…Flexibility during the workday. Hybrid and remote work will become the norm. While it’s important that our team periodically comes together for in-person meetings and gatherings, we allow our team flexibility when it comes to working remotely and the hours they work, so that they can find a balance that works for them.

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 Julie Mino.

Julie Mino is the President and CEO of Visit Oxnard. Julie has spent the last 25 years of her career in the hospitality and non-profit sector. She has extensive training in Sociocracy practices and is a certified vinyasa yoga teacher and kundalini teacher. In her free time she enjoys cooking, hiking, biking and boating with her husband, Gary and Pyredoodle puppy, Kela.

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 have been fortunate enough to have some very strong and influential role models in my personal life and professional career. I’d say one of the most defining and emotional life experiences is when my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer at the age of 57 and given six months to live. It was a quick and easy decision for me to move back home and become his full-time caregiver, however I was leaving an organization, career, and city that I enjoyed immensely. My boss, co-workers and friends were extremely supportive in the process; they would check in often, keep me posted-on projects I was involved in and made me feel still “part of the team” even though I no longer worked there and had a new very full-time job at hand. My father ended up living for three years, all the time with me by his side, at every doctor’s appointment, and witnessing the ups and downs of such a terrible disease. All this to say, it has really shaped the person I am today and how I show up as a supervisor, co-worker, and friend to all of those on my team. Family first, always.

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?

There is a myriad of different things that might shape the workforce and workplace over the next 10–15 years. I think flexibility and the willingness to accept and adapt to change will be what makes one workplace stand out from another.

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

Technology is ever changing. Keeping up with these changes and deciphering what is going to potentially help or hinder your organization will play a big role in futureproofing. We, at Visit Oxnard, are constantly test-driving new methods in technology and really deciding what does and does not work for us, starting with small investments and deciding on how that should grow.

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?

A greater emphasis on employee well-being and how you can support your team with the everchanging climate of everything these days. Work-Life Balance is a must moving forward. Find areas that your organization can move into to better support the team. Maybe it is offering day-care, the option for remote work, gym memberships, etc. Allowing the team to have a say in the “perks” — what works for one person, might not for another, so staying away from blanket decisions and making things more personalized to the people you have working for you.

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

There are obviously jobs that need to be in-person functions, unless we allow robots to take over. For positions that can be done successfully on a remote basis, give your team the option to work from home or the office. Discuss with them what works best for their individual workstyle and for the organization. In Oxnard, we are fortunate to have epic weather year-round and a seven-mile stretch of pristine coastline, there is no reason why my team shouldn’t be able to enjoy that any day of the week, they can put the hours in when they need to and enjoy what they need to when they want to.

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 have had the opportunity to train in Sociocracy (aka Dynamic Governance) it is a system of governance which seeks to create psychologically safe environments and productive organizations. It is distinguished using consent in discussion and decision-making by people who have a shared objective or work process. Anyone / any position that will be affected by the outcome of an organization’s decision will be part of the decision making process. The involvement requires a bit more staffing time, but ultimately allows the team to have buy in and understanding of decisions that are made.

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

At the end of the day, most people want to be helpful, they want to be involved and they enjoy working for a place that aligns with who they are. Talents, skills, knowledge; it all needs to be shared and I do believe most people will continue to share what they have to offer.

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?

Rethinking that “work” is the job we have to go to to make money. Let work be something you are offering to others that allows you to add to your community or the greater good. What can each person on your team share, create and offer? How can we as businesses owners and managers support our team members’ unique differences? It’s important to allow them to bring their personal talents, skills and likes to the culture of the organization. Have a Yogi on the team? Maybe they can teach an afternoon yoga/stretch class. Have a Trivia whiz on the team? Have them start team meetings with a couple trivia questions. And again, thinking outside the box when it comes to mental health/wellbeing “perks” and shaping those offerings to each individual team member.

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

  1. Sociocracy / Dynamic Governance Processes.

One of the many Sociocracy practices the Visit Oxnard Team has implemented is the way we organize daily/weekly Team Meetings. Each meeting we rotate who on the team leads the meeting and who takes notes. This allows each team member to develop leadership and public speaking skills. The “leader” of the meeting is also responsible for keeping the meeting on track and timely. The meeting agendas are on a shared drive, and each team member takes responsibility and ownership of adding items to the agenda that need to be discussed or shared with the rest of the team. When a decision needs to be made that would affect another team member or department, the decision will be made and implemented amongst that group. This provides inclusivity and a sense of pride in the organization and the direction we are headed.

Sociocracy — basic concepts and principles — Sociocracy For All

The Sociocracy Consulting Group — Governance that Works — Responsive Effective Adaptive Thriving Organizations

2. Wellbeing will become central to the employees experience and satisfaction at a company.

As I mentioned before, we are fortunate enough to have perfect weather and beautiful beaches and open spaces in Oxnard, so I encourage our team to take breaks during the day to get outside and enjoy some fresh air. Take a break from sitting and plan a walking meeting outside instead of in the office, or plan an after-work outdoor fitness class.

3. Employee mental health will also be prioritized more than ever.

Piggybacking off the concept of physical wellness, mental wellness is also going to be an important focus moving forward. The pandemic was very isolating for some people, so it’s important to find ways to help the team connect and bond, whether it’s fun off-property picnics or dinners, or group paddleboarding classes in the harbor.

4. Flexibility during the workday.

Hybrid and remote work will become the norm. While it’s important that our team periodically comes together for in-person meetings and gatherings, we allow our team flexibility when it comes to working remotely and the hours they work, so that they can find a balance that works for them.

5. Perks for employee retention.

Hiring is getting more difficult as people have more options, so companies looking to attract talent will need to offer more perks. In addition to work hour flexibility, some companies are moving to a four-day workweek, or increasing PTO or holidays, for example.

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?

“Be yourself, everyone is already taken.” Everyone has their own style, personality, skillset — let them shine, let them mix things up. I welcome and encourage my team to think outside of the box — bring it all to the table and see what sticks!

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He, she, or they might just see this if we tag them.

I’ve gotta tell you that I am a big-time foodie. I follow a ton of farmers and chefs locally and around the world. I am inspired by how two percent of the population are farmers and they provide food for the rest of the population to eat. Farmers and chefs are driven, passionate and willing to adopt. They need to adopt to the seasons, to climate changes, to fads. They put up with a lot and stay resilient. Two of my inspirations happen to be dear friends: Tim Kilcoyne who is one of the best chefs I know, but more importantly the Director of Chef Operations at World Central Kitchen, providing meals in response to humanitarian, climate and community crises. And Mary Maranville, Founder and CEO of SEEAG (Students for Eco-Education & Agriculture) she has dedicated her personal passion into her life’s work connection children with the hands and lands that feed them. She educates local school children about the farm origins of food and to respect local growers, farmworkers, farmland, and the nutritious food on our tables.

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?

Linkedin: Julie Mino

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