How the Future Works: Leading Flexible Teams To Do The Best Work of Their Lives

How the Future Works: Leading Flexible Teams To Do The Best Work of Their Lives

How the Future Works: Leading Flexible Teams To Do The Best Work of Their Lives

How the Future Works: Leading Flexible Teams To Do The Best Work of Their Lives


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Wall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly, and USA Today Bestseller

Unlock the power of flexible work with this practical “how-to” guide from the leadership of Slack and Future Forum

The way we work has changed. The era of toiling from nine-to-five, five-days-a-week in the office is now a relic of the past, and is being replaced by a better way—flexible work. But flexibility means a lot more than a day or two a week to “work from home”: 93% of your employees want more flexibility in when, not just where, they work. They want choice and they are leaving their roles to find it. The most successful leaders will go much further than offering occasional remote workdays—they will redesign every aspect of how work gets done, from defining how they measure organizational success to training their managers to make it happen.

How the Future Works: Leading Flexible Teams to Do The Best Work of Their Lives offers a blueprint for using flexible work to unlock the potential of your people. The book offers the steps necessary to building the new principles and guardrails to empower flexible, high-performing teams. And it teaches readers to lead with purpose, to manage and measure differently, and to believe that by letting go, they’ll get more back than they thought possible.

How the Future Works explains how to:

  • Establish leadership principles, commitments, and outcomes for truly flexible teamwork
  • Measure and assess productivity in a flexible workplace
  • Reskill managers to ensure a level playing field for all employees
  • Implement the infrastructure necessary to make flexible work successful

Using original research from Future Forum, a consortium by Slack, and global case studies from leading companies such as Levi Strauss & Co., Genentech, Royal Bank of Canada, and IBM, How the Future Works offers concrete solutions and practical steps for building high functioning teams of talented, engaged people by providing them with the flexibility and choice they need to do their best work.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781119870951
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 05/17/2022
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 650,650
Product dimensions: 9.10(w) x 6.10(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

BRIAN ELLIOTT is Executive Leader of Future Forum, a consortium backed by Slack and founding partners Boston Consulting Group, MillerKnoll, and Management Leadership for Tomorrow. Future Forum enables leaders to redesign work to be better for people and organizations. He has spent three decades leading teams and building companies as a startup CEO, at Google, and now at Slack where he is a Senior VP. Brian’s a proud father of two young men.

SHEELA SUBRAMANIAN is Vice President and co-founder of Future Forum. She has 20 years of experience building high-growth global teams across Google, Slack, and startup organizations. As a champion for workplace equity, her work is cited in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Fast Company, and other top-tier publications. Sheela earned her BA from Stanford and MBA from Harvard Business School and is the mother to two magical daughters.

HELEN KUPP is a co-founder and Senior Director of Future Forum. She has led many of Slack’s largest cross-functional and growth initiatives, and is the creator of many of Future Forum’s playbooks, tapping Future Forum’s research and networks along with her experiences at Slack, Bain & Company, startups, and her MBA from Harvard Business School. She’s also the lucky mom of two wonderful children.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Stewart Butterfield

Introduction: The 9-to-5 Just Doesn’t Work for Us Anymore (and Maybe Never Did)

Why Flexible Work Works

How the Future Works: The 7 Steps to Getting There

Step 1: Stand for Something: Agree on Purpose and Principles

Step 2: Level the Playing Field: Create Guardrails for Behavior

Step 3: Commit to How You’ll Work: Develop Team-Level Agreements

Step 4: Experiment, Experiment, Experiment: Normalize a Culture of Learning

Step 5: Create a Culture of Connection from Anywhere: Reimagine Your Headquarters

Step 6: Train Your Leaders to Make It Work: Soft Skills Matter More Than Ever

Step 7: Focus on the Outcomes: Avoid the Doom Loop and Embrace the Boom Loop


Resources: Your Flexible Work Toolkit


Cast of Experts

About the Authors

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Well-written, insightful and full of practical suggestions for implementing transformative, flexible working. I have no hesitation in recommending this for any organisation that wants to move beyond the sterile home-versus-office debate and introduce a much smarter version of flexibility."
—Andy Lake, Consultant,

"We have arrived at a moment where we can backslide into the status quo or transform society for generations to come. How the Future Works makes the latter possible—providing us with a blueprint to deeply consider the future of work. It is a must-read for today's leaders."
—Indra Nooyi, former CEO, PepsiCo and author of My Life in Full

"We know flexibility is the future of work—the big question is how it’s going to work. This book combines the latest data with actionable advice on giving people more freedom without settling for less excellence."
—Adam Grant, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Think Again and host of the TED podcast WorkLife

"How the Future Works uncovers the key principles for building a culture that connects, supports and inspires every employee in this new all-digital, work-from-anywhere world. It’s an essential guidebook for transforming the way people work and unlocking their potential."
—Marc Benioff, Chair and Co-CEO, Salesforce

"I pay attention to the Future Forum. And if you're interested in folks who take in gobs of data, listen, ask useful questions, and make helpful judgements on how we might work now, you might too."
—Priya Parker, author of The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters

"CEOs confront few topics as complex, urgent, and strategically important as the future of work in a post-pandemic, increasingly digitized world. Brian, Sheela, and Helen highlight pitfalls, provide insight and practical advice to help guide leaders through these choices, and put us on a path to improve work for the benefit of our people and our organizations."
—Rich Lesser, Global Chair, Boston Consulting Group

"The disruption to work ushered in the era for flexible work forcefully. This insightful book provides a framework with examples for successfully implementing flexible, diverse, and inclusive cultures."
—Tsedal Neeley, Professor, Harvard Business School and author of Remote Work Revolution and co-author of The Digital Mindset

"How the Future Works is as valuable as it is much needed for today's executive. The book is excellently conceived, organized and written. Plus, with the checklist at each chapter’s end and the tool kit at the book's closing, it’s very easy to turn this into an action plan. Bravo!"
—Alan Murray, CEO, FORTUNE

"How the Future Works is an incredible resource for business leaders as we navigate seismic changes in today's workplace. The founders of the Future Forum are helping to answer some of the bigger questions we're facing as we reimagine work and create new ways of working that can better serve both employees and employers."
—Tracy Layney, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, Levi Strauss & Co.

"How the Future Works builds a very strong business case to reset how we think about flexibility, resulting in a better, more sustainable work model for both employees and organizations. It provides practical guidance and resources to think through where, when, and how work gets done – and most importantly, why flexibility makes strategic sense. An excellent read for leaders who are re-imagining the future of work post-pandemic, amidst a very competitive talent marketplace."
—Helena Gottschling, Chief Human Resource Officer, Royal Bank of Canada

"As the stress and burnout epidemic continues to grow, it's critical for leaders to put their employees' needs first. How the Future Works is a powerful blueprint for training your leaders to do just that. Not only is employee well-being great for your culture, it’s also great for your business. This is a timely book for all leaders."
— Arianna Huffington, Founder & CEO, Thrive Global

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