Managerial tasks will be automated: As managerial tasks become automated, the employee/manager relationships will be strengthened. Automation will cause employers to re-evaluate the quantity and quality of managers and their roles. Instead of managing tasks, managers will shift to manage employee experiences. I’ve grown closer relationships with every employee on my team since I have automations taking care of my usual administrative tasks.
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 Paul Mikhaylenko.
Paul Mikhaylenko, CEO and Founder of Bloom.io, the suite of management tools believes technology has finally matured to give back to creative business owners and freelancers. They deserve technology that helps them get back to their art and earn more money. Entrepreneurial Tech platforms like Bloom.io enable new markets to be developed and new wealth to be born. The future of work is more exciting than ever with tech advancements, and a management software is exactly what gives employers and employees more freedom to manage their work and build healthier relationships.
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 identified as a creative at heart with the mind of an entrepreneur. I have always been enticed by music theory, so I went to Masters University and graduated with a Bachelors in vocal performance. I have since pursued music as a producer in my free time, and I found that monetizing music was not something I was passionate about.
However, I was very inclined to start a business that would revolutionize the way creatives make a living. I noticed that a lot of musicians around me wanted to go full-time in their creative pursuits, but lacked the tools to do so. Many of my friends had exceptional talent, yet did not know how to manage leads or projects. This drove me to a boiling point, and I was sure I had found one of my true callings — to give creatives the tools to succeed in business. Bloom.io was born, and my music led me to something greater than I could have ever imagined for myself.
In September 2015, one of my best friends offered me the position of a lifetime, and with full funding from angel investors, we started building a software company that would guide freelancers to monetize their pursuits by having all administrative tools in one place. We wanted to make business and administrative tasks as simple as possible, so we built the software with creatives in mind. As someone that was heavily involved with the creative community, I heard the many complaints of my fellow freelancers. They were constantly saying they were “starving artists,” instead of business owners. This was really the fuel that propelled me to build the management tool that would put that starving artist mentality out of business. So, I hired developers, software engineers, and designers. I put all of my time, resources, and energy into this product. Bloom.io has been on quite the journey, and as a startup has faced the challenges of surviving through the pandemic. As a platform for photographers, graphic designers, consultants, and more, our team works hand in hand with these business folks. If their business stops, so does ours. If they succeed, we succeed. We sincerely empathized with our users by not charging them during the peak months of the pandemic. Since then, we have witnessed some of the user’s businesses skyrocket. We have a Brooklyn couple that owns a photography agency that has increased their bookings to 150+ a year with a team of ten photographers. They manage all their workflows, employees, and bookings in Bloom. Creative business owners say that “Bloom management is the lifeblood of our business. Task managers, workflows, contracts, pricing, automation — it has it all.” Our team is a part of success stories for creatives, and that’s the lifeblood of Bloom.
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?
In 10–15 years, I am confident that the workforce will be more motivated to work for purpose and passion, not just money. The rise in entrepreneurs will be evident as they will create new jobs and ideas that make the overall quality of life more efficient.As technology increases productivity, costs of production fall, which means that a worker’s income has more purchasing power. Entrepreneurial Tech platforms like Bloom enable new markets to be developed and new wealth to be created.In the fast growing market of creative entrepreneurs, the future of an economy could very well be determined by how successful new entrepreneurs will be. The 9 to 5, 40/hr work weeks may become history as the next generation discovers the power of tools they will have access to.
What advice would you offer to employers who want to future-proof their organizations?
The best advice to employers wanting to future-proof their organizations is this: “don’t fight the current, ride the wave.” It’s inevitable that the future of work is changing fast, and if employers aren’t willing to change with the digital current, their organizations may drown. These are the two pieces of advice I’d strongly advise employers to adopt moving forward.
1.Be open-minded: old school ways of operating an organization may work, but are they the most efficient? I would challenge employers to invite new ideas and to always stay teachable. If there are better alternatives to running an organization, be open to trying.
2. Go digital: This one is a given, but many employers are comfortable with what they know and may be intimidated to go digital in their businesses. By fighting the digital current, employers may exhaust their resources and fall behind digital trends instead of staying ahead of them.
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?
Employers may be willing to offer employees more work-life balance by giving them reduced hours, more work-from-home options, and greater benefits in the organization. However, I believe employees will want more than that — they want to feel valued, purpose-driven, and hope that their passions outside of work can be attainable. To reconcile the gap of under-appreciation, the strategy that will work is offering extra support and flexibility for employees to feel like their time and energy is well spent at the organization. This can be done by fostering healthy employer-employee relationships, offering generous bonus incentives, and allowing employees to feel trusted and free to manage themselves to an extent.
We simultaneously joined a global experiment together last year called “Working From Home.” How will this experience influence the future of work?
With the online revolution and millions working remotely, the need for modern platforms and tools that streamline admin work and team communication is undeniable. The future of work will be more flexible, efficient and productive depending on the digital robust tools an organization chooses to use.
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?
It’s simple: society must praise work that is done with happiness and efficiency, and continue encouraging a safe space for everyone to be treated with respect and freedom. The more society upholds the new working revolution and encourages creative pursuits in business, the more work will become a word that has a good meaning to it.
