Town Hall Series: The Workplace of the Future

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As technology continues to advance and evolve, workplaces are constantly working to keep up with the ever-changing landscape. Automation, diversification, demands of millennials and shifting cultural norms around employee well-being pose challenges for established companies and startups alike.

Advertising Week New York kicked off its 14th year with a Town Hall discussion focused on what the American and global workforce will look like as technology advances over the next few decades. Led by CNBC entertainment and media correspondent Julia Boorstin, the Town Hall conversations revolved around how to create a thriving and resilient management culture for the future.

“Culture is a company’s immune system”

– Arianna Huffington, Founder & CEO of Thrive Global

One thing all great business leaders can agree on is that culture is the most valuable asset of a company. As Bill Koenigsberg, president, CEO and founder of Horizon Media stated, having a strong company culture and a clear purpose are more important now than ever. Culture drives productivity, not vice versa. As technology is present in every aspect of our lives, it becomes harder and harder to unplug. We live by a 24/7 work schedule that very quickly leads to burn out. The human operating system needs time to power down and recharge. The term “work/life balance” is one that we hear over and over again, but Arianna Huffington and Frances Frei don’t believe in it. Rather than a balance, work and life support and enhance one another. When people are burnt out they act out, and burnout has a direct impact on behavior at the workplace and company success. We live under the false notion that in order to succeed you need to burn out, but the reality is anything but.

Arianna Huffington, founder and CEO of Thrive Global considers unflappability to be the greatest attribute of strong leadership, but knows that when you try to be great at too many things you end up exhausted and mediocre. Frances Frei’s advice? Pick the things you’re going to be great at, and be okay with the things you’re bad at. This is true not only for people, but for organizations too. The SVP of leadership and strategy at Uber notes that it is not just employees who can burn out, but companies as a whole are capable of reaching their breaking point when trying to take on too much at once.

As technology advances, companies need to remember that technology is not the competitive advantage – their people are. Ellyn Shook, chief leadership and human resources officer of Accenture, states that tech should allow us to elevate humans, not eliminate them. Companies need to find a way to stay relevant in this age of disruption. When it comes to innovating, Koenigsberg is experimenting with sleep pods within Horizon Media to allow employees to re-energize during the day. Using technology to solve the problems associated with company culture is one way organizations can take advantage of the changing landscape and stay afloat amidst change.

From improving company morale to implementing innovative technology, there is no single model for the workplace of the future, and now it’s up to you and your company to decide how to keep up with the changing landscape.

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