Swaying to the Future of Work
There's a complete disconnect in this moment in time between the corporate message with divisions are actually rolling out new a people themselves want. So there's gonna be some kind of a settling process over these coming months as people settle into routines at actually worked for them. I'm dan smolen. And this is the. Dan mullen podcast. We help people to navigate the future of work to work that is profound protects. The planet empowers people and communities and is fun to do meaningful work the stories that our guests tell and the insights that they provide will inspire you to connect with work and experiences that stoke your passions and make the world a better place where the future of work is meaningful work this week near delighted by news at the nation continues to emerge from the pandemic and for the first time since the pandemic started new york city. Once the nation's epicenter recorded no kobe deaths that city and many others are roaring back to life and a key indicator of lives resumed. Is that restaurants. Which last year were shuttered. Have booked tabled reservations several weeks out but while restaurants and brick and mortar retail are coming back to life. Many co located workplaces remain deserted in new york city. Less than fifteen percent of professional workers have returned to their traditional offices findings vary but it is likely that as many as half of all workforce professionals will adopt a work from anywhere approach to continue working from home office remotely from a non office venue or in a hybrid manner seventeen months of workplace disruption force professionals to adapt to sudden change and rendered many of them agility experts. At first the stresses of remote work sent many to a panic state but now those same people languish. They don't despair but they're not thriving languishing. People may seem effective on the job but they long for more joy and purpose doing work as part of their day and not their entire day and with that background. I am pleased to welcome. Denise bruder back to the podcast she is a nationally recognized workplace futurist and the co founder of future of work community sway workplace throughout the pandemic denise and her team dug deep into how people adjusted to their highly disrupted workplaces. And she is working hard to help them sway in the future of work. I spoke with denise bruder in may twenty twenty one over assume denise bruder welcome back to the podcast are good morning and is it a pleasure to be back and it's a pleasure to see you my friend. So you're the co founder of sway and for those who didn't meet you last year when we first introduced you what is sway. And what does it benefit to people who work so yes. We met last year when a lot of the code experiences. Kinda new and we've been studying the future of work before that. So what we're doing sway as myself as a workplace futurist and my co-founder is a future for coach and together. We spent the last two years developing and researching body of knowledge around the future. Work and flexibility. And what we did in the end was revoked. The playbook we look literally wrote the playbook on how to work flexibly so our playbook is we do its way. We have a workshop experience around that we're building community around that so communities of people and members. They're looking to master. The skill of flexibility and develop a future mindset says we do in our community product and on the other side of sway. We're developing thought leadership series on the. Why because i really think that. The how is super important nesting media problem or dressing. Now how do. I work flexibly. How do i schedule myself. But the real undiscovered gender in all of this. Is we stage. We start asking yourself why. Why does this matter. Why do we want flexibly what is changing. And why does it matter to me. Says the thought leadership side sway. And that's where we're running with so you're a community and people pay to be a part of it. What could a member expect in terms of content programming and value from sway. So all remembers come to us for a workshop and a learning experience and what that is. It's alive engaging intensive looking experience around the playbook which is your personal plan for how you are going to work flexibly. So i think we're moving away from the command and control structure of top hierarchy moving more towards a personalized playbook at how use literally are going to schedule your time your day. Your energy do you re engineer. How you communicate and see people worked together flexibly so we literally end are learning point with a plan in place for you how to do it. Well that's what members come to us for but the beauty about the idea of community is that we continue the conversation so we really believed that if each of work to empowerment is a journey so we have a really practical touch point with our lavar members. So they're empower and they know how to work flexibly. We continue the conversation community over the long term with our members of like minded people that are interested in mastering those skills over time. I think one of the things were really going to be struggling. With as a workforce is the reintroduction to the work place. Whatever that means you came out of the financial space. And i know places like goldman sachs the ceo. They are. He wants everything to go back to the way. It was in the old days which i think aligns with that command and control construct that you just mentioned. It's really about control. What are your thoughts about the introduction and sort of the framing structures. We have to put around the benefits of working from anywhere so in terms