What will be the “structures” for the future of work? The “corporation” that we inherited from the 20th century followed simple assuptions: all employees working on a full-time contractual basis; a strict professional role and respective job-grade, evolving over time; a specific workplace and a daily schedule; a hierarchical subordination to a supervisor. Changes in business models over the last 30 years have led to the breakdown of many of these realities – such as, for example, the emergence of outsourcing or experimental remote work project But nothing that pinched the central paradigm of the corporation.
In the future, this will no longer be the case. From the management of rigid structures we will move to the orchestration of work “ecosystems”. Systems with different segments – some full-time professionals, others in part-time, some working project-based, the gig-economy freelancers – with very different links; some people working mostly (or fully) remote, some in the office.
Three 3 driving forces that will enable (and scale up) this new reality. First, the assumed preferences of most people for flexibility, wellbeing and diversified career growth. Second, technological development, with a focus on better tools for individual autonomy and productivity (and remote collaboration) – in fact, the information and knowledge to create something, process information or make decisions is just a click or a touch screen away. Finally, the need for agility and rapid adaptability of organizations – some multinational companies are already deploying flexible programs addressing freelancers into more regular project-based colaborations.
Therefore, new leadership practices will be necessary (focusing on influence – without formal authority – and on the management of “communities”) and the inclusion of the diverse segments – internal and external – in the corporate culture. And a strong link between top management and HR, procurement and legal areas, in order to streamline organizational processes. And apply diversity and inclusion policies, in a practical way, to this new reality.
In short, I believe that the organizations of the future will be less closed structures and more open talent ecosystems. Ecosystems in which the orchestration of energy, talent and time from different groups will be the essential focus of People management.
Managing Partner of Darefy – Leadership & Change Builders