Whether you’re a one-person team or a global enterprise, we’re all exploring what it means to be collaborative, digital, and agile in the future of work. A new focus on flexibility and hybrid work strategies is becoming synonymous with the post-pandemic workplace. 

So if remote, hybrid, and digital work environments are the future, what does this look like in practice? We spoke to work management experts at our 2021 work management conference, Collaborate, on how to enact positive change in an evolving environment focusing on productivity and collaboration from anywhere. Here’s what we learned. 

1. Tackling the future of work challenges head-on 

Everyone’s talking about the future of work, digital transformation, and reshaping the modern workplace, but it’s hard to figure out exactly how to tackle these areas in your own business. Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester, J.P. Gownder, has identified the four critical areas influencing our work environments right now: 

  • Systemic risk 
  • Automation 
  • Workforce data 
  • Employee power 

By assessing these four areas and focusing on solutions to bring the workforce into the modern age through powerful digital tools, Gownder believes companies can mitigate threats and capitalize on opportunities in the future of work. 

2. How we can become collaborative powerhouses 

Leadership expert Rob Cross believes collaboration is key to building outstanding teams. With twenty years of research from over 300 organizations under his belt, we were all ears for Rob’s insight into what makes a team successful. 

To engage remote and virtual team members effectively, Rob recommends four essential actions: 

  1. Create awareness of remote team members’ expertise and interests 
  2. Invest in the human connection by organizing in-person meetups, creating spaces for online and in-person connections, and facilitating memorable interactions
  3. Create processes and roles to ensure effective outreach to virtual team members 
  4. Create communication norms across mediums, including email, phone calls, meetings, and direct messages

Collaborating should be a seamless endeavor across your organization by facilitating each of these areas to encompass remote and hybrid teams. 

3. Tackling the dark matter of work 

Earlier this year, Andrew Filev, SVP and Wrike GM at Citrix, spoke about the “dark matter” of work — a fitting metaphor for illustrating the newfound complexity of the modern workplace. 

Andrew says that: “The European Council for Nuclear Research believes that we only see about 5% of all matter in the universe. Yet, the other 95% still exerts its gravitational force on the universe.” 

“I draw this parallel for our modern work environments. Most of the information related to work travels outside of the visible space of our system of records and instead lives in the dark matter of instant messages and video calls. This makes work difficult to deliver, and even harder to predict and scale.” 

It’s clear that once this “dark matter” can be identified, it's easier for teams to implement systems and processes that bring all work into the light for transparency and enhanced productivity. 

4. Leveraging powerful tools for digital transformation 

The latest technological advances in the work management space focus on bringing teams into the digital age. Understanding how you can utilize these opportunities to harness the power of your organization is essential in preparing your organization for the future of work. 

Wrike’s visionary product leader, Alexey Korotich, believes that the next era of work capitalizes on advances specifically in AI, automation, and cloud collaborative work management technologies. These features will separate great teams from the pack and make it possible for any organization to thrive, no matter how complex and dispersed. 

Forward Together for the future of work 

The theme of our 2021 work management conference, Collaborate, explored how we can successfully move forward together into the next era of work. If you missed it, catch up on all of the sessions and exclusive insights right now.  

Access all Collaborate 2021 Sessions now