When I was a kid, I loved to pogo stick. I’d pogo on the driveway, at the park while my (much cooler) older brother skated, and — much to my mom’s dismay — into the kitchen when dinner was ready. I didn’t do it to fit in — unfortunately being pogo-obsessed does quite the opposite — but rather because of the entranced state I’d enter.
Positive psychologies call this state “flow,” meaning a state of full, energized presence and focus. Recently, we created a new word — or concept, really, to encompass a version of this at work: The Oneness. It’s like flow, sorta like pogo-ing, but much more mystical. Because in an ideal world, like pogo-ing, you feel unstoppable and like you’re no longer confined by the typical way of being.
With people resigning in droves and burnout running rampant in corporate culture, it’s clear that work isn’t working. The good news? In any inflection point, there’s an opportunity to reassess. People are talking of the new roaring twenties, and it’s contingent on technology — which exists to disrupt the status quo. Will our technological enlightenment come crashing down, or will we really learn this time?
We believe that a whole new world of work is possible. While it may feel out there to some, by reimagining the feeling one should get from work, we can break down what the future of workplace dynamics should look like. And hey — that doesn’t mean business metrics and data are de-prioritized, but rather that they need to be considered alongside more human-centric ideals. Here are principles that come along with this heightened state of working.
7 Principles of the Oneness
Information is easy for anyone to access
You’re on an important client call or trying to respond to an email ASAP, but you can’t find the critical context needed to give an informed response. We’ve all been there. In the Oneness, information is at your fingertips. This means that you don’t need to be an expert or have insider access to gain the knowledge you want and need. And, in turn, everyone understands the customer fully — so decisions are driven by a holistic picture of customer needs.
This kind of information transparency — be it customer context, business results, and revenue, or internal human resources questions like salary — is foundational for happy employees. More importantly, happy people.
Communication is authentic.
In the Oneness, humans are at the heart of business. This means that productivity doesn’t translate to robo-everything, or that the only way to reach your efficiency goals is through turning humans into ticket numbers.
In short: Automation doesn’t mean removing humans from businesses, it means enabling humans to do the work that matters. Investing in communication tools that work — and investing in people over software — makes for a world where work drives authentic human-to-human interactions, and workflows are built-in support of that.
Everyone is equal.
It’s impossible to enable this idyllic reality without changing the policies and dynamics that have historically favored some people over others. Moving forward (actually, this one should’ve happened yesterday), business success will depend on making changes that sustain a more equitable future:
Create flat organization structures that enable anyone to speak to leadership, and put feedback methods in place that allow people to submit it in a variety of intuitive ways.
Build inclusivity and belonging into company goals. Diverse teammates, customers, and software will support businesses, and teams will have processes that uplift and empower everyone.
Provide benefits that support equality, meaning parental leave, sick leave, and minimums on time off. These policies should allow humans of all backgrounds, abilities, and levels to be supported in meaningful ways that enable their health and happiness.
Ultimately, the Oneness isn’t achieved when you’ve checked these boxes, it’s achieved when everyone feels it. But it won’t happen without reconstructing workplace dynamics.
Flexibility is the norm.
For knowledge workers, the days of rigid scheduling and the traditional 9 to 5 workweek are gone, as is the requirement of working directly from an office every day. Fulfillment in life necessitates flexibility in the hours, location, and way people work — so they can balance priorities and keep burnout at bay. And when it comes to knowledge work, that flexibility is totally doable — unlike other industries that inherently necessitate structure and rigidity.
Not only will flexible work ensure happier individuals, but it’ll also drive business outcomes going forward. Policies that empower flexible work will be necessary for employee recruiting and retention and will enable businesses to better serve customers in location, schedule, and style of working. This is also a nod to equality, as different people have different needs based on their role at home, in supporting their family, and in their abilities.
One step we took at Front towards honoring this principle of the Oneness is Flexible Fridays: a company-wide, meeting-free day where online presence isn’t mandatory — so employees can focus on a big project, run errands, or wrap up loose personal and professional ends for the week.
Success includes individuals.
The Oneness is built on the idea that people are at peace with their work lives — which means business success isn’t just measured by revenue and quarterly results. Instead, individual happiness and growth will be key goals measured company-wide.
This means tracking metrics like engagement and satisfaction with work-life balance, and sharing those transparently, will be critical. People will want to engage with companies that have high engagement scores — not places that aren’t investing in employees as people. Customers, too, will strive to work with companies that are doing right by their employees, as the two are more related than we may think.
To put it bluntly: if somebody has to lose for you to win, that’s not a successful outcome.
Collaboration is asynchronous.
Counter to the norm, the future of collaboration is asynchronous. That doesn’t mean that human interactions completely fizzle, but rather that they’re more intentional.
Burnout is a critical issue sweeping businesses, and one of the central reasons is an inability to get work done in the allotted hours. This is in part due to unrealistic demands of synchronous communication, and availability for meetings and brainstorms expected at all hours. Instead, productive businesses will need to build processes for asynchronous communication that prove trust in and respect for employees’ time, allow time to actually complete work, and in turn make room for people to interact in more meaningful, less stressed ways.
Let’s build the Oneness together
While our vision may feel mystical, these principles break the Oneness down into something that feels rather realistic and doable — and necessary, above all. The future of work is changing, and it’s on us to make it the best it can be.
What does your Oneness look like? Submit your examples on Twitter @FrontHQ, or tag us in your Oneness-inspired posts on LinkedIn.
Written by Logan Davis