Stop Thinking About the Future of Work and Start Thinking About the Future of Living
Chris Herd, Founder & CEO of Firstbase
I want to talk about why refusing to adapt to distribute work is going to kill your business. I’m going to pause, because the next slide is going to tell you everything fully already. I’ve built a business here in the northeast. I’ve raised some money from some of the biggest investors in the world. Kleiner Perkins, the first investors in Google. Andreessen Horowitz, the first investors in Facebook. And we work with businesses all around the world. And that’s to say that I think I have some credibility in some of the things I’m saying. We work with remote companies, we work with hybrid companies, we work with in-office companies. The last three years have obviously accelerated distributed work by 10 or 15 years overnight. Every company was forced to adapt and embrace it during a very hard period of time.
And it could be the most transformative business innovation in the last 100 years if done correctly. What could possibly stand in the way? Return to office is bullshit. Grindr forced people back three weeks ago, 60% of the business quit across the next two weeks. We saw protests outside of Amazon. You’re going to see this happen a lot more. You’re seeing the surface just now. There’s a lot of stuff happening in some of these big companies that really isn’t proliferating through. Hybrid work, I’ve heard a little bit about that tonight. Hybrid work means two things. When workers say it, they mean we want the flexibility to choose what we want. When companies say it, they mean you’re going to come to the office two or four times a week. That disconnect’s a big problem. And it’s going to get worse and worse, same thing as the return to office thing.
What I’m going to introduce tonight is the concept of us as humanity entering a new age, and that’s really about the Cloud economy. The world’s best talent is now a click away instead of a commute away. Now what you can do is more important than where you can do it from. And any company that wants to compete globally has to participate. Companies need the most talented people to win. Why does this matter for me? This, believe it or not, is my dad. In 2008, he lost his shop and became a taxi driver for a decade. He couldn’t access the best opportunities. My family suffered. It was a really, really hard time for us. And distributed work would’ve helped us. And I think that’s what’s really, really important here. Distributed work means a world of unlimited possibilities. What you can do, like I said before, is more important than where you can do it from.
And that can upgrade quality of life, not just for workers, but their families, as well globally. And that’s really, really important. Point number two, distributed work is the biggest DEI initiative in history. Whether you’re a single parent, whether you have a health condition or an impairment that makes it hard or impossible to work in an office, or you just don’t want to work in an office, you can access great opportunities from anywhere. That has a huge impact on the overall economy. Point number three, it’s the biggest green revolution in history. Distributed work is cutting down on the commute. It’s stopping people having to go into office spaces. Office spaces are now empty. This is going to be something that becomes more and more important as ECG rises inside organizations.
The problem we’re all faced, which is the slide we’ll come to in a second, is that this is really hard. Participating in the Cloud economy is hard. Companies are bad at it. People can’t hire globally just now, that’s a huge problem. But what really stands in the way is infrastructure operate, security, and more than anything else, companies trusting your teams. Do you trust your people to do your work when you can’t see them in front of you? And this is only going to accelerate from here. There’s a list of different industries here, a list of different causes as to why they’re being pulled in to distributed work. The one that sticks with me the most is that Ford, which is a 120-year-old company, just hired my friend, Darren Murph, from GitLab, who is the foremost expert on remote work. So, when even the boring, dusty companies are leaning in distributed work, you know there’s an acceleration coming. And talent’s demanding it.
89% of workers want remote or hybrid. 51% of workers would switch jobs if they don’t get it or switch jobs for it. And there’s been a huge acceleration here. Go back before COVID, it was happening. Look at it now, every company is doing it and it only grows from here. Point to finish on, we’re in an inflection point. Who remembers Woolworths, [inaudible 00:04:46]? John Lewis? Department stores got crushed by e-Commerce. They were killed by an unlimited inventory online, convenience of no travel and lower costs. Everything that killed department stores is coming for companies and, I guess, refusing to adapt, this is what we’re seeing play out in the market just now. Refusing to adapt and embrace distributed work is going to kill your business. So we’re at the point now, are you going to adapt or is your business going to die?
See Chris delivering his presentation at DisruptHR Aberdeen here >>>> https://vimeo.com/876130339
More talks from DisruptHR Aberdeen here >>>> https://hunteradams.co.uk/blog/disrupthr-aberdeen/