LOCATION OPTION During the pandemic, corporations proved they could operate virtually. Because of this a lot of respect was either earned or lost depending on what the company message was pre pandemic so now if companies want to continue, they need to keep the momentum and give employees the option to work from home if that’s what they want/need.

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 Tameka Anderson.

Tameka Anderson, America’s F.U.N. Coach is in the business of building healthy relationships. Whether parenting, dating, leadership or branding, she brings her unique style to helping others learn how to use their presence and personality to become an influential power. She’s been featured in Forbes, HuffPo, PopSugar, and many other international outlets.

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 grew up in foster care so I was privy to different cultural environments. Although it was very difficult, I must say it shaped me into the well-rounded woman I am today. It was the guardians who taught me how to increase my value by learning four instruments, mastering stage presence, and learning how to sell at a young age is why I believe I excel as an entrepreneur today. I also learned about the different types of relationships with others. Unfortunately, (or fortunately however you want to look at it) it would be many years later before I was savvy in fostering productive relationships however am sure we will get into that later.

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?

I’m not sure anything will remain the same. Let’s start there. The pandemic was an eye-opener to both the employee as well as employer because it taught us several things. The first thing it taught us is that we are capable of working from home and still getting the job done. Secondly, it taught us that our mental health has been compromised greatly in our work. Lastly, it taught us to value ourselves in a way that has forced employers to take notice. I heard a quote that says, ‘the future of the workforce will be predicated on the heart’ and I couldn’t agree more. In 10–15 years employment must look a lot differently if businesses want to stay in business. I predict that employees will no longer trade their time and talent for a company who will replace them at the drop of a dime. Employers must become more people focused in order to attract and maintain great talent and those companies who don’t will not be around for much longer.

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

Become what I’ve dubbed a V.I.P. Leader. Very Into People. Most employers who are into both the people they serve as well as the people who help them serve, they win. And big because as the song says, ‘people make the world go round.’

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?

What I’ve noticed about the shift in the workplace is that the employer who continues to be on the receiving end of the ‘labor shortage’ have become more angry and aggressive which is a huge indicator to the why behind them facing this crisis however they haven’t faced the critical response which is to use everything as a learning lesson. In my opinion, the biggest gap between what employers are willing to offer and what employees expect is mutual respect. Have you ever tried to earn a living on minimum wage? How is showing up to a job and earning an unlivable wage respectful? Now let’s swing the pendulum. Let’s say you have a company that pays you a handsome salary. They have the opportunity to work you longer hours for no extra pay. Is that respectful? Employees are no longer interested in merely earning a paycheck. They want to feel seen, heard, and valued because we all want that as humans. In order to close this gap, there is a strategy I like to offer called T.A.L.K.S. where employers can have open dialogue where they learn more about what their employees want and how they can provide it.

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

I believe it helps corporations to boost productivity only because there are tons of people are who considered ‘introverts’ and we thrive better when we have environments that will energize us. And often times that’s not around a bunch of other people. In the future, if corporations want to increase productivity it is paramount they adapt to a Working From Home model. The pandemic proved they can make that happen so employees now won’t allow employers to deceive them into believing they cannot accommodate them anymore.

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?

Employers need to take into consideration how their employee chooses to work. Either in-person, virtually or a hybrid of both.

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

I believe the workforce will become a better place to grow. I am optimistic that employers all around the world are learning from this and shifting in such a way that our world will become a better place as a result. That is what I believe.

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?

Doing three things, seeing, hearing, and showing their employees they are valued and matter in the workplace. Offering shorter work days, weeks and even 100% work from home will help improve mental health and wellbeing. When you feel better you produce better results.

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 smart companies will listen. What are employees demanding now? What do they want? Why are they leaving? What makes them stay? If companies will heed to the feedback then I believe the workplace can evolve into something we all can be proud of.

Let’s get more specific. What are your “Top 5 Trends To Track In the Future of Work?” (Please share a story or example for each.)

  1. P.E.O.P.L.E. FOCUSED Employees are no longer willing to not be considered. If companies want to not only be ahead of the game but have less turnover, companies need to think more win-win. A lot of corporations who are not people-focused will continue to feel the sting of labor shortage.
  2. LOCATION OPTION During the pandemic, corporations proved they could operate virtually. Because of this a lot of respect was either earned or lost depending on what the company message was pre pandemic so now if companies want to continue, they need to keep the momentum and give employees the option to work from home if that’s what they want/need.
  3. MENTAL HEALTH FOCUSED Another thing the pandemic highlighted was mental health. When the shut down happened, some employees got some much needed rest. And others had the opportunity to focus on their mental health in a way that the constant grind of working has never afforded. Once that rest and breath was taken there was no way some people wanted to ever go back to the way business and work was so now companies need to shift and quickly.
  4. FUTURE MINDED A lot of businesses were also born during the pandemic and this is another reason employers have seen a decline in labor. When others knew they could not only start a business that would afford them the opportunity to do something they are passionate about but also making more money while working less hours. I don’t think companies have factored this into their plans and that’s unfortunate. It would beneficial for companies to think about how they can help employees with a brighter future. They also need to consider how they can add more value to their employees by teaching transferrable skills.
  5. RESPECTABLE WAGES Let’s discuss respectable wages. Not to be confused with livable wages. Honestly livable wages aren’t even livable anymore. I believe employees who are feeling the labor shortage crisis are the ones who have benefitted the most from skating by paying their employees minimum wages. Employees are no longer interested in giving majority of their time and talent to organizations who don’t value them enough to pay them more than just the bare minimum. It clearly shows a lack of respect. Even if you feel a job doesn’t take much skill, why not invest in training your employees to level up their skills?

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 quotes always come from Maya Angelou, ‘people may forget what you said and even what you did however they will never forget how you made them feel’ and this has shaped my perspective on ensuring my intentions match my impact. When I walk in a room, I have an opportunity to make it better so checking in with myself before, during and after with the question, ‘how did I make others feel while I was there?’ That, to me is what being a leader is all about.

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.

Oh my goodness LeBron James has quickly become one of my favorite humans on the planet. His leadership of himself both on and off the court is inspiring. Although I am not an athlete, I do believe life is like a sport and just learning from his examples of how to honor people including himself, is something I would love to be remembered for.

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?

Connecting with me on IG @funbrandcoach is one of the best ways to stay current on what I am discovering as I post my 60 second “Love Notes” where I share how I’ve learned how to become a better leader to others by leading myself through love first.

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