May 9, 2021 • 52M

The Future State Of Work

"Business owners have nowhere to hide anymore" 👨‍💼

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The Future State Podcast - Modern business & future trends explored by Nick Walter (CEO of XR startup Voritc) & Danny Denhard (founder of company strategy and company culture consultancy www.focus.business and newsletter mustreads.co.uk).
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The Future State Of Work 👩‍💻

The future of work has been a hot topic for the past five years, the call from many to be able to work from home was based on a perceived output and a limited amount of trust for remote work. Even when people had to WFH to get their heads down and GSD.

Pandemic Shift
The pandemic has proven this to be a big myth and now rightly there are calls to default to flexible work and flexible offices vs the 100 year old 9-5 in one HQ.

The pandemic also has shifted how many businesses operate and highlighted how slow some companies have been to change their old ways of working.

Management Issues
C-suite's have struggled to make the right decisions and it’s impacting how much trust there is within the business.
Middle management and micromanagers are facing a battle to default to in the office, not as hybrid as the feedback and surveys are suggesting from their teams. Managers who demand ‘line of sight management’ is still an issue almost 15 months after forced WFH.

To The Future
The future state of work is going to be led by a few but followed by many, even the big companies are struggling to keep staff engaged let alone happy.

This week Nick and I discuss: 

  • The future state of work

  • Why micromanagers are going to have to change

  • Why so many managers have been shown up

  • Why HR isn’t the right team to lead

  • Trust is a two way street

  • The impact of the new hire you need to make to be successful in the future - the culture community manager

  • Why hybrid is going to be a tougher choice for employees and businesses

  • The challenge for old school managers to change with the times

  • The investment required for businesses - the office as an arena is an important trend

  • Some future thinking hot takes that you will want to hear including company currencies, the importance of mental & physical health being equal & deliberate asynchronous communication over chat

  • & Why part time work + side hustles might be the choice for many

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Happily let us know what you think for the future state of work by hitting reply or by email.

Scroll below for the timeline of notes and helpful links of tools and must reads.
If you would like to read the full transcript it is available here.


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The Future State Of Work Timeline ⬇️

  • Intro 00:00:14 - The future of work means many things, with many possibilities, will top down leadership work & Will hybrid be the future?

  • Nick: 00:02:07 “The obvious point that the workplace has been in need of evolution. For some time, it was a classic stuck in mindset, we're set up we're conditioned”

  • Danny 00:07:58 So I fit in a blended environment is something that is going to have to evolve. I think talking to, and listening to a lot of different things and talking to different people.

    • Salesforce’s approach was that's pulse survey everyone.

    • The first one was only 23% wanted to return to the office
      It then jumped up to 72% of people did, but only one in a two to three days per week.

    • Google changing their mind constantly

  • Nick [00:11:07] raises the impact of being a parent

    • Danny Raises The importance of changing the 9-5 to more shifts patterns

  • Nick [00:12:13] Answers how he and his company are tackling the new world of work

    • Nick’s Quote of the Week “I think there's no reason now that I think, business owners have nowhere to hide anymore. It used to be the typical why I've asked to work from home, but the old excuse of we're not set up to do that”

  • Danny [00:19:19] “I'm a hundred percent behind you with hybrid. I think it is a buzzword and a trend is something that's emerged. And I think it's something that's going to be hugely important for companies to make the right decision where hybrid works. When hybrid works is when there's like the right dynamics that are set, sort of principles are set to enable success. So how am I set up to succeed within this business? And that's the question that no company ever asks or answers
    A. when you join
    B. when you ever view
    C. when you do an exit interview. So there isn't an ever, it's never really deliberate from, for a lot of companies to tell people how to be successful. And that's really important from a hybrid world.”

    • “but I do predict that some people will get worse because they're used to write in text message format, they used to write in an instant. Instant messengers and it's a chatification of work” People have started to be very informal and they haven't really thought out the idea what enough to articulate it. And that's going to take some management. I actually think it's for hybrid to work properly. You need two key hires. I think you need a culture community manager, and it's something I've been singing about for years.

    • Danny Quote “It's someone who sits there and their sole purpose, their sole job is to ensure people are A. Happier, B. Communicating better. C., being the trust factor between HR and senior management or the team, the manager, HR, and then the executive, because that's the most important factor for most businesses is they don't actually trust HR. And that's going to be, that's going to increase because you're not going to get as much time. Typically you don't speak to HR unless you've got a problem. Or you're getting a promotion. That doesn't necessarily have to change. But I think that's where the culture community manager is going to be so important.”