of the reentry. There are three conversations happening. So tina which is why they're such kind of confusion about this and why is such an emotional. Entanglement there is the broad scale messaging through corporation so when goldman's ceo came out and said where what's the seats will match office where at apprenticeship model definitely value to that horse human contact. You can't beat that but that's like a broad scale message. Well we're finding through being boots on the ground in this year. This industry is that. There's something very different actually happening behind. Closed doors of companies. So there's a broadscale message. That's designed to create a sense of expectation and move people to look one direction. But then when you get to the next level what's actually happening within the company's very different top level message oftentimes. They're letting divisions work out for themselves. How do your divisions and how your teams wanna reentry and that could be very different to the corporate message but then the third layer is what are the actual. People wanna do. Which again is could be totally disconnected. So we've been having conversations recently with people that are coming to meet in the middle where you have workers media management trying to get to consensus on what looks like so one particular example. The management team want one weekend when we go out. The people we've been speaking with are saying. I'm going to try that but it's not gonna work me. I actually want something different. So because a complete disconnecting this moment in time between the corporate message what division are actually rolling out new people themselves want. There's gonna be some kind of a settling process over these coming months as people settled into the routines. It actually worked for them. So i think this is where the idea. Patients have practice kuzan being very thoughtful and not reacting thoughtfully respond. And that's what we coach to in our community that's where our members are paired had this endurance and the idea patient practice getting to the point of what works for them. And then you add the layer of something called languishing which adam grant from the new york. Times wrote so beautifully about last month. And for those who are not familiar with the term i would describe it as the muddling middle between thriving and in a place of despair so when we started the pandemic and when you and i spoke were all locked down in our little home offices and i think a lot of people who were not up the thrill of the change struggled with high intensity anxiety sort of like the fighter flight mode type of adrenaline pumping freaked out kinda mindset. But as you. And i spoke a lot of people discovered. Hey this working remotely has a lot of benefits. I get the sikh family. I can be with my pets. I can rearrange my day around the day and not an eight or ten or twelve hour part of my day. That is just for work. I think the prospect of going back to what was before the pandemic. i don't think it freaks people out. But i think that they are. Maybe some are. There's this middling aspect where i don't know how i feel about it and i really liked some of the aspects of being at home. I do miss the face to face contact. So what's going on here from a workplace perspective that we need to be very intentional about. What are your thoughts right. So that was an excellent article by added ranch. And i think that it really encapsulated in words. But we're all kind of feeling. I'll give you the answer and then back into how i think about that right now. We have a question mark. We just don't know and uncertainty so uncomfortable for people. I don't know how. I'm gonna react when i go back. I don't know how i'm going to convince people to say out. Do i wanna say how can i do. It was just a big question. Mark when you back to the original idea of languishing. I don't think that languages anything new people. His life work life personal life. There's an ebb and flow at is just continuously coming in the tights. Coming in this coming out. We're often in state languishing. And we're also often in a state of the opposite languishing. Which is feeling completely at your full potential. That's not anything that's new. Trust was really interesting about this past years that we've been in a prolonged state of languishing and the reason is that it is is actually. This is why this is such an interesting. Human experiment is that we experienced things in work. And i work with teens at touch point to others. So if you're out in the morning you're going to you're gonna you're jumping on the train. Pobably save people every day. You pick your coffee. The person you get into the office you see people around you. You mean only actually have a real conversation with a handful of people that you might see to fifty sixty seventy people on your daily commute. And that's how we experience life every day through these visual or actual plus brings people. So we've been living for the last year but we haven't really been alive. Has it felt like it because we've missed this interaction with people. All the time spontaneous sometimes intentional and we experienced like the touch points to others. So this last year has muted. everything it's muted. Are the things that we do is mute. Noise and distraction muted. Our touch point of others has been a very low key simplified way of living. She's felt unnatural. Because we're not out feeling the energy volvos and doing all these things. So i think that languishing in this case it's been an extended period of things felt in the past and we've left with this question. Mark really question is on the person how they perceive this