This is what the future of work looks like (and it’s not what you think)

What does a healthy company look like to you? Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and visualize your perfect workplace. How are you working? What is different? Got it? Keep that in mind, because I want to share my vision for what a healthy company and the future of work could look like.

We are moving too fast. Work is busier than ever. It’s as if all the things we learned from the pandemic have been forgotten. Why are we so resistant to change? And because we are so busy, we’re neglecting the environment. We need to look at radically changing the way we work, so we have the energy to look after the planet properly. And that doesn’t just mean WHERE we work (at home or in the office); it’s about HOW we work, changing long-held organisational procedures that no longer serve us. We need to eradicate this burnout pandemic we are living in. 

It’s time to take a step back and slow down. I’d like to share how I have managed to rewire my own neural pathways in the last few months, to change the way I work – and it has had profound effects. I’ve had intuitive insights about the world of business and what the workplace of the future could look like. I believe we can all tap into our full potential and the deeper knowledge that is inside us; our inner genius. This is what I got – my vision for the future of work.

Dear employees of 2022,

Looking back, yours was the year of reset and change. But everyone was resisting it and going  back to old ways of working and living, especially the big corporations. Leaders stuck their heads in the sand and encouraged workers to travel widely and come back to offices – not thinking about the implications for the environment, or the fact that we had proven that people are still productive when working remotely. 

At the start of COVID 19, organizations realized that business travel was not really necessary, and many meetings could be done online; that hybrid models of working from home and the office could give people a better balance in their lives. But as each person was different, it was up to them to understand and decide the best way of working. 

Then, in mid 2022, it was as if the pandemic had never happened. There were other challenges – a major war, and the soaring cost of living and energy prices. Many businesses decided that their employees’ wellbeing and mental health were no longer a priority, and mandated that they come back to the office. It was business as usual.  

But what about the future? What about the generations to come? What about our wellbeing and environment? Everybody was too busy to properly take that into account. We did not have the visionary leaders to guide us. Then another pandemic hit … followed by a climatic disaster. A toxic dust caused by pollution created even more deaths. Trauma and fear were everywhere. We had to radically change the way we work.

Here In the future, we align the ethics of organisations and their purpose with the world’s needs and problems, resulting in increased productivity and happiness. Our employees are peaceful and have no fear. We measure burnout, and commit to continually reducing that risk. Preventing poor physical and mental health is at the heart of everything we do. 

We have cleaned up our supply chains and have wellbeing as part of our job descriptions and company mission and purpose. We continuously work to help the environment. We value people over profits and – guess what – output has increased. We are not only about making money but about people and connecting. 

Wellbeing is protected at all times. The Definitions of our companies include how we look after employees at the highest level. Companies provide ongoing, scientifically-backed training to prevent burnout, deal with fear and trauma, and provide training for sustainable productivity and wellbeing. We have Chief Wellbeing Officers who protect us, and deadlines that include time for work, time for rest, and team meditations. We have healthy snack breaks and alkaline water in the office.

We work collaboratively in “guild pods” and come together in person only when necessary, in safe spaces (for example a guild craft space for wood workers) collectively agreeing to protect each other and their craft and passion for what they are doing.

We don’t get bogged down by emails. Nor do we spend as much time behind our screens. We use social media only as a collaboration and storytelling tool. We speak our voice notes out loud, which are sent directly to the recipient. This system automatically shuts off at certain times and reminds us when to take breaks. We work in calm, peaceful environments with enough fresh air, and clean, filtered water protected from micropastics. Our buildings are fully sustainable, with natural light and fresh air. The spaces have plants, and we create specific habitats to enhance nature development. We don’t come together in person all the time, but on selective days that are right for our teams, which we decide on together because we work in flat organisations.

We no longer multitask like mad. We work towards our passion and purpose, which is aligned with our organisation’s purpose. 

Our children and students are taught at school/university how to listen to their bodies – what they need right now, and when to rest. There are international guidelines for wellbeing and burnout that we follow.

Dear employees of 2022, the future is bright, there is active hope. Slow down now, start creating healthy work habits. There is more uncertainty to come, but we are resilient and will create amazing change. GET READY FOR THAT CHANGE, AND MAKE SURE THE NEW BUSINESSES AND THE NEW HABITS YOU ARE CREATING ARE HEALTHY ONES. Please take care of yourselves, so you CAN TAKE CARE OF THE PLANET. 

Best wishes, the future world and its employees.

I’d like to invite you to tap into your own inner genius. It is obvious that the past has not given us what we need. It is obvious we need to change. And for that, we need the deeper knowledge we all have. We all NEED to tap into our letters from the future – the future or work, of the planet, the future of collaboration, of energy supply. We can then download this information and use it to create our new world. 

At Softer Success, we’re about to release our latest research with King’s College London on why wellbeing needs to be a business goal, and how founders, CEOs and entrepreneurs can sidestep burnout. This is highly innovative research, and presents a real solution to the burnout pandemic we are in.

ABOUT: Cara de Lange is a specialist in the science of burnout. A visionary author, wellbeing consultant and futurist, she founded Softer Success® to provide evidence-backed burnout solutions for businesses. Working with the world's top universities, researchers and psychologists, she created the ground-breaking, anonymous wellbeing assessment 'A Walk Through the Forest', which can diagnose the risk of workplace burnout and toxicity in 90 seconds.

Contact Cara

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