Social Currency – The Work Life Shift

We are the new social currency…and it has to do with how we work. I have been reading through a presentation shared with me by Young Office called the New Blend by the Live-Work Foundational Research.

We have changed the ways we work and we are no longer a 9-5 generation. We are working longer hours, spreading the work throughout the day as we integrate “this” into our work/life model. We have shifted to a service-based economy, which can be attributed to many factors including the economy and evolution of family roles. With this shift, new technologies have provided the ability to fulfill this shift by working across different workplace cultures and even time-zones.

I was at a political gathering the other night, talking with a few attorneys pondering the technologies they are using to manage their client relationships. Specifically, how they now interface with their clients. The days of going to the office to put together a report are over, well for some of us. With technologies like DropBox, Basecamp, iPads, Android, and other tools/platforms…we can get an email at 2am, write a proposal, email it out using a template from DropBox, all from the comforts of our beds…in roughly 15 minutes. And then back to dream land.

We are also using social tools to connect. Not only with other people but with brands. With this shift in work environments, working from home has become a solution that dis-engages us from social interactions and brands. The idea of going to work has shifted how we consume knowledge, connect with people, and engage with brands. Working from home, a home office, or other out of the corporate office settings has created the desire to still connect. Technology has re-connected us to people and brands…and this social currency is a product of our working environments.

Young Office will be hosting a very cool event in October and one of the presentations is centered around exploring Generation Y. This is from Steelcase, one of Young Office’s manufacturing relationships:

“Generation Y will be the largest segment of the workforce in the future, yet attitudes and behaviors about work already are being adopted by older generations. This is changing how knowledge work gets done, and what’s necessary to create a high performance workplace.”

The social currency is evolving, especially with the ever changing work life demands and the technology that ties us together. This technology allows us to connect with each other, with brands, with our clients. We are “un/tethered” and we want to stay in the loop.

“We may be out of the office but we’re not out of touch. During many hours people spend at home, they connect to the connect to the outside world.” Emily Ulrich of Steelcase states, “Everyone brings their devices home…And everyone – clients and bosses especially – values responsiveness.”

I was speaking on a panel at Clemson’s Leadership Summit and was asked this question, “Do you think there is too much or too little focus on either Creativity or Passion in today’s work environment?” Here was my response…

It depends on where you “work”! Are you working a “job” or embracing your passion in your career? Do you look at your everyday work environment as a “job”. I remember seeing someone claiming to be an entrepreneur say they have the best “job” in America. Well…that person can keep his job. I do not want a “job”…I want to “work” where I can get up everyday and chase my passion.

Do you want a job or do you want to exercise your natural talents to create change, create innovation, inspire others to lead. I like to think of this as the legacy movement. What lasting legacy do you want to leave? When it is all said and done…how do you want your children and grandchildren to remember you? What mark do you want to leave on Greenville or your surrounding area? Does your “work” environment allow you to do this…or maybe we should stop looking at it as a job and work. Turn that job/work into your passion and create a legacy for tomorrow’s leaders.

We are chasing our passions. We have the skills, the technology, and tools to stay connected socially and professionally to execute any dream. This ability to perform these jobs, exercise our passion from any work environment, and connect using social tools has created a social currency surrounded by our work environments.

We are the new social currency…it allows us to chase our passions.

* Image credit: Steelcase

Customer stories…powerful!

You know…sometimes it is better to just let your customers do the talking. Yes sir, in this world of marketing…sometimes it is better to get it straight from the horses mouth. Well, that is what Young Office thinks…so they set out to tell their story through the eyes and ears of their customers.

Building customer relationships is key in this world of business, especially in a service industry. Customers talk and they share. My grandfather always preached to me the importance of his customers and the personal relationships he forged. These relationships were not forged just over business deals and exchanging of goods/services for payment. These relationships were forged by listening, taking a personal interest in the lives each one of his customers.

Just yesterday morning, I got up early just to go sit and chat with one of my customers. It was not about business, it was not about projects…we chatted about life, good books to read, and just being entrepreneurs. Their is something to be said for getting to know your customers on a level beyond the daily grind of business. Some people like to keep business and personal separate, and I respect the way they forge relationships.  I choose to share a little about me and hope that my customers will share a little in return. Hopefully over time, that mutual respect for business will turn into mutual respect on a personal level.

That is what I think Young Office has…mutual respect on both a personal and business level with not only their customers but also their vendors. As I was going from customer to customer, interviewing each business person for the video project above…I learned a lot about Young Office. I did not learn about furniture or office environments, I learned about their relationships. I learned that they know how to listen and they know how to work on a level of partnership with each person/group they serve. Each person I interviewed from oobe, Greer Memorial Hospital, the bounce agency, USC Upstate, and Delta Apparel; the message was the same. They had an earnest trust for Young Office, trusted them with not only a costly investment for their office environment expertise…but also they trusted them with their relationship.

You can learn a lot from talking to one’s customers…that is why customer stories are so powerful. You are letting your customers spread your message and empowering others to take notice of your belief in relationships.