Covid forced us to change the way we work fundamentally, and there is no way back. Or is there? What does the future look like, then? #Employment #OpEd #Unlock #Ignite & #Transform
the future of work oped
Published on April 16, 2023
published on April 16, 2023



What does the future of work look like? Is it back to the office or not?




The office set-up, as we know, can be traced back to 1854 and Sir Charles Trevelyan, secretary to the Treasury, “separate rooms so that a person who works with his head may not be interrupted”, cementing the importance of the office as a workplace.

In addition, the old cadence of work is a relic of the early industrialisation era based on the factories’ rhythm. At the same time, the presence in office and factory environments (or similar workplaces) enables management control while exercising power and status.

Office politics, however, can turn people off. The derived discomfort wastes energy and productivity, making the organisation less inclusive.

It contributed, often with caring duties, to why people from underrepresented groups frequently report being happier working from home.

With the advent of modernisation, open-plan offices prompted increased and dynamic face-to-face interactions and collaboration. However, it also triggered a natural human response to socially withdraw from colleagues and focus instead on contact by artificial means (emails, messengers etc.)

Many people had wanted change for a long time, but the will to make the change or the vision of what work could look like for sure needed improving.




When the pandemic came along voilà, we had to change how we work for businesses to survive, like it or not. And so we had to learn new routines while unlearning others. We had to examine long-held beliefs, assumptions and prejudices about working in an office and home-working.

We have now become more aware of what work means and what we want from our working lives. There is no way back. Albeit there have been some attempts from big corporations to force a return to the way things were

For each company, of course, what it looks like depends on the nature of their jobs and people.




Redesigning how we work can mean redesigning the where, when and how people work to boost cooperation and collaboration but also redesigning work so that people have time and space to focus.

Of course, this is not precisely possible in some industries, like the hospitality sector or factories, hospitals, carers and police.

In these cases, redesigning work also needs to consider time and flexibility.

An essential thing in any business is to increase the productivity of the hours worked and output/service provided while at the same time reducing wasted time, ensuring people can focus on work at work so they can fully disengage at home.

So the future of work has at its core more than anything else how work gets done, how decisions get made and whose interests matter most with a likely future of much increased remote working among white-collar workers and a radically redefined idea of the office as an organising concept.

What does the future of work look like for you?


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Laura Mariani

Laura Mariani

Best Selling Author, Speaker, Change & Transformation Expert


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