October 29, 2015

5 Key Themes Emerge from the Future of Work Forum™

This week senior business leaders and members of the Future of Work Community converged in New York City to discuss topics and trends that will shape the future of the way we work, and share how some of the world’s most forward thinking companies are preparing for impact. Dr. Tracy Brower, Global Vice President of WORKPLACE VITALITY™ for MARS DRINKS and Xavier Unkovic, the companies’ Global President, delivered the keynote speech to share the latest research from Mars Drinks on WORKPLACE VITALITY™ which launched the same week. Participants from a variety of industries and disciplines shared lessons learned, and from the discussions emerged key areas of impact that all companies must consider to ensure the sustainability of their business.

Trust Drives Innovation

How well we build Trust across functions and levels in the organization is intrinsically linked to driving greater Innovation. Trust is gained by building real and lasting relationships among associates, creating bonds that transcend our daily work and strengthening teams to focus on solving problems by seeking new solutions. The notions of transparency and authenticity were also at the top of the list for conference attendees who cited these as other factors that contributed towards building trust within teams and across functions.

“How can you collaborate if you don’t trust? How can you trust if you don’t know each other?”

Purpose Connects People

Engagement can no longer measured by productivity alone, but rather by the emotional connection that people have with their work and the sense of belonging they feel within the organization. Engagement will also be closely tied to how well a company fosters and encourages individuals to discover greater Purpose in their work beyond daily tasks.

The Role of Technology

“Put a premium on executives that can incorporate digital solutions without confusing means with ends.”

Technology is a foundation for improving the way we collaborate in the future of work. The role of the Chief Information Officer continues to be critical in facilitating greater connection among individuals and groups across geographic barriers, bringing people together at work to share information and increase the pace of innovation in ways that have never been possible. The need for meaningful work also means that our balance of work and life will continue to merge more closely and will be tied to the sense of Well-Being within the organization. The HR and IT functions will create a powerful partnership to promote collaboration and connectivity in the workplace.

Flexible Work Environments

Flexible work environments enable people to work anywhere and any way they prefer. Organizations will need to assess not only the flexible work policy, but also how well they are set up for success within their own office. Work environments must be adaptive to the ways that people prefer to work. A flexible office is one that provides a multitude of spaces, plus the right technology and amenities, to make the office a destination of choice for individuals and teams to do their best, most focused work.

No One Has All the Answers

Shared learnings and insights are critical. Organizations must be willing to search for answers by asking new questions, to test new theories, to get comfortable with uncertainty, and to take risks to innovate and succeed in this fast paced and rapidly changing landscape.

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