The Future Of Work Is About Flexibility, Autonomy, And Customization


Jacob Morgan, Contributor

September 23, 2015

The Future of Work is a big topic…too big. But that’s part of what makes it so fun to explore. The Future of Work is a global movement by employees, managers, and organizations around the world to change the way we think about and actually get work done. This means looking at technology, employee experience, HR, innovation, management, leadership and pretty much every other aspect of business. Everyone wants to know how the workplace is changing and how we will actually get work done in the next few years. Work is a big part of our lives, in fact it’s the biggest part of our lives! Although this topic can be quite daunting I like to use the acronym FAC to describe what I believe to be three big shifts that we are starting to see in the workplace.

Freedom and flexibility

This is starting to become the very minimal acceptable criteria that employees are looking for when deciding on which company to work for. While flexibility is not a standard yet, it’s something that every single organization I have spoken with is considering. In fact, I have yet to speak with a company (and I’ve spoken with many hundreds) that doesn’t have flexibility on their roadmap of things to implement. We are shifting away from work-life balance and towards work-life integration which means that our personal and professional lives are completely blurring. We bring our work lives home and our personal lives to work. As a result, flexible work environments allow employees to work when and where they want provided that they are able to get their jobs done and produce the same level of hight quality work. Companies such as Unilever, Cisco, Aetna, SAP, and many others all have aggressive programs designed to do just that.


Whether you have a full time job or work as a freelancer autonomy is not something that is going to be just a perk but an expectation. In fact, we can’t have flexibility without autonomy. Instead of having someone watching over your shoulder every few minutes to make sure you are working, employees are going to have to motivate and drive themselves to succeed. This is a common quality we see among entrepreneurs. Hierarchies are also gradually braking down as we see transparency and collaboration across the organization become more prevalent. Many predictions also state that in the next few years the freelance economy is going to continue to grow and companies like Cisco are already starting to experiment with giving employees more than one job within the organization. The only way to succeed in this type of a flexible and dynamic environment is for organizational to allow autonomy and for employees to be able to be autonomous.

Still, this doesn’t mean employees are completely cut off and are on there own, it means that managers and executives at organizations must shift from command and control to playing the role of a coach and mentor.

Customization and choice

As mentioned above, I believe we are moving towards a world where we won’t just be working for one company or in one department. Instead, we will work for multiple employers at the same time or perhaps for in multiple departments in the same company. Valve, the gaming company is a great example of this. At Valve, employees are able to pick the projects they work and once those are completed they move onto something they else they want to work on, in other words they have the choice to work on the things they care about and value. Just like we are able to customize the products we buy we will also be able to customize aspects of our jobs. Deloitte already has something in place that allows employees to select their workload, the pace at which they want to work, amount of travel, and the type of employees they want to be (individual contributor, leader, etc). These items can be turned up or down just like the volume on your iPhone. In the future this will be extended to the managers you want to work with, the projects and teams you want to be a part of, the function you want to serve within the company, the technology you use, and pretty much everything else you can think of.

Although the future of work is a massive topic I that think by focusing on these three key areas we can help make things a bit more manageable and comprehendible.

Jacob Morgan is a keynote speaker, author (most recently of The Future of Work), and futurist. To have Jacob speak at your event, to get access to his videos, podcasts and articles, or to subscribe to his newsletter you can visit TheFutureOrganization.

This article was written by Jacob Morgan from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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  • The Future Of Work Is About Flexibility, Autono... - 09/25/2015 02:03
    […] #futucustomization, future of work, Technology and Transformation, thought leadership  […]

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