If you have a time machine and would bring back a random office worker from 40 years ago and show this person how we do business now, what would he or she say? Apart from the sheer impossibility of this idea, that person would most likely be shell shocked. From the use of PCs and laptops that are the fraction of the size, they remember the fact that most people walk around with a mini pc in their pocket: a smartphone. They will be fascinated by this resource that contains all the world’s knowledge: the internet. They might be shocked by the dress code, the widespread acceptance of a cappuccino instead of a black coffee or green tea instead of regular tea. They even might be disappointed we have no flying cars yet.
After all, that, once they have processed all those things, they might even question today’s business practices. Doing business, the approach to employees and their skillset and competing in the industry have all changed drastically. These are some of the things that have changed in business, for good or for bad.
No one has a craft for life. Unless you are a carpenter or plumber, your job will change. No longer will you learn a trade and practice that for as long as you live. Nowadays, with all the technological and societal changes, you are forced to stay relevant continuously. This is done by making sure you are up-to-date and tooled the right way. It’s not uncommon for businesses to push their employees to learn new skills, in fact, it’s vital for businesses to succeed. There is nothing worse than being beaten by your competition, not because they were better than you, but because you stopped evolving.
Another thing would be how we have evolved from usually hierarchical structures to flatter organizations. In most companies, the old model of a pyramid style chain-of-command is something of the past. Flatter, more matrix-type, organizations are seen to be work better. This is mostly to do with the necessity of the company, with all its employees, working towards a common goal. This seems the only way to stay agile and relevant in quickly changing markets. More and more are businesses relying on employees to be autonomous, self-starters, and creative.
In most cases, this requires a different set of instructions and training. Long and exact course work is replaced by interpretation and problem-solving skills. Directional top-down directives are replaced with coaching and 180 degrees feedback.
Also, the world of administration has changed. No longer do we have rooms full of filing cabinets, nowadays everything is registered, processed, and stored on drives and servers. Not only has this saved physical space, but it has also made these types of processes more efficient. There are very few companies who have not automated their administrative processes or are using smart software to do so. It’s easy to see the upside of replacing an inventory book with an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system or understand the benefits of a Human Resources Information System (HRIS). It’s all focused on cutting down on tasks that are distractions, so you can focus on running a lean and modern business.