3 Trends Shaping Work Management

BrandPost By Smartsheet
Nov 08, 2017
IT Leadership

Empower your workforce to work autonomously, remove friction from work, and accelerate and celebrate accomplishments with these ideas.

We’re seeing a fundamental shift in the way that today’s leading organizations empower their workforce with technology. Enterprise technologies have traditionally formed a pyramid, with heavyweight specialist tools at the strategic pinnacle and work execution tools at the tactical foundation.

But in fast-moving organizations, strategy doesn’t typically leak down from the specialist tools to the execution layers. Instead, IT leaders are learning to look at the work management layers, typically at the base of the pyramid, as strategic enablers.

By adopting this mindset, the entire organization can get more work done better and faster, and in ways that reveal a whole new layer of ideas and execution.

By embracing new trends in work management, you can empower your workforce to work autonomously, remove friction from work, and accelerate and celebrate accomplishments –  to deliver real business value. Read on to learn more about the three trends shaping the future of work management – and the future of innovation.

  1. The growth of autonomous teams

Work is becoming increasingly decentralized. Ownership of complex work is no longer exclusively the work of official PMOs. Instead, knowledge workers in almost every department are stepping up to lead projects and cross-functional teams.

Competitive organizations embrace this change and give their teams the autonomy to self organize. By letting your teams build their own workflows and processes, you give them the freedom to generate new ideas more quickly and impact the overall success of the business. Increasingly, we’re seeing industry leaders choose tools that help teams embrace this type of agility.

In the coming year, we’ll see more work management tools that offer flexibility for teams, while still providing some level of control; in this way embracing autonomy doesn’t mean  lack of consistency.

  1. Creative automation

From productivity suites like Google and Microsoft to work management apps like Smartsheet, we’re increasingly seeing automation innovations that remove friction from processes and workflows.

Knowledge workers will only continue to create more data, and combined with input from the built, physically instrumented environments we interact with on a daily basis, people analytics that will intelligently connect to automation will become more common in the workplace (Amazon Alexa working together with your Office 365 Calendar is just the tip of the iceberg). We’ll see more automation in everyday tools to help connect people with people, people with things, and things with things. This type of automation will make work management tools even more useful in replacing the manual work to understand what other people are doing in different organizational silos and the context of their work.

  1. Increased focus on creating internal visibility

Similar to the idea of a customer-first culture, a new trend is emerging: organizations developing  an employee-obsessed culture. It only makes sense, as attracting and retaining talent is becoming more difficult than ever — and critical to remain competitive.

In the coming year, more attention will be given to the power that comes from making individual and team-based achievements visible to the rest of a company, and the role work management technology can play in socializing accomplishments. Work management platforms will continue to add functionality where users can share achievements instantaneously – both to boost employee morale, and to share best practices and help generate new ideas. When new achievements can be shared in real time, at scale, organizations can move with agility.

Usability Remains the Most Important Element

All these trends hinge on one very important assumption: that your organization has adopted a work management platform that your users embrace.

If you have tools in place that your employees are actually using, teams truly can operate autonomously, yet within approved structures. Automated workflows and processes, as well as recognizing employees and their achievements, will benefit everyone.

When you look for tools that give users the autonomy they crave, eliminate friction, and share exciting accomplishments, you’ll be amazed at the new ways you can solve your business problems.