one. The want to do with it. Mark the why. We think the idea of being able to new new isn't distraction just by simply we couldn't go places we couldn't do things we couldn't be on the hamster wheel running running running in some ways. We had to stay still sit in it. It's allowed us to actually like declines. As we reentered into the workforce as we design our strategies. We can pick what we want to bring back into our life. Our work life personal. How do we read rebounds this. We're starting to someone of clean sleek languishing for sure extended period. Yes uncomfortable absolutely. The greatest learning happens in points. Time when you're feeling the most uncomfortable. And i think it's an empowering police the be able to make that decision to carve your work life in a thoughtful way on the back of this quiet muted non shack environment truly. Set yourself off for success and to really re engineer. How you see yourself fitting into work to avoid the burnout where you're experiencing pre pandemic so from our perspective for the why the workplace why we think this has actually been a benefit. He felt is actually to your advantage to have experienced people to reset yourself. How you see work. You said something so profound de uncomfortable aspect of all this. That's really when change happens. That's what changes culture and the world of art culture changes when wars happen and things bump up against each other and create crisis. So you're right for people who are like i don't want the crisis. But that's when the real change has happened. And i think has happened in a revolutionary way. We're changing what worked means really for the first time in over one hundred years i mean we're we're we literally now have shaken off the shackles of the past at an industrial mindset. Coming them point of fear and removing it and that's uncomfortable changes really really hard changes. Also really empowering opportunity empowering feeling to be able to kind of craft it. but you're absolutely right. It's a hundred year change. That's where we're experiencing right now but the really interesting thing about that is that it's no longer. We fragmentation his idea that you know we used to live in a command shocker. It was easy you had one way to work at. Go to the office butts in seats nine to five super simplistic one world. But now we find ourselves living in worlds if you have a company of ten thousand new living in ten thousand world one amongst and thousand worlds one nets a really different perspective for how you engage at work and how you manage the workplace. That's what the opportunity is is actually chart your horse neck unhappy now. One of the really uncomfortable things i think about is a former executive recruiter. And it's about that. Command and control. Structure is that structure worked often for high flying executives. Why because what. They respond to bigger title more money and more power and now i think with the changes. The work is about getting things done. It's about moving the needle in the right direction in the proper direction and so now ones utility is valued probably more for the group involvements. What that person does to further the positive outcomes that the company or the organization wants to do as opposed to furthering the personal outcomes. You agree with that easy. That's why work is a. It's not a tricky thing. But it's a double edged sword because work is we've talked about this in the past at work is in our minds. It's global language. We all speak language of work. It's so fundamental it is literally we do. Is the language used louis together. Sometimes competition start with that like. Where do you work. What do you do the you know. Connections increases for uniformity and also provides all kinds of not only. Does it keep you out of poverty. Pay your bills but it creates a sense of hope allows you to find a discover your sense of purpose. So it's such a multifaceted topic and when we show up to workplace as you mentioned there the the company means to get things done. They need to get their hit. The bottom line at each room meet their objectives each improve the company's overall jacobs but it's interesting that patch. What's also at the back of this is that there's a there's a change in the attitude of how the people see what they expect from work in the workplace and with a company expects worker is fundamentally changing and that's the i think the uncomfortable part about it and that's why we're in transition. You know i wrote a script to talk to you today and in pretty much throwing out because things are things are happening so quickly. I read a lot. I read so much. I don't even know what the sources are anymore. I just remember the key points. And i read something within the last twenty four hours about the gender aspects of returning to workplaces in you. I'm sure you saw the same article. There is terrible concern about the impact on women going back into the workforce and especially from a standpoint of will men be disproportionately co located in their old opposites verses women who because they may have family responsibilities or other responsibilities still need or they feel they need to be working remotely so that they can work all those other aspects of their lives. What's going on here. Denise and what do we need to do to mitigate what could if we don't fix it become a huge gender crisis in the workplace. Okay now now now. This is my jam right here now about now. Now i'm gonna roll up my sleeves on this one all right for. It is absolutely the case that women have been completely killed of these of this last year. And you even team. We have a female lead team at way. And even we're in this