The changing nature of how we work ft. Sophie Wade
Play • 25 min

In this special expert-led episode, author and future of work expert Sophie Wade talks about where we’re headed as an adaptive workforce and the opportunities these changes make possible. She also discusses how a shift toward more diverse and inclusive work cultures will play a major role in how we connect and understand each other as professionals. Plus, listen as Sophie and host Jo Richardson discuss the insights and expertise presented in the first three episodes.


Key Takeaways:

[0:57] Sophie Wade is a Future of Work Expert Extraordinaire. In 2016 when she was writing her first book, she realized she needed to make some changes to her work schedule. She would write in the morning before a barrage of emails came in, and adjusted her gym schedule to the afternoon. It helped her understand how to set herself up for success, and that just a few tweaks can be effective and powerful. So many of us would love to do this in our own work, but think it’s more difficult than it actually is.

[3:48] We need to include empathy and inclusivity in our decision-making around flex work, especially when we are working in such extremes as isolation during the pandemic.

[5:07] As we figure out when we do certain types of work best, we can recognize that in other people.

[6:38] Hybrid working is not simple, so it’s important to make a new flexible structure that we can adapt to more easily.

[7:10] After listening to the conversations with Daniel, Tom, and Ginny, Sophie’s overarching takeaway was about the idea of proactive measures that we need to be taking now that the future of work has arrived. The old rules must be broken down to include more adaptable frameworks, for example, rewarding team members more on merit rather than just accomplishment.

[10:41] In Tom’s episode, Sophie learned that there’s a lot of awareness about the initial bias, but we also need to account for how algorithms need to adapt and change over time.

[12:59] In our rapidly evolving economy, it’s too slow to take certain feedback all the way up to the top, wait for a strategy change, and take it all the way down. Trying to work out which pieces can be taken care of closer to the front line requires trust and faith in your employees, but it can be effective and productive.

[14:10] It is a shift of ego from the leader to spread responsibility across the organization instead of taking it all on themselves, but this can help prevent burnout which inevitably leads to negative feelings and lower productivity on both sides.

[15:36] When Sophie emphasizes the importance of culture, she stresses alignment rather than fit. She points to the episode with Ginny, where she discusses that leaders must be self-aware in order to hire people to know where their blind spots are and hire people that can help.

[16:28] When leaders and managers are showing their vulnerability, that will encourage employees to have open dialogue with their leaders, opening up more space for creativity and connection.

[19:11] Empathy is called for in the biggest way when it comes to speaking up about racial injustice and showing up as an ally. Empathic leadership means knowing your employees and responding to them in a way that works best for their individual needs. It does not mean trauma sharing.

[21:43] Many of us are still learning how to be better allies, and diverse leadership can provide both support and instruction. Sophie feels hopeful for the future, but we continue to need to step back from our assumptions and be more thoughtful about who we are trying to hire and their skills.

[23:40] The way we work bleeds into the fabric of our societies. When we bring more inclusivity and diversity into the workplace, hopefully, that will start to ripple more social justice out into the world.



  • “Flex work can help remove structures that exclude people, like old boys networks. Empathy is the foundation of inclusivity.” - Jo
  • “Empathy starts with self-awareness, and awareness about other people.” - Sophie
  • “A more diverse workplace can better represent the preferences and opinions of consumers, and can reward the best individual ideas and contributions over groupthink.” - Jo
  • “Having empathy to try and understand each other is going to be really critical for moving forward.” - Sophie
  • “You need to have people with different cultural backgrounds to bring the correct perspectives. The real perspectives, not imagined.” - Sophie


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