The future of work is already here, it's time to see it

27 June 2023

By Cherie Mylordis

The future of work is not a distant concept awaiting our arrival. It’s already here, beckoning us to open our eyes and notice its transformative potential.  

While the media's buzz around the four-day working week persists in Australia and across the world, I ask you to engage in a more profound conversation about the future of work. Because if we don’t, we risk everything. 

And the good news is, you don’t have to be a CEO to bring future-focused changes to your organisation. By taking practical, achievable steps, you can start doing the best work of your life.  

But to be honest, I think Australia already has a bit of catching up to do.  


We’ve reached a signpost in the evolution of work 


The pandemic has served as a catalyst, magnifying the problems that have long plagued our work environments. As the world still grapples with an uncertain future, we find ourselves at a pivotal signpost - a moment of choice.  

Will we retrace our steps along the well-worn path of the past, patting ourselves on the back for dabbling in hybrid work arrangements, four-day weeks, and somewhat superficial incentives? Or dare we venture onto a new road - one already trodden by a few intrepid pioneers of radically progressive organisations worldwide? 

We have a choice. This is our moment. But there’s a problem we must acknowledge - outdated work practices and organisational models impede our progress.  

It’s time to envision a better way of doing things in Australia, where to dare to defy convention. 


Outdated ways of working are holding many organisations back


Despite remarkable advancements forged through four industrial revolutions, outdated work practices and models hold us back.  

Consider the organisational chart - an emblem of hierarchical structures that has endured for over a century. In its inception, this model served to shepherd people from fields and farms into the rigid framework of factories. Those at the pyramid’s base were mere cogs in a machine, devoid of knowledge or agency. 

But does this antiquated structure still serve us today? Can’t we find better ways to organise our people and our work?  

The answer lies within progressive organisations that have defied convention. These beacons of change demonstrate the value of giving people more space and opportunity to thrive outside the confines of rigid hierarchies and job descriptions.  


The future of work is already here, hidden in plain sight 


For years, I’ve followed the radical progress achieved by a handful of organisations worldwide. These pioneers have showcased a better way of working. But we need to see them and take notice. 

These organisations range from teams of 100 to conglomerates with over 15,000 employees across various sectors. And while no universal formula for their success exists, I believe they share key traits.  

They all have a bold purpose, while autonomy and transparency breathe life into decision-making, diverging from the conventional pyramid-style model. 

In some of these organisations, employees shape their own work. They craft their own contracts, author their job descriptions, and set personal targets. These practices, alien as may sound to us here in Australia, have proven immensely successful. 

Future-focused organisations already exist. But we need to see them and take notice.

The dawn of a new era: working in 3D 


These progressive organisations and their leaders embody three fundamental traits, which I refer to as the three Ds: Dare, Ditch, and Dial. 

  • Dare to think differently and embrace a bold purpose. 
  • Ditch the outdated practices that hold back progress. 
  • Dial-up contemporary methods unleash the potential of their people, so they can delight customers and solve real problems. 

But while these organisations are spread over different parts of the world, I have yet to learn of any in Australia.  


Does Australia need to catch up in the transformation game? 


Our country boasts many startups that are pushing the boundaries of innovation. But consider our larger, legacy organisations. Are they content to cling to outdated models that no longer serve our best interests? Will they now settle for incremental changes, superficially adopting hybrid work arrangements with a few employee sweeteners thrown in? Or will they dare to explore more progressive options for the future of work? 

I’m currently working on a radical transformation project with a prominent conglomerate in the Philippines. They’re empowering their people to step up to solve big problems, and they’re achieving incredible results.  

So I ask you, if a large organisation in a developing country can embark on such a profound transformation, what does it say about us in the "lucky country"? Why are we not venturing down the same path? 


Embracing the 3D Future of Work in Australia 


Now is the time to envision a brighter future for Australia, where we dare to defy convention.  

Take a moment to reflect on your own team and organisation. What meaty problems stare you in the face? What audacious changes can you imagine? 

Think about the outdated work practices that slow you down. Does the pyramid org structure truly enable you to do your best work, or does it hold you back?  

If we can ditch some of those outdated practices that no longer serve us, we create space to dial up progressive ways of working and collaborating. We can lean into some of the big issues facing our communities. 

What’s stopping you from doing the best work of your life? And what stops the people you work with from doing theirs? Whether you are a leader, a consultant or an employee, the three Ds—Dare, Ditch, and Dial—can ignite a spark of transformative thinking, guiding your approach. 

Our world teems with challenges awaiting solutions, and time is of the essence. As Australians, I know we're more than capable of punching above our weight. The responsibility lies with us to embrace this critical signpost in the evolution of work. 

The future of work is already here – can you see it? Australia's work transformation starts with you.


Are you a leader who wants to empower your team to do the best work of their lives? 

Talk to me about my workshops, masterclasses and leadership coaching. 

Enable extraordinary 

Subscribe to Blog and Newsletter