What is your greatest source of optimism about the future of work?
The tech revolution and the tools we have access to now is absolutely amazing. I have hope that the word “work” will have an exciting ring to it as it won’t be a jail cell of unproductivity. To open a laptop with joy on a Monday won’t feel like a drag. The 8 hour work day will be squandered as employees will work smarter, not longer. Work-life balance will be restored as the standard for 40 hrs/week, 8 hours a day will be shifted as technology takes on the load humans have been carrying for centuries.
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 well-being is vital to avoid burnout and high turnover in organizations. Employers must meet employees in the middle — not sacrificing the mental health of their employees for productivity. Giving employees positive recognition, more flexibility with their working hours, and access to mental health services is key. Employers must prioritize checking in with employees frequently and refer them to trusted therapists and outside help if needed. The bottom line is, employers must actually care about their employees mental health by having readily available resources for them.
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?
The greatest message from “The Great Resignation” is that employees are human beings that want to be treated as so. Employers must treat employees how they are treated, with the utmost respect, dignity, and understanding. Employees are not money making machines, they are people with motives, feelings, aspirations, and goals of their own. When company cultures shift from “make more money for us,” to “we want you to make money to fund your passions, dreams, and a life worth living,” we will see employees hungry to work. When employers encourage creativity, freedom of expression, and a greater purpose for work, employees may actually feel like “work” is their privilege, not an obligation to another person.
Let’s get more specific. What are your “Top 5 Trends To Track In the Future of Work?”
- Employees have more bargaining power: as the labor shortage continues, employers are willing to level with employees desiring a higher wage and more flexibility. Higher-skilled workers with technical skills have gained more autonomy and market power since they can work remotely. During Bloom’s hiring process, I was faced with more confident employees than ever. I had one content writer that was asking for a salary way over the budget I had planned to provide. However, I granted it to her because of her experience, confidence, and knowing that great talent is difficult to come by.
- Shorter work week: Instead of increasing wages, some employers will shorten the work week. Employers that reduce the hours employees need to work will compete with employers that offer a higher wage, but. no option for reduced hours. We may see more organizations with a 32-hour work week with the same compensation to win over educated workers. At Bloom, my employees have the option of working remotely, and as long as they drive conversions, I allow them to work whenever they please. I had an employee ask if they could take Fridays off for mental clarity and instead, work on Sunday. I saw no problem with that change as I trust that the work should be done when the employee feels most compelled to do it.
- Managerial tasks will be automated: As managerial tasks become automated, the employee/manager relationships will be strengthened. Automation will cause employers to re-evaluate the quantity and quality of managers and their roles. Instead of managing tasks, managers will shift to manage employee experiences. I’ve grown closer relationships with every employee on my team since I have automations taking care of my usual administrative tasks.
- Wellness will be a new metric: Employers previously focused on employee satisfaction or engagement. The new metric for understanding employees will be well being measures that capture the financial, mental, and physical health of their employees. More companies will adopt wellness support programs that will be a better prediction of employee retention and interaction. Last year, I had a content writer that would stop working around 2pm everyday. I would see her status go “offline” during regular business hours with no communication as to why. I respectfully asked her about this pattern, and she told me that her mental health was struggling heavily. I gave her a list of resources like therapists that the company strongly recommends, and I was able to persuade her to meet with a therapist. I saw that her behavior changed completely in the next 30 days. Not only was she more trustworthy of our relationship, she was performing better. This employee is still with me today, and had I not provided her those resources, I’m not sure she would still be.
- Employee turnover will increase: Hybrid and remote work has become the norm for knowledge workers and the flexibility of how, where, and when people work is something employers have to compete with. With a larger geographic area offered with remote work, employees have a larger pool of options, giving them more of a reason to “find the best fit” for them. I’ve had my fair share of hiring developers outside of the United States. As an employer, I benefit from having a larger pool of employees to choose from. Overall, this can be a good and bad thing. I do like to meet and connect with my employees in person, but I have found exceptional talent beyond my geographical area.
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?
My favorite quote of all time is this:”Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really: Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it, so go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember that’s where you will find success.”
— Thomas J. Watson
I have made plenty of mistakes over the years of building this software with a growing team of employees. I have seen my fair share of bumps in the road, but if I stopped at the first hurdle, I would have let the idea of failure steal from the success of others — and that is not something I could ever live with. In the grand scheme of things, I am creating something greater than myself, and it’s an honor to be part of a project like this. Everyday, I remind myself that I am already successful if even one creative person subscribes to our platform.
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 would be honored to have lunch with Gary Vee, the man, the myth, and the legend in my eyes. Yes, I would bring a scribe to our lunch because I want to remember every piece of advice that man has to share. I am mostly interested in meeting Gary because of our similar upbringing in background. We are both immigrants from Belarus and came to the states with our parents and faced tough times.
As the CEO of VaynerMedia, Chairman of VaynerX, and co-founder of VaynerSports, he is truly the king of actionable advice.
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?
Thank you for sharing your insights and predictions. We appreciate the gift of your time and wish you continued success and good health.