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Guest Blog: Future of Work

2/9/18 11:47 AM

Let go of the handbrake! Workplaces should embrace the opportunities that emerge with technological innovations, and make the best out of them in work life. The "Why" in the future of work is engaged and inspired people, which is achieved with a combination of empathetic corporate culture, technology and physical elements. This is how we'll create the best possible employee experiences, writes Patrik Etelävuori.

Mobile technologies enable mobile and remote work and literally put the office in our pocket.

Where do we go from here?

We are partnering up and relying on robotics, drones, AI, bots, blockchain technology and other tech-trends in our work life. This is happening all the time, so make use of the opportunities. We are dependent on mobility and digital platforms and mobile devices are part of us. We expect new technologies to bring higher productivity and efficiency into our work with an accelerating pace. Naturally, this has a price tag, but the payback period is getting shorter and shorter as technology evolves. Think about smartphones. They are a million times faster than NASA´s first computers from the 60’s that helped put a man on the moon. Today, the Apple Watch is already more powerful than the first iPad. Amazing!

Uber is partnering with NASA in a project called Uber Elevate to take people transportation to the next level. Again a major disruption in thinking new business models, putting people and their needs in the center. With a working infrastructure, this would totally revolutionize our commuting ecosystem and make use of airspace that is currently not utilized very well. Norway is aiming to have all of their short flights electric by 2040, and self-driving cars are just around the corner. We have the ingredients for a large scale self-driving, people transporting drone. Amazon is already making use of this technology with package deliveries.

We are seeking the most convenient model, be that the means to get from point A to point B, or anything else. The sharing economy model backed with technological innovations and great UX is one example of making efficient use of resources to create something that makes our life easier.

What does this have to do with future of work? Everything!

We have created the technology and the digital revolution, but at the same time we are standing in the way of progress. We put up rules and regulations to prevent or slow down the inevitable change because we are afraid of what lies ahead.

The simple truth is, get on board or get run over - unfortunately, it's as simple as that. Instead of driving with the handbrake on, let go and start coping, work together and come up with solutions rather than problems. The change that we are experiencing needs to work for you as well as the next person. This is really important! That is why we need to accept and adapt to new ways of working. Change is constant! We need to break silos and start to work together and collaborate.

You are not alone, we are all moving in the same direction together. Agreed, it is frustrating to disrupt our own work and start modernizing our ways of working towards digital environments rather than physical, but we have to, there are no alternatives here. 

It’s frustrating to go to IKEA as well, but we do it anyway. Ok, so I am being a bit harsh, I know, but I feel that it’s time to wake up and smell the flowers. Not only because they smell great, but because they are beautiful and lay a bed for endless opportunities.

How can digitalization help you be more productive, and ignite that spark of inspiration?

What is our Why, our purpose?

As mentioned earlier in the Uber case, it is all about people. Everything boils down to people and making our lives more convenient. Human centricity is the most important part in designing new models, software, services, spaces, etc. We have to understand the purpose, the Why, before we engage ourselves, because involvement is not good enough, involvement won't win the race.

Simon Sinek's Golden Circle has three layers: Why is the core belief of the business. It's why the business exists. How is how the business fulfills that core belief. What is what the company does to fulfill that core belief.

If you have not yet read Simon Sineks book "Start With Why" or listened to his TED talks, I strongly urge you to do so. Simon Sinek talks about understanding and finding the purpose for what we do. This is the most important driver for us as humans and can exponentially skyrocket the profits of any company.

How do we get there?

Three engaging elements work across any corporate strategy that takes into account their most valuable asset, the employees. These are Culture, Technology and Physical Environments. Jacob Morgan highlights these three elements as key factors in creating the best possible Employee Experience.

Jacob Morgan's The Employee Experience Equation defines  the three environments that make up every single employee experience at every organization around the world (culture, technology, and physical space).

Jacob Morgan defines the three environments that make up every employee experience at every organization as Culture, Technology, and Physical Space. Picture copyright: Jacob Morgan

With a trust based and empathetic corporate culture, we are able to empower our fellow employees to do amazing things. In the evolving work environment, technology plays a big part. Technology as an enabler is a megatrend in all transformation. Technology needs to support open corporate culture to enable  new kinds of collaboration, agile work and mobility - thereby also creating a better work life balance.

The physical environment again is important to understand, as work should not be not tied to a single location. You might want to leave the Nordic darkness during winter for a sunnier and warmer atmosphere to get inspired and boost your productivity. This should be made possible, as it should make no difference from where you work. In many companies teams are already scattered all around the globe, so what holds you back?

Check out this short video from Jacob Morgan regarding empathy-driven corporate culture.

 What do we get out of this?

We started with people in the center and we come back to people at the end. With a holistic base where culture, technology and the physical environment are created with a human centric approach we get the best possible employee experience as well as engaged, inspired and productive people who are willing to go the extra mile for our common goals. What could possibly go wrong?

In a nutshell

We need to embrace the new opportunities that rise with technological innovations and take full advantage of them in our work life. With an empathetic corporate culture, technology and physical elements, we’ll be able to create the best possible employee experience. And what ties this all together, is starting with WHY!

If you want to check out how engaged you feel your organization is, take Jacob Morgan's The Employee Experience Index, a quick survey on the future of work.  

We have invited guest bloggers, experts in their fields, to share their knowledge, thoughts and ideas with our readers. We hope these blogs will engage a larger audience to discuss various topics related to workplaces.  Please click here for all our guest blogs (in English).  If you want to hear more about how we at Rapal contribute to the development of work environments around the world, take a look here.  
Patrik Etelävuori

Written by Patrik Etelävuori

Patrik Etelävuori is currently working as Group Digital Transformation Lead at Finnair, focusing mainly on People & Culture. Patrik is passionate about design thinking and challenging the status-quo with a human-centered and disruptive approach. Creating new models and innovations in our daily work environment both in solutions and services are close to his heart. In his previous role as Head of Concepts & Innovations - Facilities, Patrik was driving the Tieto Keilalahti Campus Head Office project. He has since been working closely with new ways of working, employee experience as well as Intelligent/Smart Building solutions in the constantly evolving digital work environments.