future work flexibility space and once went psycho bit hit we all were completely displaced by the need to have to take care of our hometown. Civilities real concern or the benefit that we have here is the fact that gender inequality has lots to pay and pay levels and the inclined exists between the genders. That's not going to go away anytime soon. It's a systematic problem and the kinsey. I this is broken wrong as the idea that the real reason that we have a huge disconnect between emma get income inequality genders that women. Just can't get past that first step up into management because they're so by the need to cover lots of pieces and so the idea about embarrassments just simply aren't enough women in the labour poll to advance a meaningful rate. So this last. This last year has shown us at any kind of gains that we thought that women had in the world of work is really only on paper. The really weren't gains and that we have systematic and pervasive lack of support for families at work. And that's gonna continue until we have a fourth intervention. I this is why we feel so strongly flexibility. Being the coach norm excitability gives you a choice of where when you work in a culture of trust and empower families to be time for matters for them. So i'm using the word family. Excess with this is. This is a human issue. This is not a women's issue. This is a family issue which is a community. She which is human issue so the major upside to the last year is i believe the fact that periods of families have coke working at this together even referencing myself. My husband and i have been partnering together on this past year. Keeper kids in school to keep jobs in place we partner really well. We've been fortunate that he has seen in the last year. Different dynamics your family. He feels very involved and he has been involved and its intention the state as involved going forward. But that's not something you could ever teach describe. Put a diversity inclusion metric around. You had to go through the experience so it's my hope that coming out of back cove. It has actually been a blessing in disguise. In the sense families. Feel more of that structure and understand that is to have to share the responsibility in raising a family and it could be in breach flexibility. Just to for that. That's actually systematic intervention that will enable the future is female as we see it futurist female eleven that well and i think most people work in smaller than larger businesses but at the larger ones have to put some pedal to the metal in higher or appoint more women to their boards of directors ship. Right you know what a c. Or a chairman of the board wants board members. He say he because it's mostly he goes to the dudes. He knows that he plays golf with right all right. I'm being a little pejorative. They're right but until we get more intentional about making that bored. Look more like america. It's going to be very difficult to institutionalize all these positive changes. I believe and that's why in my mind. The diversity inclusion metrics ten fallacy about that really important to have that force intervention. But when you're trying to create a diverse inclusive workplace you're funding people back into a system of work excluded them from the beginning to leaky bucket so our system of were generally speaking is one big massive leaky bucket. This is going to continue to happen. Unless we have change at the level of which the back on the back of covid flexibility and embracing flexibility could be one of those worth interventions. That really truly systematically equalize the playing field to men and women and ultimately leads to a stronger bottom line and more competitive nation ashley. Speaking 'cause i believe one of our biggest asset s in the country is are female potential. Oh i would agree with that I would agree with that. I think women they think differently. I think they're better collaborators. I used to place a lot of senior executives and sales the women were better at it and the men they had a different skill. Set about getting to the yes the mended. The men were all about the money. The women were about solving a problem typically rights. So that is why we just gave a presentation this week on the future as female and the reason we think that is because the labor pool demographics. There's just simply more women in the labour polls actually tilted more female education rates are tilted female so the projections that the actual makeup of women in the workforce is increasing. It's becoming increasingly female. And at the point you just mentioned might. Their future of work skills is on elevating student capabilities and his black people call the softer skills. Collaboration teamwork and empathy that. Come very naturally with female energy so for all of those markers signals are pointing to the features female which means we've got a problem. We simply have a problem. Because nationally speaking systematically we don't support women at work in a material way that really truly allows acidity. So it's our hope. That calvin and even this feeling languishing gets us uncomfortable. Because when you're uncomfortable you really have self examination and with that. Can we finally addressed light implement real change in the world of work. I think we can and you talk about family and family can be the the kiddos you have in the house but it also can be the broader feeling of the tribe. Now i bring this up because the old hiring manager construct is manage the pnl and make sure everybody is on point. Okay great but we're all sentient beings as you pointed out so now. Today's hiring manager needs to be intentional about checking in to see how