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The Five Essentials for Success in the Future of Work
The future of work is now, and professionals have more options than ever before to choose when and how to work. With remote work policies becoming the norm, many people are exploring new ways to integrate work and life. Here are five essentials to help you thrive in the future of work that I describe in my upcoming book, Work Your Way: Reinvent Yourself, Create the Life You Want, and Thrive as a Consultant, available August 2021 by Harper Collins Leadership.
1. The future of work is flexible: Know how you want to work
When the pandemic started last year, millions of people found themselves working remotely whether they were ready or not. The number of remote workdays doubled in 2020, reports Gallup.1 Regulatory barriers to telehealth were quickly removed due to COVID, enabling Providence Healthcare to jump from 10,000 telehealth visits per year to 10,000 per day by the middle of the pandemic, according to a presentation on their cloud migration success during Microsoft’s Resilience at Work Summit.2 Harvard University migrated 20,000 students to online learning in five days.
Interestingly, 83 percent of employers say that remote work has been a success, according to a recent PWC survey.3 What’s more, now that they’ve gotten a taste of flexibility, 55 percent of employees surveyed by PwC want to work remotely at least three days a week, even after it’s safe to return to the office.
Now that remote, flexible work seems to be here to stay, talent has more options than ever. The pandemic has further opened the door for those who want or need an alternative to the traditional nine-to-five office model. You have the power to determine how, when, and where you want to work: full- or part-time; remote, onsite, or some combination of the two; on-demand, project-based work or traditional salaried employment.
Also, at the Microsoft Resilience at Work Summit, Tsedal Neely, professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and Remote Work Revolution author, posited at the Microsoft Resilience at Work Summit that the “sweet spot” of a hybrid work model is 90 percent remote and 10 percent in person. Therefore, she said, it behooves all of us to understand how to maximize our ability to work effectively and successfully.
To thrive in the future of work, you must know how you work best and define how you want to work.
2. The future of work is on-demand: Know your personal brand and tell your story consistently
In the future of work, companies may increasingly move toward smaller core teams of employees, supplemented with on-demand external talent. In an on-demand world, managers need specific skills—immediately. Whether it’s SEO and paid search expertise to boost a startup’s visibility or program management chops to ensure the successful global launch of a new product, companies will quickly need to identify the right talent with the right skills at the right time.
To succeed in this on-demand world, you must identify your unique strengths. But it doesn’t stop there: Success and happiness exist at the intersection of your strengths and passions—your personal brand.
Find yours with my Personal Brand Playbook, and then tell your story consistently and regularly to stand out and attract the right roles at the right time.
For actionable tips on creating brand integrity across your resume, LinkedIn profile, and pitch, I recommend this free on-demand workshop with career coach Julie Schaller.
3. The future of work is ever-changing: Know what skills are in-demand and embrace continuous learning and development
I recently spoke with Dr. Sandeep Krishnamurthy on the post-experience economy—the idea that we’re moving away from in-person experiences in favor of convenient, instantaneous transactions devoid of social interaction.
In this new world, said Dr. Krishnamurthy, marketers must adapt their tactics from broadcasting to narrowcasting. New tactics require new skills, such as marrying targeting and messaging to get the customer what they want before they even know they need it.
183 million new jobs will emerge by 2022 through AI, predicted the World Economic Forum's 2018 Future of Jobs Report,4 and two-thirds of today’s primary school students will have jobs in the future that don't exist yet.5 The institution also noted that we’ll all require an additional 101 days of learning by 2022 to keep pace with the rate of change.
In the future of work, continuous learning and upskilling is a necessity. Keep abreast of the latest trends and in-demand skills and educate yourself accordingly.
4. The future of work is intentional: Know what you want your life to look like
Technology and remote work have rendered location nearly irrelevant. After all, if you’re working remotely, does it really matter if you’re 20 or 200 miles from the office?
This decoupling of work from location, said Neely, is going to play out in extraordinary ways. She predicts that people will begin moving out of traditional employment hubs or spending chunks of time working from beautiful places. In fact, it’s already begun.
Spotify’s new Work-From-Anywhere program allows employees to do just that—while still receiving San Francisco and New York salaries.6
When Barbados offered visas to remote workers during the pandemic, Microsoft’s vivacious Dona Sarkar tweeted that she’d be working from the Caribbean island for three months just because she could.
Know what you want your life to look like, and fit work to your life, not the other way around.
5. The future of work is diverse: Know your worth and find a company that aligns with your values
Spotify’s global head of diversity, inclusion, and belonging, Travis Robinson, believes that the company’s new remote work program will promote inclusion and support equity.
"Black employees historically have been discriminated against when it comes to pay and growth opportunity, and it is likely the local market pay is lower than a comparable city with a large white population," Robinson told Business Insider. 7
The move will indirectly benefit customers, too, Robinson said: "With even more diverse experiences and perspectives, spread across additional communities, we have the opportunity to bring more stories to life, through original content and other curated audio experiences that resonate culturally.”
Diversity and inclusion continue to be important focus areas for many companies. Find a company that aligns with your values and recognizes your worth.
In summary, we are living in the future of work and the best way to thrive is to get clear on what work you love to do, where and how you want to work, and what organizations align with your values. You can create your ideal life so why not jump in with both feet and make it happen.
To learn more about how to thrive in the future of work, register for our digital marketing masterclass with Elissa Fink, former CMO of Tableau Software. You’ll learn pragmatic best practices for digital transformation and effective digital marketing.