many organizations are slow to realize this. The way we work is overdue for change. Businesses want to increase efficiency and attract the best talent and skills. The new workforce wants a fresh deal. Aided by technology, companies now have the tools to boost output and cut costs, to give employees more freedom over how they work, and to contribute to a greener economy. But many organizations are slow to realize this. They cling to a rigid model of fixed working time and presence better suited to the industrial age than the digital age. This is bad for business. There is ample evidence that trusting people to manage their own work lives, whether individually or in teams, pays off. Organizations that measure and reward people by results, rather than hours, benefit from higher productivity, more motivated workers, better customer service, and lower costs. Future Work sets out the compelling business case for a change in organizational cultures and working practices, drawing on a unique international survey and dozens of examples of innovative companies making the transition. It explains: • Why current flexible work arrangements fail to achieve the business benefits of a wholesale shift to an autonomous work culture • Why future work requires leadership styles that play to female strengths • Why offices of the future will be meeting places rather than workplaces • How managers can help virtual teams to collaborate and ensure that technology is our servant, not our master It takes bold leadership and a break with old habits. But future work will not wait for those who fail to grasp the opportunities now.


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The way we work is overdue for change. Businesses want to increase efficiency and attract the best talent and skills. The new workforce wants a fresh deal. Aided by technology, companies now have the tools to boost output and cut costs, to give employees more freedom over how they work, and to contribute to a greener economy. But many organizations are slow to realize this. The way we work is overdue for change. Businesses want to increase efficiency and attract the best talent and skills. The new workforce wants a fresh deal. Aided by technology, companies now have the tools to boost output and cut costs, to give employees more freedom over how they work, and to contribute to a greener economy. But many organizations are slow to realize this. They cling to a rigid model of fixed working time and presence better suited to the industrial age than the digital age. This is bad for business. There is ample evidence that trusting people to manage their own work lives, whether individually or in teams, pays off. Organizations that measure and reward people by results, rather than hours, benefit from higher productivity, more motivated workers, better customer service, and lower costs. Future Work sets out the compelling business case for a change in organizational cultures and working practices, drawing on a unique international survey and dozens of examples of innovative companies making the transition. It explains: • Why current flexible work arrangements fail to achieve the business benefits of a wholesale shift to an autonomous work culture • Why future work requires leadership styles that play to female strengths • Why offices of the future will be meeting places rather than workplaces • How managers can help virtual teams to collaborate and ensure that technology is our servant, not our master It takes bold leadership and a break with old habits. But future work will not wait for those who fail to grasp the opportunities now.

38 review for Future Work: How Businesses Can Adapt and Thrive In The New World Of Work

  1. 4 out of 5

    Todd Stockslager

    Review Title: Near future, remotely working What Maitland and Thomson described in 2011 as future has already largely taken place now. I say largely, because while not every company, industry or type of workplace has adopted their principles, must that can adopt them have. To a large extend the authors were right on their near term bet that the marketplace would drive the workplace to change to be enable companies to hire and retain the kinds of skilled and motivated workers who will make them su Review Title: Near future, remotely working What Maitland and Thomson described in 2011 as future has already largely taken place now. I say largely, because while not every company, industry or type of workplace has adopted their principles, must that can adopt them have. To a large extend the authors were right on their near term bet that the marketplace would drive the workplace to change to be enable companies to hire and retain the kinds of skilled and motivated workers who will make them successful. Future work as described by the authors is flexible work in terms of time, place, and presence, with a focus on outcomes, not inputs. The shift away from time clocks, rigid start times, and factory-floor presence in front of a production tool (now more likely to be a computer screen than a machine tool) was enabled in the last decade by technology (ubiquitous networking and communication capabilities) and pioneered first in high tech startups. It is now commonplace and could even be said to be entering a second generation of maturity. As a software test architect for IBM I have not had a dedicated office on IBM property for nearly a decade, spending all of my work day either in my home office, customer location, or the occasional onsite meeting at various IBM sites. Has it been perfect? No, but the authors are largely correct that it has become both accepted and expected by workers like me to enable us to work long and sometimes awkward hours supporting global customers and work teams without becoming burned out or quitting. In fact the flexible working approach is mature and common enough now that I can ask three difficult questions about future work from my experience that the authors have only partially answered: 1. How do you really reward output and not hours worked? Maitland and Thomson suggest quarterly objectives and reviews, that focus on measuring quality and not just quantity of output. IBM has made steps in that direction but financial reward still is more likely to be based on length of service and overall company performance. And in today's too busy workplace quarterly reviews are more likely to be honored in the breach. 2. How do you build teamwork remotely? This has become to me the biggest failing of the highly distributed remote teaming common today. Sure we can all join phone calls with Web screen sharing and do it from our home offices at times that minimize the time zone pain and during steady state business as usual times this works well. But when faced with tasks that require complex interactions to design, troubleshoot, and execute, there is no substitute for sitting (or standing!) around a whiteboard to come up with the best solution in the shortest time. The authors propose that one guiding principles of future work should be to reduce or eliminate travel, which I think businesses have jumped on as a cost saving unbreakable rule to the extent that solutions are either flawed or delayed because of it. Bringing a team together at times like these is essential, I believe. 3. How do you reduce anxiety about job security in the model where business results are based on quarterly earnings and stock prices and personal results are longer term and measured differently? Maitland and Thomson suggest that business managers understand the business case for flexible working with a stakeholder orientation that considers the customer, the investor, and the employee, but the reality is that carried to its most extreme conclusion future work could leave workers as unprotected independent contractors with no job security. In the end, they admit that national legislation that protects workers in this scenario is a future discussion outside the scope of their book. But I largely agree with their arguments and find it more practical than I expected in defining the "how" of making flexible working arrangements happen. They are right in that it is a business-driven bottom line decision that benefits both employees and employers, not a human resources "benefit." And they also correctly realize that technology is an enabler but not a driver for future working.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Helena Ruiz fabra

    While searching for a new job , I have decided to study how will be the workplace and work of the future in order to prepare better. This is a must read for organisational development in the 21st century. Easy to read, seductive and very useful thinking resource. Would much like to live it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Shona

  4. 5 out of 5

    Karen

  5. 5 out of 5

    Valerie Cox

  6. 5 out of 5

    Chris Robinson

  7. 4 out of 5

    Eleanor Utting

  8. 5 out of 5

    ALEX VERBURG

  9. 5 out of 5

    Darryl Howard

  10. 4 out of 5

    Tammy

  11. 5 out of 5

    John

  12. 4 out of 5

    CRaig

  13. 4 out of 5

    Marie

  14. 5 out of 5

    mr a e cooper

  15. 5 out of 5

    gramakri

  16. 5 out of 5

    Titia Lenzhölzer-Maas

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mike Waterston

  18. 4 out of 5

    Laura

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    Smith

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    Alla

  21. 4 out of 5

    Paul

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    Marion

  23. 4 out of 5

    Megan T

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kursty Groves Knight

  25. 4 out of 5

    Joris

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tim Gillen

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    Caitlin Campbell

  28. 5 out of 5

    John

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    Henrique Moniz

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    Kelly

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    Jacquelyn Fusco

  32. 4 out of 5

    Erica

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    Carme

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    Kaycee

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    Peter Stark

  36. 5 out of 5

    Kris Stevich

  37. 4 out of 5

    Sai Prasanna Kumar Malladi

  38. 5 out of 5

    Austėja

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