Ability to access international markets. No matter what field or industry you’re in, access to international markets has never been easier. High-speed internet and worldwide broadband now makes it possible to connect with people across the globe in a matter of minutes.

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 Matt Harris.

Matt Harris is the Managing Director at Bain Capital Ventures. Matt joined Bain Capital Ventures in 2012, to lead the NYC office and focus on business services companies, with a particular interest in financial services.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers like to get an idea of who you are and where you came from. Can you tell us a bit about your background? Where do you come from? What are the life experiences that most shaped your current self?

I started Coreprime as a small, one-man operation with only a handful of clients and dedicated myself to growing my business. Through focus, grind, and long hours, Coreprime has become one of the fastest-growing employee benefits advisory firms in the Western U.S. I’m Nevada-born with strong Nevada roots running through my family. I left Las Vegas to pursue a degree in International Relations from the University of Southern California, then extended my college career to earn an MBA from Loyola Marymount University.

Community is the backbone of Coreprime, and I’m very active in both the Southern Nevada and Southern California business communities. I currently serve on the Board of Directors of the UNLV Football Foundation and am an active member of the USC Alumni Club of Las Vegas, the USC Alumni Group of Orange County, the Northern Nevada USC Alumni Association, and the LMU MBA Alumni Association.

Fun fact about me: I played football at the collegiate level for both USC (2000–2001) and UNLV (2001–2003).

My hands are quite full at home with an amazing wife and four young daughters.

What do you expect to be the major disruptions for employers in the next 10–15 years? How should employers pivot to adapt to these disruptions?

The labor shift that we’re in the middle of is going to continue and accelerate. How employees are going to WANT to work will be key, and employers need to start listening and paying attention to what’s happening with today’s workforce. A hybrid/flexible work model is something employers will need to have dialed in. It’ll be critical to not only attracting but retaining great talent. Technology is also going to continue to disrupt all industries, and employers will need to constantly weigh how they can leverage technology to increase the efficiencies in their business.

The choice as to whether or not a young person should pursue a college degree was once a “no-brainer”. But with the existence of many high profile millionaires (and billionaires) who did not earn degrees, as well as the fact that many graduates are saddled with crushing student loan debt and unable to find jobs it has become a much more complex question. What advice would you give to young adults considering whether or not to go to college?

Personally, I believe college is incredibly valuable. What needs to shift is the mindset around what going to college actually means. Yes, it’s the time in a young person’s life to explore and learn and grow, but it should be a launch pad into the career path of their choice. My advice to someone on the fence about pursuing a college degree would be this: Focus these college years on getting ready to enter the workforce. Don’t just use this as a vacation. Pick a major that really interests you and then take as many part-time jobs or internships in that particular field to see if that’s actually what you want to do.

Despite the doom and gloom predictions, there are, and likely still will be, jobs available. How do you see job seekers having to change their approaches to finding not only employment, but employment that fits their talents and interests?

Job seekers should be looking at smaller companies and start-ups rather than the monster corporations. It’s never been easier to start a company, and smaller groups tend to attract employees with niche talents, unique interests, and skills to help them grow along with the company, especially in the early days. Young, up-and-coming companies are looking for the hungry talent to grow their organizations, and I see a lot of opportunities for employees in that space.

The statistics of artificial intelligence and automation eliminating millions of jobs, appears frightening to some. For example, Walmart aims to eliminate cashiers altogether and Dominos is instituting pizza delivery via driverless vehicles. How should people plan their careers such that they can hedge their bets against being replaced by automation or robots?

Find and choose industries that need human beings to operate. Our industry, for example is great for that. Healthcare is a very complex and personal industry. People who have questions or issues want to talk to another person to learn about their best options. People want that human connection, and I don’t see that going anywhere in creative and/or relationship-based industries.

Technological advances and pandemic restrictions hastened the move to working from home. Do you see this trend continuing? Why or why not?

