Annie Auerbach is a writer and consultant specialising in the new world of work and the future of the workplace. She is the co-founder of cultural trends and insights agency Starling, and the author of Flex – Reinventing Work for a Smarter, Happier Life. Her work and research has big implications and fascinating insights for anyone that employs people, sells things, or works for a living.
Well before the Covid-19 pandemic, Annie had identified both the demand, and the opportunity, for greater flexibility in the way we work. Social and demographic changes, as well as the acceleration in technology meant that increasingly people wanted a greater say in how they worked. This came alongside an awareness of the impact of long working hours on wellbeing and relationships. These trends were accelerated by the pandemic and flexibility in where, when and how we work became both an opportunity and challenge for employers and workers alike.
As in her book Flex, Annie examines the pros and cons of working remotely, from the impact on social lives and collaboration to the advantages for those with caring responsibilities. She explores the role work has in our lives and how work has shaped society, creating and reinforcing biases, unhealthy expectations and pressures. It is increasingly important for businesses to reconsider long-standing, industrial-age models of work and working hours. She examines what has held organisations back from redesigning work and why they’ve been so quick to dismiss the cost, productivity, engagement and diversity benefits of flexible working. Critically, she explores what flexible working actually is and what it means for individuals and their employers, highlighting that it isn’t just working from home, and that flexible working policies and processes aren’t one-size-fits-all concepts.
Annie also identifies wider workplace trends and the changing employment landscape as jobs that didn’t exist a decade ago become commonplace, and jobs that have existed for decades are replaced by automation. She looks at the moments of so-called ‘critical transition’ where sentiments and expectations move from early adopter or an influential minority into more mainstream conversations.
Having worked full-time, part-time, freelance and everything in between, Annie is a long-term advocate and practitioner of working flexibly. After working in online journalism and market research, she co- founded Starling where she works with brands including Nike, Pepsico and Unilever to help them understand the cultural and social environment in which they’re operating. She provides them with insights into social attitudes and expectations, informing brand and product strategy.
What does a successful work life look like now
How to make hybrid work for all of us
How can we have boundaries / hard edges to our flex?
Divergence and convergence and how we can be intentional about the time we spend in the office?
T shaped talent, how to get out of echo chambers. How can we stay innovative when we’re away from one another?
Challenging the Mirror-tocracy, leaning into more adaptive cultures.
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"Annie was a great addition to the speaker line-up at the British Chambers of Commerce's Annual Conference. Annie spoke confidently and engagingly on the issues of flexible working, D&I and enabling progressive working cultures. I would strongly recommend Annie as a speaker and thought-leader on the future of work."
Miranda Cochrane, Director of Strategic Communications at British Chambers of Commerce
"Annie Auerbach was a fantastic speaker at our events. She has had consistently high feedback with delegates reporting that her talk was brilliant, personable and relatable. We have invited her back to speak three times which is a testament to her skill as an insightful and engaging speaker."
James Goad, CEO Owen James
"I had a touch of book envy concerning Annie Auerbach for some time and her strategic perspectives in person are just as insightful."
Julia Hobsbawn, author of The Nowhere Office
"Thank you so much for the presentation and for leading an incredibly interesting discussion. I would note that I have only rarely seen that level of engagement from senior management over my career – and that is the strongest indicator to me that your thoughts not only ‘hit a nerve’ but also could spark some real progress toward understanding our own biases and becoming more inclusive."
Finance Sector client
"A huge thank you from all the Broadminded team for coming to speak to our members today. The topic is one that is so important and timely, and you covered it in such an entertaining, accessible and yet incredibly informative way. Also, you managed to pack in so much in such a short time - I feel like we could have done a week's worth of talks on the ground covered!"
Broadminded: a community for curious and ambitious women.
"Annie has given us at UPWARD a very insightful talk on practical strategies to lead a more flexible working life, think creatively and work productively. It was also a joy working with Annie to plan the session and tailor it to our audience. I can’t recommend her enough."
Elinor Honigstein, Google's #IamRemarkable Facilitator and Founder of the Women Leading Innovation Network
"Annie is an expert on the future of work and has been championing flex since way before the Pandemic. She is a brilliant speaker and delivers her thought-provoking ideas with enormous clarity. Her calm presentation style leaves the audience motivated to try new ways to be productive and feel fulfilled."
Sarah Hesz · Chief Commercial Officer at Bubble Childcare
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