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PODCAST: The evolution of work continues to speed up

Written on Apr 21, 2022

By Jessica Salerno-Shumaker, OSCPA senior content manager 

While change is hard to predict, says one futurist, there is still plenty of opportunity to plan and use unexpected change to a competitive advantage.   

“There is sometimes an assumption that change is going to happen along some sort of predictable line,” says David Staley, associate professor in the Department of History at The Ohio State University and president of Columbus Futurists. “I think that the future belongs to the unexpected change, the 90-degree turn from what we're expecting.” 

Staley joined the State of Business podcast this week to discuss major changes taking place in the next five to ten years because of the pandemic and the future of work. 

“Zoom towns,” places that people have moved to during the pandemic, continue to grow in popularity because the remote work environment allows people to live anywhere, he said 

“Some professionals are interested in moving to places that provide a better quality of life, lower cost of living and more affordable housing,” he said. “And maybe that isn't in the same city where their work takes place.” 

Offices will continue to exist, Staley said, but the office will become more about branding for companies and less about a place for employees to stay. He said this could mean workers coming into the office are favored because they can make more personal connections without technology. It could also mean more people covet strictly remote positions because they are not tethered to one location and are free to travel. 

Automation will continue to evolve into something Staley called “the new mobility.” Previous experiences or objects typically thought of as immobile will be disrupted by entrepreneurs who figure out how to make those things mobile and deliverable.   

Staying nimble and open to different types of change will be crucial for businesses in the future. Organizations should look to the future and prepare for the unexpected, not only the changes they know will happen.   

“What we're talking about here are fundamental changes to an industry or fundamental changes to the economy,” he said. “And who in the organization is trying to anticipate and understand perpendicular change?” 

Hear more from Staley at Spring Advance. Register here