everybody is doing from a health and wellness standpoint chan. How's it going at home. How's your life going. What do you do when you're not working get to know people and that's something new and very uncomfortable and i was curious what your thoughts are about that. And what the benefits of becoming more intentional about asking about health and wellness would be. So that makes me think about the idea bringing your whole salsa work of me very comfortable about just being yourself in the workplace but i think actually practically speaking that goes back to trust. It's a hard line to follow. What is the what is my personal connections professional connection people. How do i see the whole person in a respectful way and we follow a rule and we prescribe this about trust. I hear you. I see you i value. You could follow those three things in any relationship. Whether it's a friendship could be your spouse manager. You're going to have a very successful relationship because you're gonna have trustful communications and that can come very natural to people. So how do i see you. How do i actually hear you. And how do i value you. That will ease fallen book that mantra it'll allow to stay in touch and keep your finger on the pulse of your team. And how do they look. How are they behaving. What is a product how the behavior means in ways. It makes me think soon. Something's not right here. Because i hear you i see i value. Actually you can see how you are. And i'm in tune within that allows you to ask the right questions of the right time so it doesn't have to be spontaneous slack. Random coffee chat stay in tune with people just by opening up a channel real communication. And then you're gonna know if something's off and you can ultimately the best thing about that is gift something before it becomes a real issue. The thing most excited about the niece. And i'm looking at you and you're my dear friend. I consider you part of my extended family. Your i feel such kinship to you and love and adoration met in person but we will email the thing. I'm so proud of with. You is in the time that i've known you is how much your scholarship has scaled. I'm listening to you. And i am just blown away by your thought leadership in the future of work and i'm wondering if you could share with the audience. What the journeys been light frigate Her what discredit has been a journey as future of work. Yeah and that's also why i describe. Its way we divide our house into two. We have the perfecting the how. How do i actually work. Flexibly answer that question. We really lean in and feel good about the why. That's really interesting to us. Because that's the bigger conversation to be had and all of our thought process around that just simply centered around humanism human design. What is it to be a human and really understanding that or frailties and all the areas where we can shine and having people embrace all that they had so our greatest interest in sway. It's helping people understand the potential that they had not yet found themselves. That's why our approaches ways as a workplace futurist. I partner businesses the future. Where coach you believe together we can bring that skill set but also that mindset that allows people to really untapped potential completed yet discovered themselves. We just fundamentally believe the human design were all designed so purposeful with so much potential and that the game of life is to find that spot which is difficult. But it's one hundred percent positive we've done that sway and we model all of our thinking around that so we lean on the uae to help people feel. That's way we say. Our north star is what we call workers a lifestyle as the opposite of work life balance work life balance. Makes you think that your two different people to parts of the day. We're like that's not true. You're born one person. You're one person living one life and we're endeavouring to make account to the language of work ness where we live with our members people the field they find their sense of purpose. That's a big thing. That's a journey. So he leaned heavily on that development of that line of thought and we practically bring that into our communities from members feel that live at. That is just brilliant. Denise bruder it's always a pleasure and i know we'll we'll have you back on again because this conversation evolving in the most amazing ways and i adore you. You are my friend. And i am so excited about the work that we're doing together for those listeners. Out there who are not familiar with sway. I wondering if you could point them to your social media and some of your thought leadership absolutely. So we're in lincoln instagram primarily and twitter at sway workplace. You could find. We put a lot of material out there in having gauge with our members white. Then you can join our community a workplace dot com to find information links into our community. Just jump right in our community. Join us and help us. Interest on the future work like so much. Unix really enjoyed this links to denise breeders and sways social media are included in the show notes for this episode at dan. Smolin dot com meantime. If you haven't done so please. Subscribe to the podcast. Where ever you get them or listen to. Current and past episodes on our website at dan smell and dot com. And please take a moment to positivity rate and comment where ever you listen to this podcast because that helps us to connect with new listeners. I'm dan smolen. And this is the dan smell and podcast. Thank you for joining us. On an amazing journey to the future of work doing meaningful work. And do you remember this. Our best days lie ahead. Let's connect again next week.