Flexible work from home and hybrid working — we’ve already seen this adopted by companies with positive impact and so it’s easily going to continue.
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 Vikki Louise
Vikki is the UK’s leading Feminist Time, Productivity and Rest Coach, innovating outdated time management systems and tools that simply have left us overworked, busy and less productive. After graduating from the London School of Economics, she worked in finance, and tech, before founding her coaching company. She helps individuals and organizations solve their time problems, while achieving more, and hosts the top 1% “Feminist Time, Productivity & Rest podcast”, downloaded over 600,000 times.
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.
Sure, when I was 15 I was in school, and set to fail my exams when I was called in and told to get my act together or I would probably drop out. I didn’t even have enough notes from the school year to study so I spent weeks writing out everything in my friends books so I could revise, and worked late into the nights to study. And, it worked out, I didn’t just pass I got all A’s. This sounds good, I know, but I accidentally picked up the idea that if I want to succeed I should be willing to work long hours, sacrifice sleep, my health, and sanity. And then 15 years later I was hiking in Austin and I burst into tears, as a founder I loved my work and was working from purpose, but I felt like I was sacrificing my whole life for that purpose and it was unsustainable. So these two things massively impacted who I am today, how I help my clients, and how I choose to live.
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 think we have already taken massive strides in remote work, flexible work and these trends will continue to grow. I think we’ll continue to see the gig economy expand across different industries and even more AI advancement. I also think we will see a reduction in how we work, a rise in the minimum wage to support this, and an increase in job sharing. In so many ways we are still working in line with outdated decisions, such as the 40-hour work week. My prediction is in line with that of economist Keynes, we will see many more people working a 15 hour week. It;s something I already do and help my clients do, and without sacrificing revenue, but instead earning more because we work less.
What advice would you offer to employers who want to future-proof their organizations?
Be flexible, be transparent and step away from what I call “factory” decisions. If you want to attract, retain and support your workers, unadopt the outdated rules of work. This means allowing your people more flexibility, promoting time off, encouraging them to care for their health, encouraging creativity and risk and eliminating things like time tracking, or other methods used to watch over teams that leave them more stressed and less productive.
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 it really depends on industry, employer size and ease of adoption. Newer companies are coming out of the gate understanding that high salaries are no longer the way to attract and retain the best employees. It’s the older, larger organizations that will struggle to adapt. The best way for them to do so is to not try to change things at a company-wide level and instead allow teams and leadership more autonomy to make decisions that they know will work best for their teams and test them. It’s obvious that someone who works in creating ad copy is different to the person administering payroll. It’s obvious that how they best work is different. And it’s obvious that what motivates them is also different. Let these differences drive decisions instead of coming at it from a top-down one-size-fits-all approach.
We simultaneously joined a global experiment together last year called “Working From Home.” How will this experience influence the future of work?
The future of work is more remote, and with that greater work from home. Although the most common way this will be implemented is with a hybrid model There are still advantages to working without teams, if only relational, belonging, and aid even the loneliness epidemic. And, at the same time, Elon Musk just announced building a community for his employees to live and work together in Texas — it will be interesting to see the results of this with some people saying absolutely not they want the separation and others enjoying the idea of community living.
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?
Flexibility. I have said it before and I’ll say it again. The biggest lesson here is that we cannot make decisions for the future and guarantee that they will work out because part of life will always be unpredictable. I’m also happy to see we are finally moving in the right direction when it comes to parental leave (although it is still early days), but as women are the growing part of the workforce, we will continue to see shifts in this direction: from paternal and maternity leave to flexible work, shorter work weeks, and the end of the 8–7 pm playbook.
What is your greatest source of optimism about the future of work?
The pandemic made it very obvious that change is required and we have seen action taken already. And if there’s one thing history shows time and time again it’s that change creates more change. The future of work has finally factored in the fact that we are humans, not robots, and this will continue to be magnified with the development of AI and the rise of women at work.
Our collective mental health and well-being 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 well-being?
Of course, I think a huge shift needs to happen in our education and training around time, productivity, and rest. With the ability to touch so much with our fingertips thanks to technology, we are completely overwhelmed in our personal and work lives. We have to learn the art of doing less and achieving more. We have to learn how to take care of ourselves as a priority and know it truly benefits companies that are not realizing the expense of sickness, mental health days, and burnout.
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?
They can’t go wrong if they care about people. Your people are your productivity. Support them and not only will they achieve more, but they will also stay longer, and they will sell the best people into working for you. It really is a win-win-win.
Let’s get more specific. What are your “Top 5 Trends To Track In the Future of Work?”
- A 4 day work week, a recent test was done in the UK and out of thousands of companies. 91% said they would continue.
- Companies offering mental health support for their employees, and this being a driver of recruitment.
- Flexible work from home and hybrid working — we’ve already seen this adopted by companies with positive impact and so it’s easily going to continue.
- DEI is being brought to the forefront of the conversation, with companies investing beyond “ticking a box”.
- Technology and AI and how we integrate it to optimize performance, productivity, and employee longevity, creativity and happiness.
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 either win, or I learn” is my favorite quote and it changed everything for me as it made it safe to fail, and even valuable too. This allowed me to make bolder decisions faster and see them through which is no doubt how I was able to achieve more.
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.
Reshma Saujani, let’s talk about the future of women at work, and how we can best support parents. I love that she is an innovator and I’m sure we would have a powerful and expansive conversation about what’s possible.
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?
The first place would be to get my Stop Wasting Time Mini Training, it’s a time investment that pays off 10X, as well as my Instagram, @feministtimecoach, my podcast, the Feminist Time, Productivity & Rest podcast
Thank you for sharing your insights and predictions. We appreciate the gift of your time and wish you continued success and good health.