  • Danny predicts - “I think the first thing that will happen and it might be a few years time is, is every company has their own coin. Which is built on the blockchain, which essentially will be like a Bitcoin or whatever, but have been internal coin that people will use. And it would be based on blockchain. And it would be like a currency that you can spend within a business.”

  • Nick [00:27:06] “Yeah. It blew my mind with a couple of those, especially the health and wellbeing in the office with some visits and supplements and things like that.” But I think you're right. This is the thing, I think these are all the things that we need to think about, especially like that. There's so much to unpack in here.

    • They ignored these things and thought, look, we're saving a ton of money on the office. But they haven't really said here's two grand a person go through your booze, get yourself a nice desk, nice chair, whatever equipment you need. Which is something that is needed for a lot of people.

    • People are like sitting with a tray on their lap, on a sofa, or on the floor or, you we've got the backgrounds to zoom because people aren't necessarily happy to share their homes and things. So there's a lot of things that, that bring in new considerations and new elements.

    • And I think they're things that have what happens if you give someone a two grand spending allowance for equipment and they leave the company. Let you take the equipment back. Does then that law, that what used to be the old laptop that gets wiped and transferred to the new employee, does that now become a desk, a chair, screens, a microphone, like how does all that work?

    • “I think the days of everybody just walks in comes in around nine, sits at that desk logs on to their computer. Like it feels like in a lot of industries not, call centers and things like that, but where that will be more of the norm, but they still need to evolve, but there will be an evolution like outdoor space might become more important offices”

    • Nick Questions 4 hours commute per day “I know one guy who lives out in Essex and he used to work in Hammersmith and the commutes to about two hours each way. I'm like, how's that good for anyone or like or anything?”

    • Nick also suggests what a good place WeWork are in “And I think, like obviously office space providers, the big ones, like the, WeWork's and others, I think they have a real opportunity here. Especially someone like WeWork. Who've been for a rough time. They have a real opportunity here to start leading in this landscape to start changing the makeup of their offices. Now, whether that works on a business model basis, because, it's everything is bums on seats. And, but if that is not going to be the way it works anymore, how do these workspaces that really, revolutionized office, what it meant?”

  • Danny  [00:35:38] One of the services I offer, and these are the tips I give out to people to redesign your office is like my environmental hackers, I call it is a lot of people have my desk.

    • “This is my desk, this and my people. You're still gonna need that, but you're probably gonna need less of them. So it's booking book out. There's a lot. I always tell people to build a library, so places where people go in as library rules, So you can go and work where it's completely quiet and you're not going to get interrupted.

    • And I think that's really important a for deep work, but also be for people who are ambiverts or introverts to go away and get their energy and deliver and get a feeling to deliver from there. And then I would say there's an area for breakout and collaborative spaces, big boards, big space bigger desks, but less desks and more comfortable seats. And that's where the extroverts can live and breathe in and do a lot of their work.”

    • Danny suggests the office is an arena. It's where you go to due to performance.

  • 🔥 The Future State Of Work Hot Takes 🔥

    • Nick’s [00:40:16]

      • Hybrid working - striking that balance between work from home and office time & being flexible enough

      • Local Community hubs where people can just drop in and out of unused or coffee shops or those kinds of remote work or digital nomad style locations where people could actually not have to commute an hour into the office

      • Allowance based credit from business

      • Evolution of company culture & Introduction of health clubs

      • Recruitment: New hubs around the country of great talent

    • Danny’s [00:45:58]

      • New local hubs like Manchester (like Austin, Miami in the 🇺🇸) etc, Birmingham Edinburgh, Glasgow in 🇬🇧

      • Hard decision from businesses to be a set type of company with set culture, businesses deliberately top-down and are going to stay that way and probably double down & enforce that even harder. But also the value exchange is on the CV or the resume is that you get to work at this big company.

      • Danny’s take on hybrid and why it varies

      • Danny’s prediction and importance of a culture community manager, and probably a project manager

      • Introduction of freelance armies

      • Work part-time but have side hustles aka lifestyle first career, not career first lifestyle.

      • Have to be flexible for the next nine to 12 months. I think we're going to see some people rush back to your first others just won't.

      • Companies investing into Pelotons that builds community

      • More coaches and more mentors then managers

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Helpful Ways To Think


Supporting Podcast Links

New tools to improve hybrid 

  • around.co - campfire video tool with integrated notes that send after the meeting and is floating head based so can work and conference call at the same time 

  • Butter.us - a way to ideate, brainstorm or present in a better way 

  • gatheround.com - better way to bring people together based on Q&A

Company Culture Links

Basecamp Issues


What Is The Podcast? The Future State - Modern business & future trends explored by Nick Walter & Danny Denhard.