Its Time to Change the Flexwork Conversation

Posted by Robyn Bews

Its time to change the conversation. We get it, we know that the world is changing, can someone now tell us how to get there?

“The future of work”:how many articles, blogs and books have you read or seen lately that are dedicated to the subject of predicting what the workplace will look like “in the future”?

As the Executive Director of WORKshift, an organization in the business of readying organizations, managers and employees for the inevitable changed, more flexible workplace of the future, I am both excited by and disappointed in many of the articles I read. They are all starting to look the same to me.

We already know Millennials want different things than previous generations. We know that the footprint of our workspaces is changing (and will likely continue to change). We know that technology (BYOD, virtual collaboration software) is changing the way we work. So…?  The hard truth is, there is still a significant resistance to adopting flexible work in many organizations.

When I read the articles, blogs and books that lay out general predictions about what the future of work might look like I am struck by the absence of guidance. An HR professional probably sits back and muses “but how do we ready our workforce for these changes?” Our facilities managers ask “what is the best practice for utilizing and designing the workspaces to maximize collaboration while also recognizing  that virtual work is a growing trend?” The CIO says “I know you want the technology you want when you want it, but I have to protect the organization”.  Your prospective employees are probing “You say you have a flexible work culture, but what exactly does that mean?”

As the WORKshift team actively engages with cities and companies of all sizes to assess and implement flexible work programs we agree the change is inevitable.  However, for change of any kind to happen organizations need standards and processes.  Ad hoc/proprietary processes lack credibility and there is the absence of a governing organization to build consensus. We are asked over and over, where is the roadmap for adopting flexible work? What does good look like?

It is with this in mind that we have made a game-changing promise this year.

In 2014, alongside our Founders (Citrix, KPMG and Shaw) and industry partners WORKshift is undergoing the task of creating the standards to define what it means to have a flexible workplace.  In other words, we will do for the workforce what LEED did for buildings.

The question you are asking is “how will WORKshift do that?” By creating standards, tools, benchmarks and certification criteria that will define what it means to have a “flexible” workforce, providing a comprehensive roadmap/playbook for implementation and promoting the adoption of WORKshift within organizations.

We are building the playbook, standards and criteria for auditable certification from scratch.  And to this end we have representatives at the table from private and public sector, real estate and facilities management professionals, tech gurus and, people and change experts.

What does this mean to you? It means that the stakeholders in your organization will have the tools to make these menaningful changes; they will know what good looks like and will be equipped to future-proof the organization. It will also mean that prospective employees will be able to ask for the WORKshift culture by name.

What do you think is holding organizations back? Will standards be the tipping point the market has been waiting for?

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Robyn Bews

Robyn Bews

What started out as a passion for finding a better way to work, has morphed into transforming the way people and organizations operate. By challenging conventional thinking, Robyn Bews has become the leader in what can only be described as the revolution of the traditional workplace. As a result of Robyn’s leadership, advocacy and management, WORKshift has grown from Canada’s first regional... more




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