To understand the pressures and promise of today’s state of work, start with the people doing the work.
This is what set Slack off on a journey to survey 17,000 knowledge workers across 10 countries in partnership with market research firm GlobalWebIndex. Our goal was to deliver critical insights to help everyone from frontline workers to CEOs understand and capitalize on major shifts in modern work.
It’s no secret that today’s workplace is more technologically driven, complex and interdependent than ever before. This creates a fundamental challenge for all teams and workers worldwide: aligning around a common set of goals.
We found that many people are ready to confront this challenge, but they need support. Workers thrive when they can count on clear communication, effective tools and a strategic vision to follow. In other words, in a world of increasing automation and complexity, a human-first approach can still be the most strategic of all.
The new world of work
The average knowledge worker—that’s anyone (in our survey’s methodology) who holds an office position, works with data, analyzes information or thinks creatively in a typical workweek—must mentally process 174 newspapers’ worth of information each day, according to experts we interviewed.
And robots (mostly) aren’t replacing our jobs; they’re replacing our tasks, leaving us with complicated, rewarding and very human activities, such as creative thinking, complex problem-solving and collaborating.
Given this shift, workers get stuck if they don’t have a clear understanding of where their organization is headed and exactly how their work fits in.
Here’s more of what we found:
- We can find ourselves on one of two distinct paths at work: aligned or unaligned. If we’re aligned with our company’s vision, values and ways of working, things are generally great. According to the data, aligned workers are simply more excited about their organization’s future prospects and feel empowered to make strategic decisions and take action.
- We crave connection to the big picture. Understanding the big picture is no longer solely the domain of executives. Our analysis showed that without insight into a wider vision, we struggle to connect and collaborate. When we’re not in sync with our company’s goals, we tend to feel more pessimistic about where our company is headed, and that’s reflected in our perception and experience of our workplace across a wide range of factors, from collaboration to productivity to compensation.
Fortunately, alignment is not a finite resource. It’s available to all of us, worldwide, and through fairly simple solutions, especially considering the complexity of work today.
Companies can set a clear strategic vision and communicate it frequently. We can adopt tools and techniques to navigate the daunting flow of information we face every day. And perhaps most importantly, we can continue to engage each other in the tasks that only we, as humans, can do well.