Four ways 2020 is closer than you think

Aug 01, 2018
The firms of the future will need to be virtual, outputs-focused, adaptable and nimble.

In four months’ time, 2020 will only be just one year away. It may have seemed like the distant future up to now, but here we are – and it really is just around the corner. But what does that mean for you as a finance leader? Next year’s planning should be all about setting your workforce up in the 2020 mentality. Change in structure, culture and mindset always takes longer than anticipated, so get ahead. If you haven’t already thought about the following items, now is your time.

Are you really virtual?

I don’t just mean working from home. In fact, remote working as a way of enabling employees to log-in from home laptops or phones is way behind us. This is a far more sophisticated concept that drives performance and frees up the constraints of working from a desk, allowing people to work wherever they need to, increasing cross-functional interactivity and allowing for periods of time to be spent working (effectively) from other departments, offices, client spaces and global subsidiaries. If you’re not already, you’ll need to start thinking about what your team will need in terms of infrastructure, work tools and cloud-based software to get this up and running.

Have you thought about the space you work in?

The idea of static working is dead. Office spaces are becoming more communal, but also transforming into campus-like complexes with clear “working” and “non-working” sections. If you’ve ever been in any of the ‘tech giant’ offices, you’ll be familiar with this concept. Areas for retreat, areas for collaborative work, large group social areas, and lots and lots of open space. In design speak, this is called “activity-based working”, where workspaces are carefully configured to give people a variety of workspaces instead of assigned cubicles to improve productivity.

Have you changed your hiring approach?

The way people are choosing to work is becoming radically different. Talent today wants flexibility, and likewise, businesses demand it. Contractors are an essential part of running a lean but high-performance business and luckily enough, the market is becoming richer in high-performance career contractors than at any point over the last 10 years. Become comfortable with the concept of identifying and utilising the services of individual freelancers who are moving towards working with a select portfolio of clients on a repeat basis to provide services in a highly flexible manner.

Think start-up, even if you’re a corporate

Today’s talent pool is not just interested in big brands. Many millennials want to launch their own businesses and we can see clearly the gravitation of talent towards the exciting start-up environment as people leave to join the “next big thing”. To compete for talent in the next 10 years, you will need to communicate in a way that portrays organisational nimbleness, almost mimicking the responsiveness of a smaller, more agile environment to create a sense of momentum around strategic goals. Giving your employees a real sense of accountability and purpose is key here – not to mention the cost savings and productivity gains accrued by optimising your resource structure and aligning it with what drives results, rather than what ‘you’ve always done before’.
The workplace revolution is here. Don’t get left behind – 2020 is closer than you think!

Ed Heffernan is Managing Partner at Barden Ireland.