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Survey on Transformation, the Future of Work and Optimism

This study on Transformation, the Future of Work and Optimism commenced in September 2021 led by our Advisory Board Member Jeff Kerr Bell.

The Centre for Optimism asks people and organisations, “What makes you Optimistic?” Why? Science says realistic optimism is the underpinning of good mental and physical health, leadership, strategy, innovation and resilience.

Even before the pandemic, society saw a rise in anxiety around technology’s impact on work. Likewise, the pandemic-driven increase in working from home with more technology has seen both positive and negative responses in employees and employers.

In this survey, we asked people to share their experiences, practices, thoughts and wisdom to help people, leaders, organisations – and you – discover how to increase optimism about the future of work and become more innovative and resilient.

Do you see a "Better Normal" for your work post-COVID?


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"Cleaner, healthier, more innovative, more flexible"

"We need to make sure that people are empowered and belong and not alienated in this challenging time."

"Teams will genuinely have flexible working to maximise productivity, learning and efficiency and not just time off for hair cuts."

"More adept use of online meetings and connections."

"Greater trust in people's ability to work flexibly."

"It starts with acceptance and not looking back at what was. We need to get more comfortable with ambiguity and also listen more to our people who have learnt new ways to work and ensure we bank these learnings and not try and go back to what was before."

"I am working in the outdoors, but in an industry that is brutally closed down. However, the state of emergency means that nothing can happen. Participants in a group tour may be capped, which currently occurs, and small reminders of practices, which I hope will not be necessary for a length of time."

"The previous normal did not work. So the better normal has to look at the changes that have taken place and include them in the 'better' process."

 What is the main element you want in your future business environment? 

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What makes you optimistic about the Future of Work?  


"The pandemic has made people and organisations rethink what hybrid work looks like and will lead to better outcomes for wellbeing and employee satisfaction.

"Better work-life balance

"Innovation and opportunity

"That remote and hybrid work will be a norm for the future"

"People and companies might be more flexible and realistic."

"Broader diversity of skills will be required, which presents an opportunity for many."

"I believe that business will bounce back once the lockdowns end. But, importantly, I believe some of the changes and 'pivots' that have happened over the 20 months will improve efficiency and help work-life balance."

"Uptake of remote/working from home during the Covid pandemic has demonstrated high productivity in workforces, reduced need for intense management and considerable savings in personal time formerly taken up by travel, work meetings and social mingling. The almost overnight uptake of Zoom and other Apps across Aus and the Globe have improved connectivity in workplaces and between interstate and OS branches and facilitated partnerships. The need for business travel will never be the same again! While there have been greater pressures on many parents working from home and having to home school, particularly in Victoria (Australia), many families have benefitted from more shared time and the increased understanding and appreciation of each other, good and regular home-cooked meals, etc. On the other hand, I know in some families there has been domestic violence and stress; some relationships have imploded and made things worse."

"Ability to return to the office post-vaccine. Greater flexibility. Things will be better than 2020/21. There is a better use of technology."

"There are always so many possibilities in what we as humans can do and need to do moving forward. I feel I have so much more to offer: I am just getting started."

"I believe that people are creative, inventive and that they cannot be suppressed. I understand that even with compliance issues, with the possibility that some businesses may not survive, there will be a renaissance of different models to engage people. I have hope.

"A new way of work."


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