Flexibility: Employers will provide more remote and hybrid work options.

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 Scott Rosenbluth.

Scott Rosenbluth is CEO of Craze, a full-stack marketing management firm that equips small businesses with an internal marketing team at a fraction of the cost. Rosenbluth has worked with clients such as Nike Sports Camps, Lox Club, SAYSO, ActivePro Rehab Partners and Live Nation. He’s helping startups and small businesses launch, scale, and execute their growth marketing plans. Craze has grown exponentially year over year and is currently laser focused on helping small businesses rebuild and restructure from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Thank you for making time to visit with us about the topic of our time. 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?

If anyone says they know what 10 to 15 years out is going to look like, be sceptical because no one knows exactly what the future holds. It’s hard because at least in my mind, the trends that we’re seeing point towards an employee market and that shouldn’t come as a surprise. Subsequently, employers are really having to account more for a remote and hybrid work model where employees can pick and choose when they want to be in a physical office.

Employers that aren’t willing to do that will simply lose more employees to other organizations that are offering this flexibility. It’s particularly challenging for small businesses and startups who, pre-pandemic, relied heavily on in-person team interactions to do their best work. Remote work makes things a lot more challenging by having an added layer of complexity in coordinating a variety of factors that would otherwise take a fraction of the time to complete.

With the uncertainty brought on by COVID-19, more people will be working in an office about three days a week and from home the rest. At Craze, we don’t mandate a set number of days workers need to be in the office, rather we ask our employees what they want. So far the feedback across the board is that everyone’s looking for someplace outside of their home to go and work. We’re also extra flexible around periods of time where everyone’s at home for the holidays or traveling during the summer.

So I think in a lot of ways right now the employees are calling the shots and that’s not a bad thing. However, employers need to be diligent about hiring employees all the more carefully to make sure the people they’re bringing into their organization can thrive in an environment where they are working remotely and don’t need to be so closely monitored.

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

In order to future-proof an organization in this climate employers need to prioritize enabling better remote work. Specifically, employers need to provide the best of both worlds to employees. That means remote opportunities for those who want it and hybrid opportunities for those that feel that they need that time in person. It also means stepping up accountability for improving work processes on a consistent cadence from both the hiring and managing sides.

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?

The big gap that concerns me the most is can employers keep up with employee demands and compete with the well-funded startups when it comes to offering perks and benefits? With employee compensation rates increasing across industries, it’s becoming harder for businesses to even afford the workers or office spaces necessary for healthy organizational growth. Employees now expect a hybrid option because work-life balance is so critical. It’s all about just finding that great middle ground that will attract and keep talent for the long haul.

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?

Increased flexibility is the overarching societal change we’re seeing now. Employers — by force, in many ways — have had to really consider their options here when it comes to how and where work gets done and I don’t think that is going away. When employees aren’t getting their needs met from employers, there is no longer hesitation to seek out other employment options.

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

Increased remote-work flexibility has opened up a broader talent market of qualified individuals that are eager to gain employment. This isn’t only for full-time positions. A lot of people, because of their flexibility working from home, are taking on multiple gigs. Many are willing to structure their work weeks in different ways than they were before. I think that only leads to stronger business outcomes no matter the size of the organization.

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?

To prevent burnout, employers need to prioritize offering wellness benefits and workspace options to employees. We encourage mental health breaks and realize that it’s challenging for everybody to work from home, to be in this environment, and to have questions about the future. That’s why it’s important to provide the best support possible.

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 most important message employers need to hear is, “Listen to your employees!” It may sound obvious, but I’ve always found that to be the best leadership strategy. Genuinely try to understand from them what they love about the current arrangement, the areas where they’re happy, and the areas where they’re not. Feedback is so important but often overlooked in organizations. The more employees are included in decision-making processes, the more ownership they’ll feel over their responsibilities.

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

  1. Flexibility: Employers will provide more remote and hybrid work options.
  2. Increased transparency: Employees will have better opportunities to provide constructive feedback to leadership.
  3. Hungry talent: Remote-first working options will open up opportunities for a larger and more competitive talent pool.
  4. Higher compensation: In order to retain talent, employers will offer salaries that are above market rate to new hires.
  5. Prioritization of wellness: Employers will be increasingly responsible for the mental and physical well-being of employees.

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?

I was at a conference a long time ago where I heard one of the main speakers talk about all these owl pictures that he kept in his office and around his desk, which to him was a reminder that the answer to so many of his problems and questions ended up being “Who?”. “Who is going to fix these problems? Who is going to handle all of this work? Who is going to help us raise our revenue? Who is going to keep a pulse on the happiness of the staff?”. This really resonates with me today more than ever and I keep an owl on my desk as a reminder that “Who?” is usually the answer to my question.

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Craze Insights

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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.