The Future of Work is No Longer in the Future

It’s here now, says Tom Ajello, co-founder of Makeable.

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Image via Death to Stock.

It’s well documented that there are persistent digital forces in business today: millennialization, globalization, and virtualization, to name a few. But none are more powerful than the “millenialized” workforce that is currently reinventing how you do business from the inside out. Generations Y and Z have always been digital citizens: they have maintained friendships remotely, massively multiplayed remotely, loved, lost, and learned remotely their entire lives. They will virtualize your business by breadwinning remotely, too. Your millenialized workforce will globalize and virtualize how you work by single-handedly introducing your larger team to the attitudes, tools, and services they love.

In fact, through some pretty unassuming tools, they already are.

From Penguin Chat to Snapchat to Tinder — and even some you haven’t heard of — at one point or another these services have consumed your team’s lives. They are remarkably powerful in not only their ability to put lots of people in touch, but they do so with game-like communications, collaborative content, and artificially intelligent tools. They’re disruptive innovation. They’re addictively fun to use. They connect to all the other services you use. And they are the basis for a host of new, business and productivity driven services sneaking onto the devices and desktops of your team.

Generations Y and Z have always been digital citizens: they have maintained friendships remotely, massively multiplayed remotely, loved, lost, and learned remotely their entire lives.

Slack is one of those services. Easy to install, use and share, it’s the ultimate extension of virtualization and is leading this phenomenon simply because it melds the way YZ’s play with the way they work — through bite-sized business interactions and deep integration with a host of things you (and they) are already using. It enables them to work in the same way they’ve played for years, and as a result, email is disappearing and real time collaboration tools such as Slack are becoming the new normal.

What’s more, YZ’s don’t want to use your email system. Sure, they might use it for what you require them to, but team level communications are happening in a very real-time way. For early adopter organizations we witnessed this phenomenon with the likes of Basecamp and GitHub early on. But, tools such Slack have taken the love of simple messaging and taken it beyond the “maker” wall and onto teams across the world.

Of course many of you might say Slack is nothing new. But, here’s what is new:

  1. Increased collectivism

    The presence of Slack in our organization has made us more collective and aware of each other’s on-screen and off-screen personalities. It has fostered a hive-mind that drives collaboration both on and off the field.

  2. Increased collaboration

    Companies are starting to bring their clients into these systems. As collaboration spills over the walls of your workspace, so too will your process. Clients as part of the process (vs. subject to the process) are happy clients. Better work, richer engagements, and smarter outcomes always result.

  3. Decreased CYA

    As Slack replaces email for internal communications it also dynamically affects internal politics. In fact, email has been well-documented as the key contributor to a “cover your ass” culture. It is at the very center of cancerous culture and business politics. But virtual, real-time team communications disintegrates it. The CYA factor of inter-office email can ruin a company and its culture. Those that live in tools like Slack report not having that issue in the least.

Slack allows us to do business virtually and globally. And even though email is still the official communication service, Slack is eroding that quickly in the most progressive of companies. One by one, all of your business tools are going to get a simpler, mobile, and more inspired client / UX.

Today’s youthful workforce sees no barrier in conducting virtual business collaboration. It’s no surprise then that the platforms that fill this market are popping up every day. Applications like appear.in are being invented for YZ’s by YZ’s, advancing virtual communication, and making work life better.

Faster and simpler than Skype or a Google Hangout, appear.in is a service that congregates team members and clients into a meeting together, talking, collaborating and passing information back and forth as if everyone was in the same room.

There aren’t any…

“Hey what’s your user ID?”
“Did you accept the invitation?”
“Crap I don’t have any call credits.”
“Hold on, I’m downloading the new version.”
“Oh, I don’t use _____.”

moments.

This workforce has been trained their entire lives to be purposefully provocative and disruptive entrepreneurs.

It’s also twice as fast and far more interesting to use than anything you’ve previously used to collaborate. Nothing comes close to it in terms of simplicity and nothing nails the feeling like being in a room together quite like it. We even use it with our clients. And this is just the beginning of virtual team work.

Youthfulness has always been provocative, affecting everything around it. But YZ youthfulness is just the beginning of what they offer the business of you. Jobs of all types are being filled with design driven, “why” asking, innovation-minded, and digitally obsessed workers. This workforce has been trained their entire lives to be purposefully provocative and disruptive entrepreneurs.

If you embrace virtuality, finding hard-working Millennial talent will be easier this year than ever before. And if you find them, you’ll also find the millenially-inspired tools that are poised to change your company from the inside out.

These are two examples of a host of incredible business tools that are landing on the desktops and home screens of your workforce. The more they get adopted, the more Millennial worker empowerment will topple the outdated digital tools of your company.  And with it will come the erosion of rote work policies, hierarchical governance, and mandatory office locations/work hours to name a few.

If the tools I’ve mentioned haven’t appeared in your business yet, they will in 2016. The question is when they do 1. Will you even know and 2. Will you embrace them and realize their exponential potential?

4 Comments

  • Michael Delahousaye says:

    Nice article Tom…. Wondering if you have seen examples of the enterprise socializing these tools internally. I know startups have adapted quickly. And I am sure there are pockets of use on an enterprise level. But interested to hear how an enterprise filled with workers from 22 to 62 gets widespread adoption of something like Slack…

  • Tom Ajello says:

    Great point! The way we’re seeing that happen is literally from the bottom up. First on a team, then a group, up the chain and so on. Organizations that can “let” teams create a social collaboration culture can benefit from something getting to a small to medium scale and then finding a way to participate in it – and then grow it – from the inside out.

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