Workplace of the future
By Atip Muangsuwan
“If you want to possess the most effective communication, collaboration and transformational leadership skills, you’ll need to learn the coaching skill to become ‘leader as coach’. ‘Leader as coach’ will become a leader of ‘workplace of the future’.” – Coach Atip Muangsuwan
An organization leader client showed up with his interesting topic for a discussion right before our regular coaching session began. His topic of discussion was… “What does workplace of the future look like? And how can I be best prepared for it as a leader?”
Our thought-provoking discussion went on like the following dialogue.
Client: Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the workplace has changed its form and characteristics tremendously and rapidly like shifting from physical office to work-from-home and work-from-anywhere during the year 2020 until now and with some hybrid workplace going on until now as well.
And there have been some positive and negative impacts of this new type of workplace on my organization as well. So, it would be a great advantage if I can foresee the workplace of the future. To see what it would look like so that I can be best prepared ahead of time as a leader of organization. So, could you share your vision and insights of the workplace of the future?
Coach Atip: Yes, I could share with you about my vision of workplace of the future. I think there will be an integration of these 3 components; i.e. physical office, digital platform and human. There will still be physical offices existing. However, their sizes will be relatively small and compact. There won’t be huge or large office spaces like in the past. The workforce or employees whose job functions really require them to be there will be there. While the rest of the employees will work from home and work from anywhere such as co-working spaces, coffee shops, internet café, on the beaches, in the farms, in the nature, etc. They could work and collaborate with their teams thru their company’s proprietary digital platforms or virtual public platforms like Zoom meeting, Microsoft Teams, etc. Or even in the metaverse.
Client: I think the future trend is going in the direction just like what you described. What else do you envision?
Coach Atip: I envision that physical offices and their facilities would be ‘smart’ offices meaning that they’d be safe and secure workspace, seamless physical and digital integration, communication and collaboration-focused workspace.
Regarding digital platform, there will be unified communication and collaboration enabled devices, secure cloud-hosted applications, automated technical support and much more automation and AI (Artificial Intelligence) to replace human workforce in the job functions that are replaceable.
Client: I can see those are coming as well. I think the Covid-19 pandemic has been accelerating those processes to take place much more quickly. I foresee AI and automation resulting from digital transformation and big data integration would play a key role in the workplace of the future. What else do you foresee?
Coach Atip: For the human side, I believe there will still be an ongoing effect that’s called, “Quiet quitting job” as well as another effect that’s called, “The great resignation” continuing on and on in most organizations as long as employees’ needs have not been met. While on the employers’ side, there will be lay-offs taking place in parallel in order to keep the organizations lean, compact, most cost-effective and efficient.
With this challenging work environment, it will be very difficult and highly competitive for most organizations to find the right talents to join them and to retain those talents in the long run.
I foresee that most organizations and companies will seek outsourced workforce and talents and hire them on a project-by-project basis.
There will be a lot more freelancers, self-employed talents and solopreneurs in the future market or pool of workforce. One of the key reasons is particularly due to Gen-Z workers’ characteristics and lifestyle in that they want more freedom, flexibility and independent lifestyle.
So, I anticipate that the gig economy will be booming in the future of work. There will be many more gig workers for the workplace of the future.
Client: Just to clarify. What is a gig economy?
Coach Atip: A gig economy is a labor market that relies heavily on temporary and part-time positions filled by independent contractors and freelancers rather than full-time permanent employees.
The USA is well on its way to establishing a gig economy, and estimates show as much as one-third of the working population was already in some gig capacity as of 2021.
Experts expect this working number to rise, as these types of positions facilitate independent contracting work, with many of them not requiring freelancers to come into physical offices.
Gig workers are much more likely to be part-time workers and to work from home or from anywhere.
Client: I can see your point. I share your vision that a gig economy will play a key role in the workplace of the future for most organizations for sure.
With all the information you’re sharing with me, I was wondering what would be the critical skills of the future leaders? So, I can be best prepared as a future leader.
Coach Atip: I believe the critical skills of the future leaders are… effective communication and collaboration skills and another one is… transformational leadership skill.
Why I’m putting so much emphasis on these skills. This is because workplace of the future will require much more “human-centric” way of work.
Future organization leaders need to provide a better employees’ experience thru ‘human-touch’. They need to treat their employees in such a way of human-to-human. Not as employees, but as human.
Future leaders will need to accommodate the whole spectrum of their employees’ needs in the remuneration package like healthcare, both physical and mental well-being, personal aspirations, learning opportunities and career and personal growth. Because future employees will work for values, purpose and passion, not just for money and job title like in the past anymore!
If they want to survive and thrive, future organizations will need to become “enlightened organizations” which mean they exist to contribute and create values to the world, not just exist to make money and a return on investment (ROI) for their shareholders.
In the same fashion, future leaders will need to become “enlightened leaders” meaning that they have the right view of enlightened organizations and support the shared purpose, vision and mission to make this world a better place for the future generations.
Future employees would very much like to work with this kind of future leaders and organizations.
Client: I couldn’t agree with you more! And how can I possess those critical skills for future leaders?
Coach Atip: If you want to possess the most effective communication, collaboration and transformational leadership skills, you’ll need to learn the coaching skill to become ‘leader as coach’. ‘Leader as coach’ will become a leader of ‘workplace of the future’!
Client: ‘Leader as coach’. Wow! I will need to become one! So, I think I will need to learn the coaching skill from you. Because you’ve been coaching me so well all along. You’re such a great coach! I want to learn from you!
Coach Atip: Thank you so much. I’m trying to give my very best.
After my client and I completed our “Workplace of the future” discussion, we continued on with our coaching session as usual.
PS: If you’re interested in discussing or being coached on any leadership topics or you want to learn the coaching skill to become one of the future leaders, we can get in touch via my homepage @ Home – The Best Coach International (thebest-coach-international.com)
Empower you to succeed and live a more fulfilled life,
Advocate of ‘Coach-Facilitator-Mentor-Strategist-Diplomat’ skills and transformational leadership