Transplant employees -hiring employees from various parts of the country or allowing current employees to move out of state and retain their positions. I don’t have a personal story to share for this, but I believe this is going to be a commonality soon.

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 Mindie Barnett.

After ten years working as a television news reporter and anchor within the Philadelphia, and New York regions — among other cities — Mindie Barnett decided to use her knowledge and experience in the media to help propel businesses and position companies as thought-leaders. Barnett founded MB and Associates in 2003 and swiftly garnered a great deal of clients in a short amount of time. Mindie spearheads her public relations and social media firm, published author of “Intermission,” and “You Don’t Need to Be a B*tch to Be a Boss,” a keynote speaker, host of “The Race for the Ring” podcast and on-air contributor.

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?

Working for a horrific boss when I first left TV news. She led her company with fear, meanness and without care for anyone but herself. I vowed never to be like that when and if I ever owned a business and attempt every day to help the opposite.

Also, having amazing mentors throughout my life has been a blessing I always try to pay forward. Having professional support and guidance throughout my career — from a variety of incredible and talented people has enabled me to have the positive and giving mindset I maintain.

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

I predict the boss who leads with his own vision in mind. A boss who doesn’t respect employee boundaries and personal time will be obsolete. I also think we will see more emphasis on work-life balance from leadership. Lastly, in-office mental health support (therapists who will monthly, weekly, quarterly offer group therapy and one-on-one sessions in the workplace to ensure mental health wealth.

What do you predict will be different?

There will always be an emphasis on productivity and increasing the bottom line, but leadership will realize the impact and benefits of sometimes taking a slower pace in order to achieve even greater results.

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

Lead with empathy now and listen to your employees’ needs. You can’t meet all of them, that’s unrealistic but if you make an authentic and disconcerting effort, retaining talent will be the result.

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?

I think for those employers who will remain in the pre-pandemic mindset, they’re going to be seeing an ongoing turnover rate of talent. There is no real remedy unless you pay them wildly competitive salaries, but then you will never keep pace financially. Salaries need to make sense internally. The gap will only be closed with implementing more empathy and mentorship in leading a team.

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

Many saw the ability to be productive and have more control of their schedules with this model. It’s not conducive for every business, as lack of collaboration ultimately ensues but moderation on both work from home and in-office hours is a great remedy.

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?

Allowing employees some breathing room to come in late if they have a doctor’s appointment, adjust a few hours here and there and do a weekly work from home day (we have a small team but alternate weekly on a work from home day to enable everyone a flex day).

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

Research and reading about what it looks like as a future mental health professional.

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?

Mental health days, allowing midday breaks (which existed before but weren’t always utilized for fear of what a boss may think), I think the prior information I shared about offering mental health therapy in-office will be something we see in future workplaces.

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?

Empathy, empathy, empathy. See the workplace from their point-of-view. Ask for their input (and actually listen) and be open-minded, put biases aside and do all you can to work as a team, yourself included. That will not only make employees feel valued and heard but loyal and upbeat about the workplace culture.

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

  1. Zoom meetings instead of in-person. I think Zoom is a great technology and saves a great deal of travel time when a client meeting on the schedule but there is nothing like meeting in person and the overall connection that takes place when one is in the same room, eye-to-eye (literally) with the other person. Zoom isn’t going away but I foresee it falling by the wayside a bit as we get back to real life again.
  2. Mental Health Days — many companies do not officially offer this, but I suspect they’re on the horizon. They will serve as a day employees can become present and practice self-care without guilt or other responsibilities which often occur on weekends or holidays.
  3. Transplant employees -hiring employees from various parts of the country or allowing current employees to move out of state and retain their positions. I don’t have a personal story to share for this, but I believe this is going to be a commonality soon.
  4. More focus on skills in the future. That’s been my rule-of-thumb for quite some time, but I value skill over role at a company now more than ever and others will be following suit. Skill is very important to the efficiency and productivity and keeping the company lean and mean.
  5. Hybrid — this is something many companies implemented in 2021 and will continue into 2022 and beyond. The larger the company the more ability to offer this model. I also think less emphasis on fancy offices and impressive monthly office rent is going to be a thing of the past.

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?

“A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” — John A. Shedd

This is my FAVORITE quote of all-time. It emphasizes the need to create change, be brave enough to set sail and see where the sea leads you. You won’t grow, evolve, or expand if you don’t leave the harbor, even though it is safe.

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.

Rick Forman, Founder of Forman Mills (was a client and is a friend).

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: @mindiebarnett

Instagram: @mindie.barnett

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