July 12, 2016
By: Ron Bettin
An earlier version of this article first appeared on WORKshiftCanada.com.
Recently, I was reading an article in the Globe and Mail by Harvey Schachter on the Myths about millennials in the workplace. The author pointed out that there are many assumptions that have been reported on this generation that are not necessarily true. However, "we can thank millennials for pushing work cultures towards true flexibility."
The workplace is shifting!
The past few years have given me a unique perspective on this shift and I am seeing first hand how the influence of millennials and progressive GenXers is making a profound and positive change to the way business, institutions and individuals are approaching work.
A high performance culture does not need a location: After a long career in the oil and gas industry, I decided to enroll in the Queen's Executive MBA through the Smith School of Business. Utilizing technology, this program has created virtual and interactive boardroom classes in every region in Canada. This broad perspective in the classroom adds greater richness to the discussions that span the country.
The modern worklpace has movement: A downside of modern technology is that it has created a sedentary lifestyle and "sitting has become the new smoking." As an Executive MBA student, I found myself sitting all day working, and then sitting all evening studying. Looking for a solution led to the invention of a treadmill desk that classmates and I ended up taking to market. Our experience at Fitneff has been that busy people are looking for ways to integrate movement into their workplace.
Collaboration is the norm: With an entire workforce emerging that has grown up with social media and 'sharing', working in isolation is not longer the normal way of doing business. According to a recent PWC report, Engaging and empowering Millennials, expect to have access to the best tools for collaboration and execution at any time. Recently, I have been involved in the start-up of a new coworking space for entrepreneurial professionals in Calgary called ReSourceYYC. Not surprisingly, the number one desire for mos of the members is to be part of a collaborative community that is positive, supportive and enabled with productive technology.
In this world of increasing competitiveness and economic challenges, the traditional workplace experience can be very difficult. If we embrace changes to the way we "do work", it can have a positive impact and result in increased productivity and employee satisfaction. It is encouraging to see organizations like WORKshift Canada provide tools and resources to help companies implement this change in the workplace.
The future workplace that has flexibility, movement and collaboration is good for us all!
Ron Bettin, CEO and co-founder of Fitneff, is a Canadian entrepreneur with more than 25 years of management and entrepreneurial experience. As a co-founder of several companies, he has a strong understanding of the importance of building shareholder value and the creation of successful teams. He is a greaduate of the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology and has an MBA from the Queen's Smith School of Business.
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Today, on International Women’s Day, I have chosen to profile Laurel Walzak, the female co-founder of Fitneff Inc. Laurel has been successful in so many areas of her career - first as a trailblazer in the sports business industry, then as an entrepreneur and most recently as an Assistant Professor of Sports Media at Ryerson University.
Laurel also spends a great deal of her time and energy outside the office in efforts to advance the careers of young women who are making their start. I asked Laurel some important questions about the role of women in business, and the role that she plays in advocating for other women in her life.