Insight

The Revolution of Work Panel – Key Outcomes

Thank you to all of you who attended The Revolution of Work Panel at Ryerson University, May 23rd, 2018. For you, and those who couldn’t attend but reached out to us for information, we are happy to share a Summary of the Key Outcomes of the event.

Background

5 distinguished panelists from diverse business backgrounds were invited to participate on the panel to discuss the challenges they face and the benefits of a flexible and agile workforce. Discussions were moderated by a facilitator trained in Disruption, trained to ask questions that provoke different ways of thinking and approaches to complex problems. The event took place at Ryerson University.
50 people attended; another 10 requested information post-event.

Revolution of Work

Work has changed dramatically. In 2020, only 2 years from now, according to the London School of Economic’s Global Leadership Summit Survey Results it is estimated that 50% to 75% of the global
workforce will be remote, distributed, flexible and agile, in different ways. Mainstream cloud and mobile technology has made it possible for coworkers to communicate and collaborate, in real time, from anywhere. The price to rent or purchase and carry office space has been rising for almost a decade. With workforces demanding more flexible hours, companies are paying for empty desk space. Technology is enabling them to reconsider their business model.

Workforces are also driving the Revolution of Work. Tech tools, collaboration working, file sharing and online training liberate employees from the oice and enable them to organize their own schedules.
Millenials are demanding work flexibility for Work-Life, Balance and professional growth. According to Forbes, the “quit” rate among this group is 26%, the highest it has been in a decade. (Source: Forbes).
Think of your own workforce: in 2 years, 35% of them will probably be Millennials, and Millennials are not fans of walls and offices. These skilled collaborators expect to be able to work any time, from
anywhere. They will bring, if they don’t already do, their own devices and expect you to have the infrastructure and company policies to accommodate them. In terms of innovation and productivity, a
Workshift survey reports over 50% of people report they are more productive outside of the traditional 9:00 – 5:00 workday.  How can you capture that creativity and productive output?

The Revolution of Work is underway and there is no turning back. But is this new paradigm of work fulfilling its potential? Is it positively impacting your business? A number of large companies have mandated remote work and found it not to be successful. What were their challenges? What does it take to make an agile workforce model work for your organization?

Panelists

  • Ching Mac, Sales Director, Citrix Canada
  • Robert Lane, Robert H. Lane and Associates
  • Bronwyn Ott, Manager, Benefits and Wellbeing, Unilever
  • Dr. Laura Hambley, President, Work EvOHlution
  • Gail Green, President Emergenetics Ontario

Attended Profile

Attendees ranged from IT and HR executives and managers who have implemented or are transitioning to an agile work infrastructure and policies or are considering moving to a flexible and agile work
model to business leader coaches who are looking for new solutions for the ever-changing business landscape.

Key Outcomes

Benefits of an Agile and Flexible Workforce

  • When employees can personally manage their schedule to accommodate work, life-balance and contribute when they are most productive and effective, outcomes are higher productivity, more
    creative solutions to challenges and happier employees.
  • Agile teams enable the collaboration of problem-solving minds from any location, anywhere, anytime, for innovation and competitive outcomes.
  • Business can reduce their real estate footprint for considerable cost-savings.
  • A combination of traditional, co-located, flexible and agile work models accommodate all different working styles and realistically addresses the varying mindsets of all generations (for example, millennials and boomers), the task oriented and the high performers.
  • Companies have the ability to scale faster and more efficiently for faster growth. Time to market or a new market is at least 3 times faster.

Challenges Creating an Agile and Flexible Workforce

The right skill-sets

A Successful Agile & Flexible Workforce requires hiring, training for gaps, or re-assigning for the right skill-sets, skill-sets conducive to remote or distributed work, flexibility and collaboration. Not all roles, or all employees, are suited to flexible and agile work, and not all managers are suited to manage these types of teams. Self-starters, employees who want to be empowered to contribute eectively, to work individually and collaboratively and held accountable, are best-suited to agile and flexible work. Managers may require some additional skill gap training to manage a flexible and agile workforce. Skill-sets required are different from traditional management skills. Managers need to implement and/or maintain regular cadence meetings with teams and individuals, both remotely and face to face. Employees need to feel their manager is available to them for any conversation, innovative or challenging, at any reasonable time.

Leadership

Business management is not supportive of the model because they fear they will have little to no employee visibility on performance and productivity. This management perspective reflects more on
the lack of a performance management culture, one that builds and tracks performance and productivity metrics for departmental and employee performance and goals. Organizations operating from
this mindset will find it very difficult to be innovative and competitive.

Technology

Technology is the enabler of an agile and flexible workforce and culture. Companies that provide their workforce with the tools and resources to communicate effectively, file share, and collaborate, from
anywhere, anytime (including the traditional office), 24/7, from any device, securely, perform faster, innovate faster, more creatively, and are faster to market. A consistent user experience across all locations at all times is crucial to a successful agile and flexible workforce. If some employee locations or devices have access to others and others don’t, lower productivity, distrust and miscommunication can easily set in. Employee information and their contributions are company assets. More employees are accessing more applications from more places through more devices than ever before. Ensuring secure and easy access to company information for work time, file sharing and collaboration, secure and easy access that accommodates most devices is a fundamental role of technology.

Trust

Face to face interaction, whether co-located, via weekly meetings or on Skype/Teams is a foundational component of ensuring a flexible and agile workforce, teams and management are engaged and aligned. For companies focused on nurturing a high performance culture, these 2 components are crucial.

Work. Life. Balance.

The pace of change in business, 24/7 connectivity and the demands of high performance cultures is creating anxiety among business leaders and employees in the workforce. A workforce culture that
encourages and nurtures employees to take time for their families and themselves helps them achieve work.life.balance. Empowering them to show up with their own individual “slice of genius”, skill-set and best self, increases positive contributions and lessens anxieties.

Summary

Understanding the workstyles and skill-sets of your workforce and providing the policies, infrastructure, communication channels, tools and resources to enable then to connect, collaborate and work optimally, whether traditionally, agile and flexible or a combination of both workforce models, significantly contributes to meaningful work and overall well-being. What are company benefits? More efficient workforces, higher productivity, innovation, more engaged and happier employees.

Download the Brief

Or enjoy the full video from our event below.

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