Anywhere Workspace2 min read

The Future of Work: How to Encourage Innovation and Connection in a Distributed Workforce 

Business team doing a video conference in the office

Top 3 Takeaways from the Future of Work Podcast Featuring Renu Upadhyay and Adam Smiley 

The pandemic caused organizations to make a sharp pivot from being in the office full-time, to moving the workforce completely remote. Now, nearly three years later, organizations are finding a balance that promotes team collaboration and innovation, while still giving employees the autonomy to work from anywhere. Renu Upadhyay, VP of Product Marketing, and Adam Smiley Poswolsky, Author, Speaker, Workplace Belonging Expert, got together and shared their insights on how to navigate the future of work. They each discussed their personal experiences and learning lessons, commenting on the trends and opportunities they are seeing when it comes to the distributed workforce, how and where employees prefer to work, and how organizations can adapt to meet the evolving needs of employees.  

We have experienced a huge paradigm shift over the past couple of years. This uncertainty has accelerated change to the point where work and collaboration look completely different today. What do these changes mean for navigating the future? 

Listen to the full Future of Work podcast episode, "The Distributed Work Dilemma: A Conversation with Renu Upadhyay and Adam Smiley Poswolsky" on VMware Podcasts

Here are the top 3 takeaways from this podcast episode. 

  1. Commit to a Vision 

Smiley shared how many companies have been scared to commit to a workplace vision due to uncertainty. He referenced the statistic from The Distributed Work Dilemma study that shared how only 12% of respondents stated their work policy was permanent. Companies have been hesitant to commit to a model, leaving many employees feeling unsure of their future. Will their role stay remote, or will there be a return to the office? Companies must have a clear narrative of the future of work in order to garner trust from their employees. Communication is key to creating a shared vision on the path forward. Without commitment, employees are left wondering if they could perhaps find certainty and security elsewhere, which leads to our next topic. 

  1. Resignation = Disconnection 

The true reason for mass resignations is because employees are feeling disconnected. Smiley shared how this has been his greatest insight through speaking with organizations. He wrote an article for the Harvard Business Review on how the Great Resignation is truly the Great Disconnection. Smiley shared: “People are leaving because they feel disconnected. And when we actually invest in those people and create an environment where they feel seen and heard – you know they are going to do great work.” In this new world, connection matters more. 

  1. Innovation Requires Psychological Safety 

“Innovation means breaking the norm,” said Renu on the Future of Work podcast. She discussed how it takes courage to suggest an idea that may go against the norm or status quo. This requires psychological safety from your teammates and leaders. Sharing a new idea requires vulnerability and one must feel safe to take the risk. “Someone doesn’t say that’s a terrible idea, but tell me more,” shared Renu. This is an important consideration for companies who are looking to implement greater innovation. Listen to the full podcast to hear the tips Renu shared on how leaders can train their managers to create psychological safety for their teams. 

Other highlights from this podcast episode include conversations around the employee–employer power shift, mental health, and how to create connections in a distributed environment. Tune in to this thought-provoking conversation where Renu and Smiley share personal stories on navigating the future of work. 

Check out the VMware End User Computing Blog to learn more about how organizations can create a workplace that promotes innovation and connection through automation technology: