and Remote Co. Many organizations, though, turned something
of a blind eye to this disruptive trend, at least at the beginning.
“Things like mobile and cloud technology have been around for
a while, and employees have long been using them to work more
flexibly – what I like to call ‘casual flex’ – taking their work home
with them to finish emails or projects at night and on the week-ends,”
Sutton Fell says that even though report after report discussed
the huge change Millennials were bringing to the workforce –
placing a high value on work-life balance and seeing flexible work
as a standard way of working, rather than a perk – plenty of orga-nizations
didn’t keep pace with those ideas.
“Younger generations, especially Millennials, see flexible work
options as standard operating procedure and this means a sig-nificant
shift in the future of HR,” said Sutton Fell. “In order to
recruit and retain the best workers, HR professionals will need to
rely more heavily on flexible work options like remote work, flexi-ble
scheduling and even part-time professional roles.
“What’s been missing is the HR or business response to these
disruptions like the adoption of formalized policies regarding re-mote
and flexible work that better support when, where and how
people do their best work,” said Sutton Fell.
She notes that while 80 per cent of companies offer some kind
of formal or informal flexible work options, only 3 per cent mea-sure
the productivity, performance and engagement of those
options to determine their ROI and connect them to overarching
business goals and the bottom line. For companies that do their
research and learn to leverage mobile and flex workers, there is
a huge potential advantage, particularly in terms of recruitment
“Businesses that want to remain competitive need to raise their
heads out of the sand and not only pay attention to these trends,
but connect them to their business strategies, organizational goals
and workforce management initiatives,” said Sutton Fell.
Oldroyd points to another trend that takes flexible to the
“I feel like we’re moving beyond the ‘workplace’ and even
beyond the ‘gig economy’ to more of a ‘work interface,’” said
Oldroyd. “It’s the opportunity to bring collaborative teams
together, which could be made up of employees, contractors,
subject matter experts and others, in a virtual community-based
Groups are brought together on a short-term basis to achieve
a certain goal or target.
“They come up with a plan around it, measure it, get it im-plemented
and then move on,” said Oldroyd.
For the most part, organizations are just beginning to grapple
with the idea of the quick-to-assemble and quick-to-disband
collaborative teams, some of who might only connect virtually.
“What we need to think through, with these kind of teams,
is how do you clearly define what the targets and goals are, and
how do they tie to an organization’s purpose or mission?” said
Oldroyd. “How do you not only get the results you’re looking
for, but also have that project, that work interface, be meaning-ful,
as well? You have to ask whether you’re engaging people
and retaining them effectively for that period in time.”
PREDICTING FUTURE DISRUPTIONS
OR OPPORTUNITIES CAN START
WITH A QUICK GLANCE BACKWARD.
18 ❚ MAY 2017 ❚ HR PROFESSIONAL