Curious What the Future of Tech Looks Like? These Leaders Have Some Premonitions.

If the past two years have taught us anything, it’s how to adapt.

Written by Tyler Holmes
Published on Dec. 13, 2021
Curious What the Future of Tech Looks Like? These Leaders Have Some Premonitions.
Brand Studio Logo

If 2020 was about the modern world being flipped upside down, then 2021 was about letting the pieces settle and analyzing where everything landed — especially in tech.

Shifting to remote work overnight was a colossal mission with no guidebook or precedent to follow, but a majority of companies adjusted their focus to create a sense of stability for the future. While the transition wasn’t seamless, employees gradually began to realize what their priorities were and learned that changing an outdated system could be a powerful motivator to generate better work. Simply put, we adapted and did our best.

The saying goes that hindsight is 20/20. But what if foresight could be 20/20 too? By implementing work strategies that built a solid foundation for teams in a whirlwind of uncertainty, two Los Angeles tech leaders have a clearer vision for the future in 2022. 

“We realized a one-size-fits-all model isn’t ideal, and what was most important to our team was the ability to increase and maintain connection with their colleagues,” said Charlene Kurth, VP of operations and culture at SimplePractice. “Rather than dictate the specifics of our way of working in this new environment, we created a model of accountable flexibility.”

That’s why Built In LA caught up with Kurth and Beyond Limits Recruitment Manager Ken Shugerman to find out what key trends they believe will carry over from the post-pandemic business model and what potential futures are manifesting on the horizon.

 

Charlene Kurth
Vice President, Operations & Culture • SimplePractice

 

2021 forced us all to reimagine how and where we work. What is a key work trend that emerged this year that you predict will continue to gain momentum in the year ahead?

A key trend that emerged for us is intentionality. No matter how flexible, accountable or adaptable your team may be, without clarity, thoughtfulness and intentionality, your team won’t be successful. While our work environment wasn’t broken, we wanted to make it better by taking into account what we learned the past two years.

We brought the same intentionality that we have for our product and culture to our work environment, and spent time critically thinking about where and how we work in the first place, questioning “Where do we need to be for everyday meetings?” or “How do we need to launch products in this environment?” We rethought what the status quo was, pushing beyond letting remote work be what it is.

That intentionality allowed us to create a framework that supports our company, customers and employees. It furthered the trust we have in our team members to make responsible decisions based on the needs of their work to drive overall success of our company. This intentionality will continue well into the future because it means we constantly question what we’re doing today and how we can improve it. It means we are iterative and so is our future of work framework.

In 2022, we’ll be focused on creating an environment that allows for deeper connections and relationship building.”

 

How has your company adapted over time to the workplace shifts brought on by the pandemic? 

When we first went remote, it was in a Thursday meeting at 9 a.m. and we asked our team to be off premise by 12 p.m. We had no idea then that nearly two years later, the way we worked would be changed forever. Our team adapted fast for our customers which was beautiful to see. During this time, we learned to lean in and embrace the ambiguity and need for flexibility — and that had a permanent impact on the way our team works.

We realized a one-size-fits-all model isn’t ideal, and what was most important to our team was the ability to increase and maintain connection with their colleagues. Our company culture embraces the idea that responsible people thrive on freedom, trust and the ability to make a difference. So rather than dictate the specifics of our way of working in this new environment, we created a model of accountable flexibility, where each individual is expected to take into account what is best for themselves, their teammates, our customers, our business and our culture.

 

As you head into the new year, what do you envision for the future of work?

At SimplePractice, our strong culture and commitment to customer value allowed us to easily transition to new ways of working. In 2022, we’ll be focused on ensuring that we maintain the core of what makes our company unique and successful, evolving operationally to adapt to our new environment, and creating an environment that allows for deeper connections and relationship building.

Our commitment to our culture and our customers is rooted in our employees. As we head into the new year, that means creating more opportunities for our employees to interact and engage beyond a video meeting. While this has been a norm for the past two years, it’s now the norm for the indefinite future. So the intentionality I previously mentioned has to again be applied here to find new, interesting and innovative ways for our team members to connect with one another, continue inspiring one another and create spaces for our 2022 roadmap. Our company culture and workplace experience will continue to evolve according to the needs and conditions of our team in order to give our customers the best possible experience.

 

 

Ken Shugerman
Recruitment Manager • Beyond Limits

 

2021 forced us all to reimagine how and where we work. What is a key work trend that emerged this year that you predict will continue to gain momentum in the year ahead?

Improving the employee experience with a focus on collaboration, health, well-being, flexible and hybrid working, employee advocacy and engagement, and sustainability and smart offices are all things I believe will gain momentum.

We will build an infrastructure that supports the future of work now, with HR developing workers that we will need in the decade to come.”

 

How has your company adapted over time to the workplace shifts brought on by the pandemic? 

When Covid-19 began wreaking havoc on traditional workplace models, many people asked when we might get back to normal. We saw this moment as an opportunity to make things better than normal — to reshape the workplace experience with the best trends that were accelerated this past year. As we envision new and improved experiences at work, many of the ways forward include well-established workplace strategies like flexible work programs and health and wellness amenities.

 

As you head into the new year, what do you envision for the future of work?

I envision two things.

First: how the work is done. This element focuses on employees collaborating with automation and AI to get work done efficiently and innovatively.

Second: workforce planning. We will build an infrastructure that supports the future of work now, with HR leading the way in identifying and developing workers that we will need in the decade to come and beyond.

 

 

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Photography provided by associated companies and Shutterstock.

Hiring Now
ZS
Artificial Intelligence • Healthtech • Professional Services • Analytics • Consulting