Companies who dare to do differently will be rewarded.
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The remote work revolution has brought many people a sense of balance that they never thought possible. It has opened doors to improve diversity, has made our skies cleaner during rush hour, and allowed parents the flexibility they need to take care of their kids and have a fulfilling career.
Unfortunately, instead of leaning into this incredible future we have created, too many leaders want to go back to the status quo so many of us were forced to contend with for decades.
I, however, am excited about the opportunity we have, right now, to rethink the way we work—making our businesses stronger and our employees’ lives better. Leaders need to rethink what the future can look like—and how we can make it great.
I believe there is a big reward for the companies and the people who dare to do differently rather than just go back to what they know. What does that different future look like? Here are my predictions for what collaboration will look like in 2023—for those who want to reimagine the future.
1. This year will be the Figma-tization of collaboration.
With its infinite canvas, Figma brought a new type of hands-on, remote collaboration to designers. I think that, this year, that type of teamwork will spread to the rest of the organization. Soon, every function—from the CFO running a budget exercise to a marketing team running a campaign—will be able to collaborate with stakeholders on a canvas. By shifting from the status quo—docs, screen shares, emails, comment threads—to this updated mode of working, teams will be more productive and connected.
2. With new tools, meetings will become productive working sessions.
By having tools that allow us to actually work together remotely—as opposed to the work that counts as “collaboration” today—meetings will transform from status updates to productive sessions. At a high level, most teams currently have meeting time to talk about projects and work time to move those projects forward. However, with new tools—like a collaborative canvas for every function—meeting time and work time will merge together, making meetings way more valuable than they currently are. This shift hasn't happened before because we haven't had the right tools—until now.
3. Synchronous and asynchronous work will be done in the same place.
If people across an organization have access to better, truly collaborative tools, it only makes sense that asynchronous work and synchronous work will finally be combined into one platform. This revolution will make it easier to work together, keep track of docs, and hit business milestones without having to toggle between twenty different tabs a day. Working in the same place—like a virtual room or canvas—whether you’re by yourself or with a team, will also allow for more spontaneous moments of synchronous work if colleagues can be in the same place at the same time.
4. People will get tired of the SaaS fragmentation.
There are simply too many SaaS tools in the ecosystem. The modern work environment is cobbled together from dozens of point solutions and we are constantly switching between apps, learning new functions, receiving an endless amount of notifications, and paying for tools we don’t use very often. We need to—and will—start thinking about tools in terms of projects/systems rather than products. Just as Zapier connects SaaS apps through data, new collaboration tools will do so visually, unifying the fragmented work environment to a cohesive ecosystem.
5. AI will eliminate work about work.
Everyone is talking about how ChatGPT and other AI tools will cut down on coding time and revolutionize search. However, I think some of the biggest unlocks AI will bring to the business world will be around meetings. This is not in conflict with ChatGPT. In fact, Large Language Models like ChatGPT will be important for meeting summarization and automation of action items. There will be a layer of intelligence in the system that will eliminate all that work about work, allowing us to be more productive when we do meet with colleagues.
Dare to make change
No matter what, work will continue to evolve. For those of us who dare to be different and embrace the opportunity we have to rebuild work from the ground up, I’m very excited for what’s to come. The status quo hasn’t worked for most people in a long time and now we finally have the tools and momentum we need to change it.