Collaboration in 2012
In a recent article in The Economist by Lucy Kellaway, proposes that the future will be to revert to the past. According to her, 2012 will require that white collar workers will at least have to look serious. This means “In 2012 the following will be back in fashion: the landline, the jacket, the commute, the handshake and above all the office itself. Out of fashion will be the virtual office in which employees sit hunched over laptops in their local Starbucks, joined to their colleagues by webcam and e-mail. Instead, working life will start to resemble its old self before the internet was invented. Employees will turn up to work at predictable hours five days a week, face-to-face meetings will be preferred to video conferences; ideas will be exchanged not by tweet, but by the coffee machine.”
Lucy’s logic for this step backward is that “The repeated shocks to the world economy delivered over the past few years will bring in a culture of corporate risk aversion: the focus will be more on accountability than creativity.” Her vision of the office of the future (2012) will be rife with gossip and insecurity, where women willing to behave like traditional men and put their families second will find themselves quickly promoted while those that don’t may find themselves dropping out of the work force. All the while the only one cracking jokes will be the boss… and you better laugh!
Although there is no doubt this will be a valid prediction for many organizatons the fact is that the world is continually being “shocked” and those shocks will just come faster and faster until all you have is “shock.” It is either adapt or die. If history has taght us anything it is that collaboration and innovation are the game changers. Those companies in denial will pull back and try to avoid risk, which will give the innovative companies an open playing field to advance.
How do you think your organizaton will behave in 2012? Will it continue to advance and move towards “The Future of Work” as described by Tom Malone or will it revert to the past where showing up on time and leaving late is the pathway to success?