Don’t Fall Behind: 3 Ways to Prepare for the Future of Work

by Blake Snow

posted on 05-08-2017

The way we work is changing. You probably already know that. But what’s even more interesting is how it’s changing.

To dive deeper, Adobe researchers recently surveyed over 2,000 office employees and nine leading thought leaders. In addition to uncovering five ways the future of work is changing, the study also identified the required actions employers must take to prepare for the future.

Rethinking how companies incentivize their workers is a top priority. “There’s this new generation of workers that are causing companies to reevaluate what they can offer in exchange for work,” explains Matt Dorey, CEO of Factory, an innovation consultancy. “These workers value lifestyle, causes, and flexibility over traditional salaries and even trendy perks.”

The evolving workplace is radically affecting people, workspaces, and technology. Is your company ready for the new world order?

People: Attract with flexible policies.

In todays competitive landscape, it’s critical that organizations attract and retain top talent – enter the flex worker. Whether employed or contracted, the flex worker values results-oriented management, the freedom to own their schedule, and access to a variety of experiences, assignments, or “gigs” that challenge their intellect.

For example, does your company encourage time off? Are you motivating your workers with short-term quarterly rewards or long-term cause-related ones? You say you believe in risk, but do you really allow your workers to take them and are you okay with learning from beginner, middle, or even senior management mistakes?

Whatever your response to those questions, your employee relationship will be reported, publicized, and shared on social media,, and other information sharing sites to your own benefit (or detriment).

Workspaces: Design for open collaboration.

Environment is everything. It may be time to evaluate your workspace against award-winning and performance-driven ones at leading companies. Some companies require a central location where people come to work every day. Others can thrive with remote workers or a flexible physical space. The key is understanding your people – find out how they work best, and use their insights to craft the right work space.

According to the survey, collaborative technology is the biggest thing people want from their workspace. Food, beverages, and other amenities are high on the list. But the best workspaces are those that treat employees like guests while trying to provide them with the most supportive occupational experience. They also encourage regular human interaction to keep workers accountable, motivated, team-oriented, and teachable.

That said, it’s important to note that a workspace should reflect the company’s culture. While many large companies have decked out offices with toys and primary colors, it’s okay to have an adult-looking workspace. Just find out what works for your people, brand, and culture.

Technology: Provide empowering tools.

When preparing your response to the above questions, technology can provide the most answers. More specifically, what tools are you using or considering to automate, encourage, and advise your workers? For example, using e-signatures to speed and simplify document approvals. Whatever the case, you must identify the menial processes that take time away from your employees and procure technology that eases those burdens.

Additionally, do you really care about the well-being of your workforce? Should you? If so, what are you doing to help them manage the powerful but compulsory allure of their devices, alerts, notifications, and the constant demands on their time?

Answering those questions requires considerable amounts of both soul searching and money. But depending on the priority, size, and timing of your investment, it is undeniably worth it, the survey found.

Watch the Future of Work Think Tanks that took place in San Francisco and San Jose.

Read the full report.

Topics: Future of Work