Future of Work: Why Businesses Should Focus On a Flexible Work Model

By Jay Kulkarni

KEY TAKEAWAY

In 2021, the traditional business model seismically upended itself. This year, successful leaders embraced the changes and innovated, but is this just the beginning? Jay Kulkarni, Founder and CEO, Theorem explores the evolving business ecosystem and why companies should focus on a flexible work model.

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As we look ahead, business leaders to entry-level employees are questioning what the future of work will look like. Businesses are exploring the idea of a “flexible” working model, questioning how the business ecosystem is evolving, and unpacking what it really means for the future of business.

In a pre-pandemic world, HR and people operations were the departments that set company morale and culture. Now, in a post-pandemic world, it is a combined effort across the entire organization, especially in the quest to help prevent burnout.

In a pre-pandemic world, HR and People Operations were the departments that set company morale and culture. Now, in a post-pandemic world, it is a combined effort across the entire organization, especially in the quest to help prevent burnout.

Understanding How the Business Ecosystem Is Evolving

To understand the future of work, we must reflect on the past year and why there is a need for change. In 2020, employers and employees were forced into a remote work model seemingly overnight, which brought new challenges to workflow and communication, both internally and externally. Concepts such as ‘Zoom fatigue’ and ‘screen burnout’ emerged as leaders struggled to keep business afloat, all while maintaining high levels of company morale and culture.

There is a growing need to combat this sense of ‘digital fatigue.’ Now is the time for business leaders to review their internal resources and ensure that they are leveraging their team members’ expertise appropriately while also accounting for bandwidth and acknowledging the growing need to build a culture that encourages work-life balance.

At the height of the pandemic, when everyone was forced overnight into remote work cultures, employees started wearing multiple hats and performing in different roles. You had to be your own IT person, in some cases; if you were more junior on a team, you had to take more ownership of your assignments; you had to over-communicate and manage up in ways you may not have before. You may have even had to take on creative work or help across departments at a time when budgets were strapped thin, and the company could no longer rely on certain outside resources.

While these practices were sustainable in dire times, are they moving forward? Should business leaders continue to spread their organization thin simply because they know now that they technically could? What is the way of the future?

Why a “Flexible” Working Model Is the Way Forward

The “future of work” has been a topic long debated by business leaders across the globe, but does it still mean the same thing in a post-pandemic era? Not exactly. Now, the conversation is evolving to focus on flexibility. Simply put, the future of business can no longer afford to be siloed to an internal corporate team.

According to Forbes, immediately take action. They’ll implement plans to attract and retain talent. The companies that prioritize their employees and do everything in their power to make them happy and motivated will be the winners in this new upcoming era.

What Does This Mean for the Future of Business?

As you explore what the flexible future of work means for your organization, it is important to focus on not only what keeps your business successful but what works for your employees. As each department and personnel have a different method of working and being successful at their job, it is important to realize that what worked for them yesterday won’t necessarily work for them tomorrow. Making sure you are agile in the way your employees work is crucial in the flexible future of work.

Businesses are now at the mercy of their employees. With a job market that is currently ‘booming’, businesses must understand that employees have options. The working American is re-evaluating their priorities. What is it that makes employees stay at a company? How can business leaders keep their employees and keep them happy?

Organizations need to learn how to quickly adapt to the flexible work model, focus on organizational culture and learn that flexibility across all departments and personnel is essential for the future of work.

The key to success is making sure that flexibility is always accounted for in every decision that is made. To keep an organization, employees and clients satisfied, the conversation around the ‘future of work’ should be prioritized around flexibility

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