I’m sitting in my in-laws house this morning in rural Iowa on vacation – enjoying some much-needed family time. Even here, I’m able to connect my computer or phone and be active and present with my team in Denver.
The future of work is a new and emerging trend that is being made popular my generation – the millennials – and it’s having an impact on the workplace. But the future of work is more than just working remote. It’s a total paradigm shift and organizations are having a hard time keeping up.
Defining the Future of Work
The future of work was once described as a “flexible” work environment; one where you had the ability to work remotely for any percentage of the time. Future of Work is now transforming into a methodology. Jacob Morgan, a futurist and leading voice in the future of work space, defines the future of work pretty broadly. He states that it’s “…the way we think about and actually get work done.” (Forbes)
It’s about flexibility, autonomy and customization of the workplace and even the work itself.
Tools like Salesforce, Google, and now even Microsoft are making it possible for employees and organizations to virtualize their resources, creating a diverse workforce with the best possible talent without having to be bound by geography.
Something that caught my attention in the fireside chat with Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, at Dreamforce was around the pivot Microsoft is taking to become a services company and how their view of mobility will continue to change the way we work.
Mobility and the Future of Work
I first have to say that Microsoft is doing some amazing things under Satya Nadella. The way they are improving their software and services and the speed at which they are doing it is amazing.
When asked how Microsoft is thinking about mobility, Satya said (and I’m paraphrasing here) that mobility isn’t just the hardware. It’s about allowing your products and services follow you wherever you go and on any platform.
We’ve seen the democratization of Microsoft products and services over the last year or so, with Microsoft Office being available now on the iOS and Android platforms and now the release of Office 2016 which has real-time co-editing of documents built into the software. Microsoft products are now being updated at a very quick pace and are available on all platforms (Office 2016 for Mac anyone)?
While these features have been available in other products like Google for some time, the fact that a giant company that has been complacent over the last several years is moving in this direction, says a lot about how they are re-imagining what they do to help people work better and smarter.
Here is the full fireside chat with Satya Nadella from Dreamforce 2015.
Future of Work in Practice
According to a 2010 study by Intuit, 40% of America’s workforce will be freelancers by 2020. It’s a staggering number, and it’s all because of the new sharing economy, the proliferation of internet access and enterprise cloud technologies like Salesforce becoming commonplace.
According to another study, 79% of millennials would consider quitting their regular jobs to become freelancers to have the flexibility and lifestyle they want. This is partly due to organizations not moving quickly enough to accommodate the work environment and tools that this generation expects to be successful.
This transformation is having an impact on our roles as Salesforce professionals as well. Independent consultants and contracts are easy to find. A large percentage of my network contains freelancers. I’ve even played in this space and have contemplated making the move to full-time freelancing at some point because it’s easy to do in this space.
In today’s internet age, anything is possible. As organizations spend millions of dollars to move to SaaS solutions, improve their physical work environments and learn to adapt their IT policies, I think we’ll begin to see more people living a lifestyle that allows for better work-life integration, where work is getting done in more places than just the office.
What are your thoughts on the future of work? How do you see this movement impact your role or organization? Let’s talk about it! Leave a comment below.