Future of Work Agenda Newsletter: July-August 2010

This is the July-August 2010 issue of our free monthly newsletter, Future of Work Agenda. We welcome comments on any of these articles. You can also access the newsletter directly on our website, at this link.

By the time you read this newsletter it will be almost August, followed closely by September. Where did the summer go?

Actually, of course, if you are anything like us, you may slow down just a bit during the summer months, but it’s generally more satisfying to stay busy (we know we’re ignoring our friends and colleagues in the southern hemisphere, but we hope you’ll bear with us).

And in addition to our recent client work we’ve kept our brain cells in hyperactive mode the last several months by trying to wrestle ” to the ground a really “wicked problem. You can read about our current state of mind in this month’s Feature Article, “21st-Century Space Planning,” so we won’t dwell on it here.

But we want you to know that we’ve developed some deep compassion for those of you out there who have to make major financial commitments to buy, lease, and build out commercial office space. With so much of the workforce on the go almost all the time, how can you possibly predict how much space you’ll need, for how long, and in what locations?

If you suffer from that challenge, read on. We don’t have any answers, but we think we at least know how to think about the problem. And that’s an important first step.

In this issue, you’ll also meet three more of our very talented Future of Work Associates, and you’ll get to peek over our virtual shoulders as we try to stay abreast of the future of technology, of people and organizations, and of place and space. And if you have any “spare” time, we’ve got a couple of important books we think you should be reading.

We also want to take a moment to express our appreciation to our Production Editor and Future of Work Associate Lise LaTorre for her outstanding work on this issue, and on every issue of this newsletter for the past eight years. It couldn’t happen without her, and all too often we take her incredible skills for granted. Thank you, Lise, for work well done!

Finally, as we say every year at this time, we’ll see you in September—this is a combined July/August newsletter. Maybe we can indeed slow down just a bit after all!


Charlie and Jim

Click on any Headline below to access the full story.

1. Feature Article: 21st-Century Space Planning

In today’s mobile, location-independent economy determining how much and what kind of office space an organization needs is an overwhelming task. Organizations can no longer simply build out and maintain a workplace; they must provide many kinds of spaces to support the many different activities we call “work.” And determining how much of each kind of spaces can be extremely difficult.

2. Meet The Associates

We’ve recently invited a small group of people to become Future of Work Associates, a new community of world-class experts who, like us, are committed to helping create the future of work. Each month for the foreseeable future we’re going to introduce several of the Associates here, in the belief that the more you get to know them the more you’ll want to engage with us and them as you create your own future.

3. The Future of Technology

Technology—can’t live with it, can’t live without it. This month we heard about two research studies showing that learning via computers and Internet access produces lower math and reading scores, while reading old-fashioned books improves academic performance. On the other hand, there are now robot teachers that actually help autistic kids get better.

4. The Future of Place and Space

On July 14 the House of Representatives passed the Telework Improvements Act, which will make it far easier for federal employees to telecommute. While the Act must still be reconciled with a similar bill passed by the Senate in May, the future looks very promising for telecommuting.

5. The Future of People and Organizations

Trust is an essential foundation of organizational design and leadership. We point you to a thought-provoking essay on trust-based organizations from Bentley College Professor Raj Sosidia.

6. The Future of Work Design

We point you to a very thoughtful and incredibly important article about creating jobs in the United States, by Andy Grove, former CEO and Chairman of Intel.

7. The Bookshelf: Stuff We Are Reading (and So Should You)

This month we highlight two books focused on talent management and relationships.

8. What’s Happened/Happening?

Brief announcements and notes about where Jim and Charlie have been, are, and will be, holding forth in public conversations and other activities.

As usual, your comments and reactions to any of these articles are more than welcome. Please send your thoughts to us at any time.