Productive Leaders

Ph.D., CSP, CDR, US Navy Ret.,
CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame

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Future of Work: What Do Workers Want?

The workplace has changed from even a decade ago, particularly when it comes to office structure and setup. Even just 20 years ago, there wasn’t as much global connection, competition, and collaboration as there is now. Translation? A lot of people have forged careers that don’t have traditional boundaries or hours. Work happens at different times of the day all over the world. The pace is constant and continues to accelerate.

As a result, the 9-5 workday is no longer a set standard. Yes, some jobs require that employees be at their job site at specific times, but a lot of work has morphed into nights and weekends. In America, the average salaried employee works 47 hours per week. It is expected that employees are reachable by text all the time. Responsiveness is key for organizations.

So what do employees want?

Audiences have heard me say, “Salary attracts, benefits entice, and flexibility keeps employees.”

Flexibility: Employees want the freedom to find a balance that might otherwise be elusive during the regularly scheduled work day.  They want to work according to the their own schedule, and that may mean starting really early morning or working late at night.  They also want the flexibility to manage deadlines and projects, and then recapture the time they need to pursue what they want to do outside of the office.

So how is this flexibility benefit changing office leadership?

  1. The workforce and corporate culture becomes more focused on results, not merely on hours worked.
  2. Leadership has to consistently provide more guidance and communication, and require their employees to do the same.
  3. Goals need to be compelling and linked to specific action plans.
  4. Roles and responsibilities need to be clearly articulated.
  5. Supervisors need to trust their teams and teams need to trust their leadership.
  6. Employees are more empowered to make decisions as they feel more trusted by their leaders.


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