In this edition of Wundamail Voices, we catch up with Speaker, Writer, and Founder of technology and media consultancy Big Revolution, Martin SFP Bryant, to get his thoughts on the future of the work, and why employers have to be more flexible moving forward.
What do you think the future of work looks like post-crisis?
The future of work will involve many more employers being open to having staff that work from a flexible location — be that the office, home, or wherever they want to work. Many companies will still want everyone in the office, and some types or work will still require everyone to be physically present. But some forms of knowledge work will likely see flexible working as a huge benefit. Not only does it keep staff happy, workflows that centre around a distributed workforce also introduce the potential to hire staff around the world to work on the same team. That means companies can hire the best people wherever they are, rather than relying solely on the local employment market.
How should managers/leaders prepare?
Learn how to manage distributed teams. Successful management styles are very different to everyone being in an office together. There is an increasing amount of advice online about this, and lots you can learn from companies like GitLab and Automattic that have been operating remotely for a long time. GitLab's online 'Guide to All-Remote' is a good place to start for reading about the issues remote management introduces, and how to deal with them.
Do you think this is a step in the right direction and why?
As someone with his own company, I'm not looking for employment. But if I ever do decide to take that route again, I like the idea of being able to work for a much wider array of companies than in the past. And I'm not alone. There are lots of people with skill sets that would be a great fit for employers beyond their local area. So a world where employment is less tied to location would be an excellent outcome from this particularly grim period.
What tips do you have for restarting teams?
Everyone will be in a slightly different mental state, so listen to them and learn how you can best support them. Some will be ready to get back to work at full speed, others might still have children at home, and others might be very worried about working life in a world where Covid-19 is still rife. There is no 'wrong' way to feel in a situation none of use have gone through before.
Martin SFP Bryant is the founder of technology and media consultancy Big Revolution. He is also a speaker, writer, and educator in the fields of technology and media.