… As an entrepreneur myself, I believe that just because you’re an employee shouldn’t mean that you don’t work on making your own dreams a reality. Remote and flexible schedules will open up more free time for individuals to solve problems and create things.

When it comes to designing the future of work, one size fits none. Discovering success isn’t about a hybrid model or offering remote work options. Individuals and organizations are looking for more freedom. The freedom to choose the work model that makes the most sense. The freedom to choose their own values. And the freedom to pursue what matters most. We reached out to successful leaders and thought leaders across all industries to glean their insights and predictions about how to create a future that works.

As a part of our interview series called “How Employers and Employees are Reworking Work Together,” we had the pleasure to interview Cesar Cruz.

Cesar Cruz is an American fashion designer and entrepreneur. He is the co-founder of Sebastian Cruz Couture, a Direct-to-Consumer eCommerce luxury menswear brand regarded for its unique, bold fashion. Cruz is also an expert in social media management and has built an extensive online network to provide immediate exposure for his brand.

Thank you for making time to visit with us about the topic of our time. Our readers would like to get to know you a bit better. Can you please tell us about one or two life experiences that most shaped who you are today.

I started from humble beginnings and that’s why I wake up everyday feeling grateful for what I have. Before all of our success with Sebastian Cruz Couture, I remember purchasing and returning suits at Neiman Marcus Last Call in order to put together looks with our pocket squares. Fast forward to today and we are a complete ‘head to toe’ brand, with loyal customers and a fast growing social media presence.

Let’s zoom out. What do you predict will be the same about work, the workforce and the workplace 10–15 years from now? What do you predict will be different?

The workforce will continue to demand flexible work schedules and creative control from their employers. Because of this, companies will implement unique strategic benefits to distinguish themselves from other employers.

What advice would you offer to employers who want to future-proof their organizations?

It’s too late to consider employee retention after your top performers have already moved on. Regularly engage with your employees, host stay interviews, offer promotions, and recognize achievement.

What do you predict will be the biggest gaps between what employers are willing to offer and what employees expect as we move forward? And what strategies would you offer about how to reconcile those gaps?

Businesses focusing on attracting top talent will need to offer more creative control to their employees. For example, most large organizations have a chain of higherups that employees must answer to regarding project feedback and approval. Workers are ditching micro-management and instead opting for creative responsibility and control over their work. Create a workflow that requires less pre-approval and more growth.

We simultaneously joined a global experiment together last year called “Working From Home.” How will this experience influence the future of work?

Following the pandemic, most seasoned working professionals prefer a hybrid or fully remote approach to work. Employers will need to appease these preferences or settle for a smaller talent pool.

We’ve all read the headlines about how the pandemic reshaped the workforce. What societal changes do you foresee as necessary to support a future of work that works for everyone?

I see a future that prioritizes employee mental health over profits. Individuals will have more flexibility to do the things that make them happy, resulting in a healthier society.

What is your greatest source of optimism about the future of work?

As an entrepreneur myself, I believe that just because you’re an employee shouldn’t mean that you don’t work on making your own dreams a reality. Remote and flexible schedules will open up more free time for individuals to solve problems and create things.

Our collective mental health and wellbeing are now considered collateral as we consider the future of work. What innovative strategies do you see employers offering to help improve and optimize their employee’s mental health and wellbeing?

I could see employers continuing to offer flexible work environments to support their employees and incorporating team discussions about mental health and wellness into regular company programming.

It seems like there’s a new headline every day. ‘The Great Resignation’. ‘The Great Reconfiguration’. And now the ‘Great Reevaluation’. What are the most important messages leaders need to hear from these headlines? How do company cultures need to evolve?

Your employees keep your business running — listen to them, act on their feedback, and nurture these relationships. Dial into your team the same way you dial into your consumers.

Let’s get more specific. What are your “Top 5 Trends To Track In the Future of Work?”

  1. Workflow — How technology is adopted to make working easier. For example, will there be a new Slack-like communication tool?
  2. Creative Control — Will employees receive more creative freedom over projects? Leaders will need to respond to this to retain their best employees.
  3. PTO Trends — Some companies advertise unlimited PTO, yet their employees can’t use it because of demanding tasks.
  4. How Companies Market Their Benefits to Candidates — How will big business bend to candidates’ stipulations of flexible work schedules and strict boundary setting? Small businesses often follow in their lead.
  5. Trauma-informed Working Environment — How will companies integrate mental health into their value systems?

I keep quotes on my desk and on scraps of paper to stay inspired. What’s your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? And how has this quote shaped your perspective?

The entrepreneurial road is never easy. On my journey to becoming a fashion designer, there were points in time when I wondered if I would ever see my hard work pay off. But those moments are learning lessons, and you never know when you’re just one lesson away from your big break.

Our readers often like to continue the conversation with our featured interviewees. How can they best connect with you and stay current on what you’re discovering?

The best way to stay in the loop with new designs and business updates is to follow us on Instagram at @sebastiancruzcouture. You can also visit our website, https://www.sebastiancruzcouture.com

Thank you for sharing your insights and predictions. We appreciate the gift of your time and wish you continued success and good health.

Thank you for the opportunity! It was my pleasure.