Signs of Working Forward

Adaptive workplaces and approaches to work are becoming the rule, not the exception

We’re seeing signs of what David Bowie sang, “Cha, cha, changes.Recent news out of REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc.) is just the latest illustration of Work Forward principles in action. Facing pressure from COVID-related factors, REI’s decision to change direction on its new HQ site is part of a large pattern towards new ways of working that has been emerging for some time and is being accelerated by current events. REI isn’t alone in evolving it’s working practices, Twitter, Facebook, Square, and others have all made headlines in recent months for announcing fundamental changes to the way they will work going forward, including permanent remote work options. As noted in the REI article, “Many companies say they have been surprised by how productive remote work has been, and they plan to allow their employees to work from home on some days even after the pandemic is over.

The article about REI noted above, and other recent articles like it, are demonstrating that the traditional concepts of “where,” “how,” and even “when,” of work are increasingly becoming constricting, unnecessary, outdated, and inefficient in terms of meeting the demands and opportunities we face in 2020 and beyond. REI CEO, Eric Artz, affirmed this fact, saying, 

The dramatic events of 2020 have challenged us to re-examine and rethink every aspect of our business and many of the assumptions of the past. That includes where and how we work…. [We thought] for us to be able to collaborate effectively, we need to be in a single location. The company learned that collaboration works fine even if everyone is in their living rooms.”

We believe this trend is pointing towards an exciting new future where adaptive workplaces and approaches to work become the rule, not the exception. With an adaptive approach, organizations will be able to adapt quickly and adjust the where, how, and when of work to fit the needs of the organization and the constantly changing variables in the global business environment.

This fervent belief is why we helped launch Work Forward. To help move us along this path and grow the movement, we will be hosting the second Work Forward Summit remotely this fall. 

Get involved at Work Forward.co to learn more and stay informed about the details on how we will continue to evolve our ways of working.


Parker Lee

Parker Lee

Parker Lee is the managing partner of Territory, a design consultancy, who has developed and led teams in transformation, design thinking, and business development for decades. Co-author of The Art of Opportunity, he has created and facilitated dozens of design and visual thinking engagements.


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