At Kiln, we’re thinking a lot about the future of work. Nearly all of our strategic decisions as a company are about optimizing for the future. Whether it be our expansion throughout the lifestyle-oriented Mountain West and West Coast, our open-layout workspace designs, or our flexible membership policies, we’ve positioned ourselves to stay.
We look towards industry leaders for trends, data, and information. Just last month, Microsoft published its 2021 Work Trend Index: Annual Report. Their strategy was to take insight from 2020 – a year that changed work forever – and use it to predict that the post-pandemic era will pose an equally dramatic disruption to the corporate world.
In total, Microsoft published seven trends for business leaders to know in 2021. We’d like to share them with you!
1. “Flexible Work is Inevitable”
Microsoft establishes that hybrid work is here for the foreseeable future. It’ll be up to business leaders to accommodate their employees’ desire for the “best of both worlds.” For most business leaders, this means supplementing salaries with stipends for home-office and remote-work needs. Microsoft estimates that “46 percent of workers say their employer helps them with remote work expenses” and this number will continue to rise. In fact, in areas that are “ahead of the return-to-work curve, this trend is gaining traction… 78 percent in China say their employer helps with remote work expenses — a significant increase over the global average of 46 percent.”
At Kiln, we’re taking hybrid work strategies to the next level. Our membership packages accommodate teams of 2 to 50 employees with open models and private studio offices. Individual and office memberships are flexible and can be signed monthly. Our flexible memberships also accommodate teams that only come into the office on certain days of the week, teams that split their time between remote and in-person working, between different Kiln locations throughout Utah and Colorado.
We also take care of all of the amenities that employees (remote or in-person) could want. Complimentary or discounted parking, virtual conference meeting rooms, printing services, kitchens, mail services, phone booths, high speed internet, cleaning services, a business address, and reception services are included in all Kiln memberships. A traditional long-term lease or corporate real estate strategy (where you’d be responsible for furnishing and managing your office) is expensive. You might consider the steep price tag each of these amenities costs you in addition to the new pandemic-era expectation that you provide stipends for remote work costs.
2. “Leaders are Out-of-Touch with Employees”
Microsoft found that in 2020, those with decision-making authority (business leaders) were faring better than their employees. With a redefined work landscape, workers are feeling disconnected, burnt-out, and tired.
At Kiln, we believe that having a thoughtful approach to hybrid work will be key to ensuring your company’s success. The stakes are high here. In fact, employees are evaluating their next career moves and reordering their priorities like never before. An estimated “41% of the global workforce is likely to consider leaving their current employer within the next year.” Employers who don’t opt for a creative, flexible approach to post-pandemic work will risk losing an unprecedented number of employees. This is why Kiln is helping our members establish their hybrid work strategies, adapting to the needs of our members, and changing our policies to optimize flexibility. Check out our recent article on Tips for Transitioning Back to the Office.
3. “High productivity is masking an exhausted workforce”
It’s no surprise that Microsoft reported that the workforce has experienced a significant and potentially detrimental rise in the digital intensity of their work. They demonstrate an increase in expected availability of workers, as evidenced by low response times, increased virtual chatting and emailing between employees, more time spent in meetings, and more shared document working. Microsoft also describes the toll of ad hoc scheduling, and the skyrocketing and unsustainable levels of digital engagement that most employees have adopted.
We’re also realizing that without time and space to work asynchronously, many workers feel like they can’t get anything done. At Kiln, we take workplace design seriously. Our open-layout spaces with shared atriums, fireplace lounges, kitchens, cafes, gyms, and theatres are meant to facilitate time at- and time away from your laptop. More private spaces like wellness rooms (featuring massage chairs!) and individual phone booths will allow you to decompress alone.
4. “Gen Z is at risk and will need to be re-energized”
In their annual report, Microsoft analyzes the youngest workplace generation: Generation Z. Those who are early in their career (18-25yo) are more likely to be feeling isolated and struggling financially. At a time when networking is vital, it’s been ripped away almost entirely.
Without chance encounters, hallway run-ins, coffee breaks, and small talk, Gen Z employees are feeling less connected to their team. We don’t underestimate the importance of chance encounters with other Kiln members and meaningful conversations with people who work in completely different fields and industries. Regular programming events like Kiln Waffle Wednesdays and Après Work happy hours are designed to give you a break that you can look forward to.
We also allow dogs at Kiln…without a doubt, this is the fastest way to make friends with other members!
5. “Shrinking networks are endangering innovation”
When the world “went remote,” our interactions with our larger, distant networks diminished. Many people may feel that this trend parallels patterns in our social and personal lives as well.
Kiln exists so that companies don’t feel isolated or siloed. Rather, Kiln exists because collaboration promotes innovation. We cater our programming events and services to entrepreneurs, early stage companies, and founders. If everyone frequents the same physical space, spontaneous idea-sharing will inevitably occur.
Even though we still can’t gather together like all is normal, the Kiln community teams are doing everything they can to arrange meaningful events at Kiln in-person and virtually. Check out our ever-changing list of upcoming events.
6. “Authenticity will spur creativity and wellbeing”
Have you virtually met your colleagues’ family or pet or kids this year? You’re not alone. Compared to a year ago, many people are more comfortable bringing their authentic selves to work, “less embarrassed when their home life shows up at work”, and have leaned on their coworkers in ways that made work feel more human.
We’re super excited to see these ideas come to fruition. Continuing to build social capital is so important. At Kiln, we’re always looking for new ways to create community where authenticity, social support, and well-being are top priorities.
7. “Talent is everywhere in a hybrid work world”
Remote work has “broadened the talent marketplace.” Your LinkedIn has probably been flooded with remote job listings. People are moving around to places they actually want to live, now that an office building doesn’t keep them in a particular city or town.
If you’re local to Park City, Salt Lake City , Boulder, and Lehi, you’ve probably noticed an influx of people moving in to take advantage of remote work in a place with easy access to nature. Change is happening, and Kiln is ready to accommodate teams of locals and newcomers alike. As a leader, you never know who your next Co-Founder, mentor, or employee will be. Meet them at Kiln.
In line with new findings and research, Kiln is well equipped for the future of work. Microsoft’s full report is available here. Finally, if you have any thoughts about the future of work, the Kiln team is always here to chat. Contact us and book a tour here.