Flex Summit is a Wrap! #Flex19
This week we hosted our inaugural Flex Summit, for leaders engaging in the future of flexible work! We kicked off the day, abuzz with excitement as speakers and attendees gathered at the Revere Hotel in Boston and sipped on selffee lattes and posted their insights to our “Your Best Work Wall.” Thank you to all the attendees and distinguished speakers for joining us! But, in case you missed it, here are some of the highlights from Flex Summit 2019.
We began discussions about the effects of flexible work around the world. Our Chief Marketing Officer Brian Kardon set the stage with three questions to keep in mind: “What will be the work of the future,” Who will do the work,” and “Where will the work be done?” Dr. Alaa Murabit, Ryan Merkley, and Michael Hopkins reminded us that adopting the latest technology to encourage flexibility in the workspace is not enough. Technology alone will not solve issues of inequality and inaccessibility or benefit companies without a value system based on cooperation and collaboration. Michael Hopkins summarized this best when he said, “technology is new but humans are old.” Even though the world is rapidly changing due to technology, human beings still need to collaborate and find a sense of belonging in order to be successful.
For our second set of speakers and panels, we took an in-depth look at the technology and policies that enable and support flexible work. We learned that creating infrastructure for workforce mobility is critical to the success of distributed teams. Enhanced physical mobility will become even easier through the latest iteration of wireless technology such as 5G or through the proliferation of robots such as Piaggio Fast Forward’s Gita. AI will help workers find professional mobility and achieve higher levels of productivity within their jobs by automating simple tasks. Finally, business leaders will retain the best of their workforce by giving employees the freedom to choose where to work and to recognize that the hardest step in adopting flexible work is to just start!
Culture & Collaboration
Our third set of speakers stressed that a flexible workplace must begin with a culture based on trust and collaboration. Teams should rely on distributed work technology such as video to connect with their colleagues. At the same time, companies should invest in identifying the best tools so that their employees can benefit from greater collaboration and not fall victim to faulty technology such as inadequate audio. Sophie Wade also taught us that empathy is and essential soft-skill for effective leaders and teams. Remember that teams are comprised of humans, so show greater empathy and invest in relationship building because teams who are based on trust and autonomy will reach their highest performing potential.
So where will we be in 20 years? Marcio Marcedo introduced us to Ava Robotics’ vision in making robotic technology truly accessible and commonplace for remote workers. Elizabeth Kiehner of IBM reminded us that we have the agency to create the work environments we need in the future, so we must encourage our industries to put the individual first, such as creating new roles like a Chief People Success Officer.
Overall, we learned that the future of work is human. Companies embracing human-centric practices, policies, or technological investments will reap the most return because they invested and focused on the individual.
Stay tuned for more takeaways from each Flex session and check out presentations and speaker videos here.