LinkedIn co-founder turned tech investor Reid Hoffman and one of his fellow Greylock partners Sarah Guo discussed their views on the hybrid future of work in an interview with CNBC.
Greylock’s extensive tech portfolio includes HR tech companies like Workday, Remotion, Dropbox and Utmost, as well as consumer tech companies like Facebook, Discord, and AirBnB.
Although Guo acknowledged that there remains some uncertainty about what the world of work will look like post-COVID-19, she noted “we know it [the future of work] is going to be a lot more hybrid and a lot more support for remote [working].”
While the likes of Dropbox, Slack, and Twitter are embracing long-term remote working for their employees, Guo states it is particularly interesting that businesses like Ford are also embracing hybrid working in a post-pandemic world.
Making employees feel included
A year into the pandemic, Guo believes there is movement from “emergency mode” to “building mode,” which focuses on company culture and career progression in a virtual, hybrid working world; this is an area of investment interest for Greylock.
Hoffman agrees that the future of work will require new innovations to support companies in reinventing their workflows and work processes.
However, Hoffman notes that in doing this, it is crucial that employers think about “how does…hybrid [work actually] work” and ensure that those working from home do not become “second class citizens.”
Quoting award winning musical Hamilton, Hoffman says it is important that everyone is in the room where it happens.
AI and the gig economy
AI and associated technologies have a growing role in the workplace, particularly in the era of remote working. There is a lot of debate about how to balance the benefits of AI in the workplace, and how to make sure it is not being used to the detriment of employees.
Guo believes companies in the AI space will distinguish themselves from their competitors by combining their AI-first offering with services.
Continuing the discussion about AI, Hoffman discusses how AI transformation is incoming across all industries, which will “require a mass amount of computing” supported by specialized chips.
Hoffman went on to talk about the gig economy; another hot topic at the moment following Uber’s move to transform its 70,000 UK drivers into workers with all the benefits that brings.
He noted that the future of work in this space requires companies finding a way to balance the desire for flexibility with the need for worker benefits and a desire for career progression.
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