The ways we work

Thursday, October 3, 2019

We all know that business can be conducted in more productive, fulfilling, and effective ways, but the pace of change can make it difficult to understand how. The world continues to shift around us, and that change should continue to drive us to discover new ways of working. Sometimes in order to look forward, we need first look back. Quickly mapping what already has changed might inspire us to move boldly into the future of work.

Let’s paint a picture: you walk into your office and clock in, right on time. Your backpack weighs heavily on your arm as you wander through a seemingly never-ending maze of cubicles to your desk. Once you arrive, you drop your backpack and relax into your semi-uncomfortable office chair, swiveling towards your workspace. Before you can blink, your manager swings by and throws a stack of paper at your desk, thanking you for your time. You sigh, pull out your pencil, and get to work.

Doesn’t this picture feel dated to you? While most businesses have long since outgrown this mode of work, everyday work used to look this way. These days, it’s not uncommon for people to work remotely, from home, or at an office with an open floor plan with no cubicles. While the way people work seems to change every year, we wanted to take a peek at how work used to be. Below we’ve compiled a list of ways that people used to work that may seem wildly foreign today.

  1. You had to be at your desk to be available.
  2. Going to work meant clocking into your office building and heading to your cubicle.
  3. Paperwork meant actual paper.
  4. Communication was slower – no email, no group messages, and no cellphones.
  5. All conferences had to be conducted in person and presentations were created by hand – posters, booklets, and memos.

Reading through that list has us thankful for modern technology and the digital era. But as things continue to change and improve, how do companies stay ahead of new technology and new societal expectations? We know that today’s world of work is in a state of constant change. New tools, platforms, even business models are creating challenges for organizations to stay relevant and competitive, recruit and retain top talent, and drive higher productivity. For policymakers, business leaders, and workers themselves, these challenges create uncertainty, as well as opportunity.

It seems today that every company and consultancy has a point of view and usually suggest their singular solution or perspective as the path to success. At Territory, we’re committed to staying ahead of the curve and continuing the conversation regarding how we work together, in a more engaged and fulfilling way. Our assumption is that providing a broader “Work Forward” ecosystem perspective will offer companies the ability to see themselves in the picture and use it as a path for considering their “Work Forward” strategy.

In fact, we’re so passionate about this subject that we’ve planned an event, with our associates at MURAL, to initiate the conversation about this topic. The Work Forward Summit will gather a small group of companies whose collective experiences will be leveraged to create a vision of how the business of work can be better.

The Work Forward Summit will use a design sprint format to envision how the business of work can be better. We’ll explore the environment, people, equipment systems, and the culture needed to enable increased productivity, greater satisfaction,  better business outcomes. We will work iteratively from idea to visualization, as quickly as possible, by leveraging the power, insights, and interests of multiple, non-competitive companies.

The outputs from the Work Forward Summit will include:

  • A Work Forward vision and associated principles (a manifesto) that can be shared, presented and distributed
  • A MURAL board that contains all the background, resources used, activities, and outcomes of the session
  • A detailed case study to be given to all parties which outline the process, outcomes, contains photos and illustrations from the Summit
  • A downloadable activity that can be used by organizations to plan strategies for adoption of a Work Forward approach

We’ll share all of the Work Forward discussion and outputs in our next newsletter. Want to stay in the loop? Follow our hashtag #WorkForward on social media channels for regular updates. Stay tuned.

Written by Rachel Leong & Kylee Sanders

Kylee Sanders

Kylee is a marketing intern at Territory.

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