The Fight Against Future of Work

The fight against future of work is waged by old school hiring managers. They fight this fight at their own peril.

As more workforce professionals are vaccinated, hiring managers are planning their return to the workplace.

Many managers recognize that remote work yielded them great benefit. Their people were more productive on the job, working hours that had been used for commuting.

What’s more, people who work remotely indicate that they are happier and better rested. They break up their days with fun family involvements, yet get more done than when they commuted to a traditional workplace.

Still, there is a troubling number of old school managers who think that things can, and must, go back to pre-pandemic normal.

They are either misinformed or deluded.

Pro-business mainstream media are feeding the narrative that we who work must do so old school. Headlines in Wall Street Journal articles and op eds pound away at future of work value propositions. One CEO of a leading financial institution took to the WSJ to write, authoritatively, that whether you like it or not, you are returning to the office. And this weekend, a WSJ feature suggested that [we] miss the office gossip that can only be heard…in the office.

Public relations firms are busy pushing a retro work narrative.

And since many mainstream media lack the reporters to flesh out original stories, the media willingly take the PR bait.

If companies are more productive, and their people are happier, working either remotely or in a hybrid fashion, then why are these stories appearing? It is because change often means ceding control.

As an executive recruiter, I supported a lot of old school hiring managers. And typically, remote workers terrified them. One bellowed: “If I cannot see [Jim] at his desk, I don’t know if [he’s] working.” Despite all of the positive change around them, old school hiring managers hate change.

They will never change.

And maybe they are too lazy to pivot to workplace innovations that will make them, their teams, and their companies more competitive in the post-pandemic economy.

The fight against the future of work cannot be won.

That is because, the future of work is being real-time reimagined by all of us. And perhaps the biggest positive outcome from the pandemic is that many workforce professionals will choose to work where they want and when they want–from a co-location, from a remote or shared location, or in a hybrid workplace arrangement.

When that happens, our best days lie ahead.

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Image credits: 1950s boss and secretary, George Marks for iStock Photo; J. Brandt Studio for The Dan Smolen Experience.