Rates of Change in the Workplace

The rate of change in society speeds alongside each of us, and we latch on to what adds most value. With the numerous digital disruptors that are now commonplace in society, what will come next – and what will further evolve how we live and practice? Yogi Berra (and others) said “the future ain’t what it used to be” meaning what we once expected may not happen as expected. Who can truly forecast change?

We have plenty of indicators all around us. Past expectations that each of us would find what we need through siloed structures has forever changed through the ongoing de-silo-ization of society. We are mostly digital nomads to differing degrees. We each have varying relationships with time (prioritization), place (work can adapt to location), consumption (intake of learning), and people (online and in-person). As it relates to the spaces we inhabit, those spaces need to increasingly perform with blurred boundaries between working, socializing, learning eating, and discovering.

 Keene State University, Living + Learning Commons

Keene State University, Living + Learning Commons

One significant mindshift that has enabled the type of change we’re discussing is that of access rather than ownership. The days of single offices and individual ownership of mounds of material collections have been replaced by a much richer experience of nimble co-creation within and beyond the office through the access of information from any location.

So what does this mean for our workplace? It means that we need to share more – and gain more from our colleagues in return. We need to respect individuality – not one-size-fits-all. We need to adapt to change – whatever we do has a lifespan before the wave of change rethinks the status quo again.