Making Headway: The Progression of the American Workplace

The Progression of the American Workplace

The business world is in a constant state of change as new ways of doing business, creative ideas to better serve customers, and ingenious innovations are adopted faster and faster. For small companies and large corporations alike, the pressure to build-in business speed and make operations more agile is omnipresent and ever-growing. In today’s business environment, organizations that are not actively rolling out flexible staffing solutions for their operating units to leverage are doing a true disservice to their customers, employees, and stakeholders.

In the 70s and 80s when many of us grew up, work life was far different than it is today. Our parents often worked for one company for decades. The workday was done at 5, dinner with the whole family was served by Mom an hour later, and evenings were spent with Dan Rather and the newspaper. Maybe this picture represents an idealistic view of America during that period but there was a downside, too. Rigid corporate structures often meant relocation for those climbing the corporate ladder.

My own family moved 13 times during my childhood as my father climbed the ranks of a Fortune 100 manufacturing company! (The joke was, “Kids, you don’t have to do your homework this weekend…we’re moving.”) Economic downturns in the “monolithic workforce” era resulted in massive, morale-busting layoffs. And finally, our mothers were almost forced to choose between having a career outside of the few established professions traditionally open to women or being there to raise their children.

As time has marched on, the old societal and technology constraints imposed on businesses no longer exist. Today, we live in a wonderful world of opportunity fueled by the Internet, information technology, improved communications, fantastic educations, and a smaller global village. Employees no longer relocate…they telecommute. Exceptionally smart women with advanced degrees and children now in high school form a new pool of talent with an enlightened worldview and incredible energy. The line between work life and home life has blurred. So, while the traditional 9AM-5PM workday is disappearing into the rear view mirror, dedicated employees are achieving a new work-life alignment by integrating their work responsibilities into the rest of their lives.

The best and brightest talents in the workforce – the key employees that companies really need to grow and operate their businesses – refuse to be held captive in a cube farm. These individuals are openly embracing change in the work force and new ways to work. In a word, they seek the flexibility to achieve their own optimal work-life balance. For some, it means flexible hours, or the ability to bring their own mobile computing device to work, or working from home. For others, it might mean a unique compensation plan, constant travel, or license to innovate.

At the same time workers attitudes and mindset have changed, the needs of companies have changed. The ability to quickly scale-up or scale-down a project – or an entire operation – is no longer a luxury…it’s a business imperative. Working with business partners, outsource solution providers, and contracted service providers is commonplace. The successful companies of the future already understand that maximum business speed and flexibility is the key to profitability, productivity, and a roadmap of competitive advantage (and not missed opportunity).

At Mom Corps, our mission is to assist companies to understand change and the advantages derived from driving toward modern business speed, agility, and flexibility. It takes the right type of talented employee to understand and appreciate this strategy. We know who they are, and we can help you tap into this extremely valuable pool of human resources.

Mary Kai Macken is Director of Franchise Relations for Mom Corps

Tags: Flexible Cultures

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