The Future of Work is Remote Work

By Chris Heuer

We avoid pain more than we pursue pleasure. It's why startups seek to offer painkillers instead of vitamins (in Silicon Valley parlance).

Things have been going so well and so fast for so long, that there was little interest in changing how things were being done. As we’ve heard too many times, “Things are going well, don’t change it”.

But now things aren’t going so well. We are facing a rapid change to our fundamental socioeconomic systems. We have been forced to rethink a great deal of what is important to us-- how we interact with one another, how our systems and how policies reflect and don’t reflect our values.

This is especially true when we think about what is possible with existing technology and how little we have realized its full potential value. Could a more intentional design of our collaborative technologies and processes provide workers and organizations with more of what they both want? Absolutely. Haven’t we heard this before? Absolutely.

But now the necessity of remote work and the early positive results will lead most organizations to cross the digital transformation chasm. This has dramatic implications that will ripple across the whole of society - the impact of which will be revealed over the coming years and beyond.

Thankfully, we are prepared. There are many established professionals with knowledge of digital and working from anywhere (WFA) - telecommuters, road warriors, digital nomads and flex time workers. Over the last decade in particular, organizational patterns were proposed such as Enterprise 2.0, Social Business and the Future of Work.

Unfortunately, most business leaders chose not to take the vitamins being offered because things were going “pretty well.” After being burned so many times by the unmet promises of technologies and their overzealous evangelists over the years, can you blame them?

Those changes to how we work are no longer vitamins, they are painkillers. In fact, for many businesses, they are life savers. We already see evidence of the forward-thinking companies who embraced digital transformation gaining outsized competitive advantages. They are also reacting in a more nimble manner to a rapidly changing market..

Beyond the necessity of social distancing leading to remote work teams, there is also a chance for companies to win the war for talent by becoming one of the best places to work remotely, and to engage emerging leaders and top talent interested in bettering themselves and the world, working from anywhere, living their best lives, enjoying more time with their friends, families and communities and spending less time commuting.

A world with remote work as the norm is a world with less pollution, less wasted energy, less lost time and a greater quality of life. It may piss off the cats, but it sure makes the dogs happy.


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