And at work, what is changing?

We’ve seen that managers cannot overlook evidence that existing models won’t be enough to cope with the uncertainties of the future in the business world. Specifically in the working environment, new movements are pushing companies to break away with obsolete models and to employ innovative working methods.

a) We are ‘burning out’
Increasing feelings of a state of emergency, of competition at work, of compulsive devotion to one’s professional life – with all the stress and pressure brought along with this – more and more cause nervous breakdowns (known as ‘burnout’ or exhaustion syndrome). This lifestyle and employees’ deteriorating health obviously end up affecting organisations.

b) Always connected
We have access to computers and smartphones and, through them, to the global network and work email everywhere, at any time – promoting this sense of a state of emergency. Being ‘always connected’ means, for many people, having to answer to requests immediately. Regardless of where they are or what time it is.

Several companies have been seeking to promote good practices in human resources management. The case of Volkswagen, in Germany, who refused to email employees who had company mobile phones outside working hours, illustrates such practices. The giant of the motor industry decided to turn off their Blackberry servers half an hour after the end of the workday, and to turn them back on in the following day, half an hour before the beginning of activity.

Trade unions and social movements are also trying to assure that minimal rest periods of employees foreseen by the law are respected. In France, in April 2014, contact by the boss after office hours was forbidden, following an agreement between unions and employers in the digital, consultancy and engineering sectors.

This became known as the ‘right to disconnection’ from distance communication tools. Employees in these sectors may turn off their work phones between 6 p.m. and 9 a.m. of the following morning, without retaliation.

c) Personal time?
Juggling the professional with the personal spheres of life is not an easy task. It’s something many companies have been reflecting on, to achieve two major goals: to guarantee greater organisational efficiency, and more productivity; and to harness more qualified human resources in the search for better conditions and a better quality of life at and outside of work.

To benefit their working parents some companies are already increasing flexibility of working schedules and creating services of family-life support.

d) Conquering the best
Generation ‘Y’ (people born during the 1980s or 1990s) has integrated into the labour market, with their different tech habits and life aspirations, reinforcing the need for changes in work structures and supply development – to attract top talent.

Soon Generation ‘Z’ (born between the end of the 1990s and the beginning of the new millennium) will follow. The challenge repeats itself. The motivation triad – autonomy, mastery and purpose – as suggested by Daniel Pink’s formula, will resurface as new generations conquer the labour market.

e) Flexible work
The development and generalisation of technologies is also making work relationships and models evolve. The report ‘The Future of Work: Jobs and Skills’ in 2030 by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (2014), discusses this tendency: ‘Faced with growing complexity and performance pressures in the work environment, individuals are increasingly seeking a more suitable balance and better boundaries between the requirements of work and private life. A majority (57%) of employees say that the availability of flexible working in their workplace is important to them; this proportion is growing over time and is significantly higher for particular groups including parents, workers with caring responsibilities and the highly qualified.’

The report further states that ‘Generation Y (people born between 1980 and 2000 and have grown up almost entirely in the digital age) will further drive this trend, with 92% identifying flexibility as a top priority when selecting a workplace.’

The contribution of each, the intelligence of all
In the face of this reality, both intrinsic and extrinsic tendencies are emerging:

// On the one hand, the power of networks is generating new knowledge and synergies. Socialisation and human relationships acquire renewed influence.

// On the other hand, individuals assert themselves. Clients and consumers, as well as employees, now have new tools to make their voices heard. And they are using them to express concerns and to show their skills and capacities.

These dynamics bring opportunities. They fuel a corporate and collaborative spirit. Every employee and stakeholder can get involved, contribute and become part of something bigger.

But how can we gather the collective intelligence of our companies and truly create internal innovation armies? That is what the cases and models we present in detail next week will demonstrate.

Unleashing your company’s hidden potential: some good examples

The future of work and the transformation from within

Pedro do Carmo Costa, Exago’s director and co-founder

Francisco de Rhodes Sérgio, VP Inbound and Sales for LATAM

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