Open-plan offices, flexible working: the way we work has been undergoing a major revamp as businesses pivot to find the best way to retain staff and maximise productivity.
However, one man at the cutting edge of innovation has a more radical position: the entire concept of nine-to-five work as we know it should be scrapped altogether.
“I just want to point out: whoever invented the corporate world should be shot,” said PictureWealth founder and former DBS Bank chief innovation officer Neal Cross.
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Speaking at the Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit last Friday, Cross shared his views on the absurdity of the corporate work structure.
“If aliens come down tomorrow ... and said, right, let's have a look at this work thing: there's these humans, and they live with these humans who they really love.
“They go to this place that they don't really like, and they spend time with these other people which ... they hate, doing these tasks which they find tedious and boring, and hope they get to stop doing this before they die,” Cross said.
“Then they go back in this metal box, all the way back to the people they love, they spend a little bit of time and then fall asleep.
“They do that nearly every day. Who forced them to do this? We all did. How foolish are we? We are very foolish,” he said.
In his speech, Cross also highlighted the importance of making staff feel valued by giving them a voice and a platform to be heard.
For example, those working in customer service departments have collected years or even decades’ worth of experience and insights from dealing with customers waiting to be shared with senior executive leaders.
“Give them a voice. Give them a process and a place that you can suck this insight out of them,” Cross said.
“All you have to do as a company, all you have to do, very simple thing... Inspire your staff to do their career's best work. That's all you need to do so they don't sit at their desk moaning, ‘oh, I've got a great idea, well I'll do it the next time’.”
Those workers might end up becoming disengaged and channel their ideas into outlets outside of their regular job.
“How can you turn that person ... into someone who's experimental, who's trying new things, who's coming up with ideas, who's talking to customers, who's laser-focused on customers, who wants to shake things up?” Cross said, adding that he had seen the pace of change in some workers accelerate tenfold.
“Unbelievable. You inspire them.”
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