Yes, I do see this work-from-home trend continuing and becoming the new standard. The flexible and hybrid models are what employees want, probably what they’ve always wanted and will continue to want. For ourselves and many businesses whom we represent, it’s worked very well and has increased productivity. However, I don’t see a full workplace shift into completely remote because, to be a team, you need a culture that keeps people together and connected on an in-person level. A common physical location — an actual business office, not a coffee shop — will be a constant.

What societal changes do you foresee as necessary to support the fundamental changes to work?

I foresee more and more businesses and business leaders realizing how much a positive work-life balance plays into overall employee success. The old adage is true: Happy people are productive people. Employers need to lean into putting an emphasis on striking that balance.

What changes do you think will be the most difficult for employers to accept? What changes do you think will be the most difficult for employees to accept?

I think the ones who are going to find difficulty in this new workforce world are the “old school” employers… the ones who can’t think outside-the-box or provide the flexibility so many employees are asking for. Those employers will ultimately struggle the most. The old model of a strict business attire dress code, punching the clock from 8 a.m. — 6 p.m., etc., just doesn’t work anymore.

On the flip side for employees, I think finding that internal work-life balance will take time. Personal and professional lives are intertwined now more than ever, so it’ll be a trial and error period for each individual to find that work-life balance. Many think remote work means working on vacation, and to me, that’s not balance. Employees need a sense a structure with real time ON and real time OFF.

The COVID-19 pandemic helped highlight the inadequate social safety net that many workers at all pay levels have. Is this something that you think should be addressed? In your opinion how should this be addressed?

We definitely need to have the social safety nets for the most vulnerable in our society. I think we can do that while at the same time prioritizing a culture of hard work and accountability. When people work hard and are invested in their jobs and communities, everyone wins. The satisfaction one gets from putting in ‘a hard day’s’ work earning the income and giving back to your community results in a more productive person.

Despite all that we have said earlier, what is your greatest source of optimism about the future of work?

Now more than ever, it’s getting easier and easier to start a company on your own, and this is going to have such a positive impact on our economy moving into the future. Becoming an entrepreneur isn’t as scary as it was in the past. And an entrepreneurial culture is a creative, exciting place filled with great opportunities not only for the founders, but also for employees.

Historically, major disruptions to the status quo in employment, particularly disruptions that result in fewer jobs, are temporary with new jobs replacing the jobs lost. Unfortunately, there has often been a gap between the job losses and the growth of new jobs. What do you think we can do to reduce the length of this gap?

We need to continue to support entrepreneurship and investing in up-and-coming companies with great ideas and great solutions. This is where you are going to see a lot of the job creation, as new companies sprout up in communities across the country. In my opinion, encouraging entrepreneurship is a great way to reduce the gap.

Okay, wonderful. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “Top 5 Trends To Watch In the Future of Work?”

  1. Hybrid/flexible work models will continue to become the new standard.
  2. Employees are now showing employers exactly how they want to work, and this shift in the work week has proven successful.
  3. Technology disruption.

With new, robust and affordable technology being developed constantly, it’s going to be easier to run and operate a company with fewer people.

Greater opportunities will be available for entrepreneurs and early-stage companies.

4. Ability to access international markets.

No matter what field or industry you’re in, access to international markets has never been easier. High-speed internet and worldwide broadband now makes it possible to connect with people across the globe in a matter of minutes.

5. Access to capital.

Today, there are so many more options to finance your business. Previously, if someone wanted to start a company, they would have had to go to the bank, pitch an idea, provide their financials, and cross their fingers. From institutional investors and venture capitalists to crowdfunding, there are simply more capital providers than any time in history. This greater access to capital, accompanied by the growing technology efficiencies, make today a great time to be an entrepreneur.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how this quote has shaped your perspective?

“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.” — Nelson Mandela. This is a great reminder not to pay attention to your fears or failures and instead focus on what you want and keep moving towards it.

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 or she might just see this if we tag them.

Lunch with Lorenzo Fertitta. Obviously an extremely successful entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist. He’s a local Las Vegan, like me, and I think what he’s done for this community and how he’s grown his business is extremely inspiring.

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