By Judy Feld, MCC, Assoc. Director, ACTP Graduate Certificate Coaching Program
These days it’s hard to know what to expect in the workplace. When I work with clients to create strategies for themselves and for their organizations, it can be challenging to predict what the environment will look like ten months from now. But we try…and then peer further into the future.
I came across a book audacious enough to make predictions about what the workplace will look like ten years from now: The 2020 Workplace: How Innovative Companies Attract, Develop, and Keep Tomorrow's Employees Today by Jeanne C Meister and Karie Willyerd. I was intrigued, and decided to take a look through a coach’s lens. I’ve extracted my personal “top four” factors for “Coach’s Comment”—with perhaps more to come in future issues of the CoachNet Strategy Letter.
The Big Picture
Many significant changes will impact the future workplace of 2020. The implications for leaders of progressive corporations and organizations will be significant as they guide their companies to become “2020 Compliant”—with well-conceived preparation and some re-engineering. Those of us who recall the Y2K readiness initiatives more than ten years ago can identify with the assertion that the next ten years can be even more important in preparation for tomorrow's talent needs--to recruit, develop and retain top employees. Company leadership, along with their HR managers, will need new ideas about organization, collaboration, communication, and creativity.
Four Fearless Forecasts that will impact the 2020 workplace:
1. A More Diverse Workplace—in many ways
By 2020, the American workplace population will be more diverse— by race, gender, generation and geography. The forecasts place the balance at 63 percent white, 30 percent Latino, and 50 percent female. Four or even five generations will be working at once.
When generations fail to communicate effectively in the workplace we may see a negative impact on the bottom line—through retention rates, grievances and complaints, tangible and intangible costs, morale, etc. Be aware of the four generations now together in the workplace, and understand the dynamics and the potential outcomes of generational interaction and sometimes misunderstanding. You can request the article "Leadership in the Four-Generation Workplace" (B-7) at http://coachnet.com/business/resources-articles.html
2. Mobility and Agility
With the vast array of communications and knowledge tools, workers will increasingly be working from the "third place": Place #1 is the office, place #2 is the home and the "third place" is anywhere your phone is. The use of social technology means real-time feedback and increased efficiency of offsite work teams. Social technologies will also enhance informal and peer-to-peer learning.
You can find some specific suggestions to improve your standards, boundaries, and filters in work anywhere/work any time environment: “Multitasking Myopia and Joyless Juggling”© (D-3), at http://www.coachnet.com/business/resources-articles.html
3. Work/life Integration
For younger generations, work is a significant part of their life, not separate from it. It isn't about work-life balance; it's about work/life integration. It will be important for companies to keep that in mind as they seek to optimize job satisfaction of their employees.
Pay attention to your own work/life balance and don't ignore your need for personal time. You can request the article: “Chill Out (Small, Medium And Large Time-Outs)” (D-1), at
Be open to experimenting and adapt what works best for you.
4. Mentoring and Coaching
New forms of mentoring and coaching—both face-to-face and virtually—will be implemented, especially since this method is a top preference of Millennials. We can also expect increased use of behavioral assessment and profiling to provide insights into employee strengths and developmental needs.
You can request a copy of “Working From Anywhere--And Making It Work, Part I: the Telecommuter”© (A-6) at http://www.coachnet.com/business/resources-articles.html
"My interest is in the future because I am going to spend the rest of my life there."
~~Charles F. Kettering
Judy Feld, MCC, was the 2003 ICF President. She has been a full-time executive and professional coach since 1995 and the co-founder of the Executive and Professional Coaching Program in the School of Management at the University of Texas at Dallas http://som.utdallas.edu/coaching. Feld is the co-author of SmartMatch Alliances http://www.coachnet.com/info/resources-smartmatch.html and a mentor to innovative coaches www.coachnet.com.