Introducing the future of work initiative

Full Transparency

Our editorial transparency tool uses blockchain technology to permanently log all changes made to official releases after publication. However, this post is not an official release and therefore not tracked. Visit our learn more for more information.

Learn more

When people look back on the past 18 months, they likely remember the waves of crises that disrupted how we worked, connected, learned and even lived our lives.

However, what if we adjust the lens and change the focus?

What if last year signaled an opportunity to reevaluate the role of work in people's lives and how work gets done?

What if we can now infuse greater prosperity to support our workforce and build a future of work where everyone is set up to succeed and thrive professionally?

Now repeat those two sentences but without saying, "what if." When you remove those words, you are left with a powerful declaration of how we can unlock the full potential of our workforce.

How can we shape a positive future of work – for all?

Our current concept of "work" and "worker" has remained largely unchanged since the last industrial revolution. However, the disruptive impact of COVID-19 pushed the future of work into hyperdrive.

Given all that we have learned and experienced over the last year, we have an opportunity to meld the infrastructure of the Fourth Industrial Revolution – mobility, broadband and cloud, and all of its possibilities such as AI, automation, big data and 5G – with our aspirations for people to find greater prosperity and purpose through work.

At Verizon, we are at the forefront of an industry building a more connected world. With our purpose, scale and reach, we are uniquely positioned to shape a new promise for work. However, even the brightest ideas and intentions can gather dust unless the right partners come together to take action. We've teamed up with Europe Delivers and thought leaders from industry and academia to explore how we can overcome the biggest barriers to transformation.

Following extensive research and 30 interviews with leaders across both the public and private sector in Europe and the U.S, we identified five opportunities that contribute to a better and bolder future state of work:

  1. Corporate purpose: How might we create the conditions for employees to feel greater personal fulfillment and meaning?
  2. Education and lifelong learning: How might we redesign education and career development to enable lifelong learning?
  3. Lost potential: How might we confront institutional and systemic biases, tackle discrimination and inequality?
  4. Technology and ethics: How might we ensure technology is 'ethical by design' and supports worker productivity and well-being?
  5. Worker prosperity: How might we enable all workers to thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, sharing in the benefits of economic transformation?

The findings of our initial report represent the starting point of how we can bring greater equity and purpose into the workplace. We are now working with a community of business leaders and policy shapers from Europe and the U.S. to examine each opportunity through a system-level lens and formulate actionable recommendations that will spark real change.

The future of work is the future of all of us.

Designing a positive future of work will require businesses, policymakers, educators and workers to think ambitiously and collaboratively about solutions. It will take all of us coming together to acknowledge the inequities that exist and then break down barriers for good.

By bringing together diverse perspectives to develop a playbook with actionable strategies, we can start to define a world of work where people don't have to anchor their dreams or scale back their ambitions. To ensure this initiative has a tangible and substantive impact, we will engage industry leaders and legislators to discuss how to implement our recommendations on a broader societal level.

This is our chance. If we hope to make a real difference — to unlock the full potential of our workforce — we need to work together to drive change within and beyond our walls.

We look forward to sharing the outcomes of the Future of Work Initiative in the fall. To learn more, please visit

The future of work is the future of us, as individuals and communities, and as economies and societies.

Related Articles

How digital twins, location intelligence and contextual awareness have the potential to fulfill the promise of the fourth industrial revolution
Verizon’s on a mission to help humans, machines and enterprises better understand and engage with the world around them by breaking down information silos