Impact: A Look Back to Flex Summit
During our inaugural Flex Summit, we heard from distinguished thought leaders on their perspectives for the future of work. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing the insights and ideas we heard throughout the event. Stay tuned!
We began the day by taking a step back to consider the impact of distributed work trends and technology across the global enterprise.
Dr. Alaa Murabit, a physician and UN high-level commissioner on health employment and economic growth shared her thoughts on how remote work affects health and its impact on workforce disparity. For example, non fluency in the English language or lack of access to technology disqualifies over 60 percent of the world from flexible work. She also discussed how burnout can affect a flexible work culture where workers suffer from not having enough time to take care of their wellness and struggle to “turn off” work mode. But there are solutions to having healthy flexible work structures and finding balance -- the most paramount being responsive management. In addition to offering flexible work, organizations need to create an environment where people know they are being heard, feel valued, and are serving a purpose.
Ryan Merkley leads a 100 percent distributed workforce company at Creative Commons and describes his office as, “The two square feet between my face and my laptop.” He reminded us that organizations that offer flexibility must remember that their workers are comprised of humans and must adopt the mentality that, “If one person is remote, we’re all remote.” It is critical that distributed teams have strong managers who lead teams with a shared value set of cooperation, collaboration, and accountability. Ryan shared that location should not be an excuse for why teams find it challenging to develop personal connections with each other. Instead, he champions the idea that teams should have the time and flexibility to connect and bond in order to work together as a cohesive unit.
Michael Hopkins closed the Impact session by advising attendees to keep one thing in mind when adopting flexible work: The future is new but humans are old. As a co-founder of the Solo Project, Michael is a keen observer of changing labor trends and the fact that more workers are adopting a flexible and part-time work. While a large part of this is due to technology, humans still have basic needs in order to be successful; such as having structure, needing a sense of belonging and working together towards a shared goal. To remind us that while we’re part of a movement that will have tremendous impact, Michael stressed that humanity should always come first, and he left us with the words of Pulitzer Prize winner E.O. Wilson -- “ humans have paleolithic emotions, medieval institutions, and god-like technology.”
Click here for a recap of the entire day and stay tuned for a deeper dive into Flex’s second session, Infrastructure.