Mariska Fissette On How We Need To Adjust To The Future Of Work

Meaningfulness over salary; it’s more important that employees are being and feeling valued (and doing wheat’s important to them) instead of salary and status. When it comes to designing the future of work, one size fits none. Discovering success isn’t about a hybrid model or offering remote work options. Individuals and organizations are looking for more […]

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Meaningfulness over salary; it’s more important that employees are being and feeling valued (and doing wheat’s important to them) instead of salary and status.


When it comes to designing the future of work, one size fits none. Discovering success isn’t about a hybrid model or offering remote work options. Individuals and organizations are looking for more freedom. The freedom to choose the work model that makes the most sense. The freedom to choose their own values. And the freedom to pursue what matters most. We reached out to successful leaders and thought leaders across all industries to glean their insights and predictions about how to create a future that works.

As a part of our interview series called “How Employers and Employees are Reworking Work Together,” we had the pleasure to interview Mariska Fissette.

Mariska is a well-being expert, speaker and author with a background in Organizational & Clinical Psychology. She truly believes that prioritizing Wellbeing for yourself, your employees and your clients, will help you and your business grow extensively. She is currently writing a book about Work-Life balance and happiness.


Thank you for making time to visit with us about the topic of our time. Our readers would like to get to know you a bit better. Can you please tell us about one or two life experiences that most shaped who you are today.

When I was 16 my mom got a severe burn-out. Not because she couldn’t handle her work (she was teacher at a primary school and had a class of 30 children!), but because she gave her all to everyone else (work, colleagues, her class, family and friends) and din’t make herself priority. As a psychologist I’ve seen this with many of my clients; those who make long hours, don’t rest enough, are perfectionistic and commit to everyone else’s agenda get heavy stress symptoms or even a burn-out.

This has been of huge impact on me. I put wellbeing first and learn this to people and companies as well. As I truly belief that you’ll not only help yourself, but you can also be there for the world around you.

Let’s zoom out. What do you predict will be the same about work, the workforce and the workplace 10–15 years from now? What do you predict will be different?

The same will be: People find it most important to be of value at work, have a great connection with colleagues and experience (financial) safety through work.

Different: I predict people will work less hours as stress levels burn-out are still on the rise (and also: even adolescents are getting burned out nowadays).

There will be a shift in what we see as ‘being productive.’ Not working from 9–5 anymore, taking more breaks and being more flexible where we work and when.

What advice would you offer to employers who want to future-proof their organizations?

To future proof your organization it is necessary to have a closer look at what employees need in order to prevent that people leave the company or aren’t their best self; their happiest, most productive and most creative selves. To attract and keep the right people (the right fit for your company), make sure these four factors are there:

  • People: As we’ll be working from home often, ensure that there will be enough moments for connection with each other; not only meetings about work, but start (online) meetings with a round of how’s everyone? Make sure theere’s an environment of psychological trust. You can reach this by paying real attention to what someone is saying.
  • Purpose; knowing that you do is of value and gets recognized is of immense importance for people’s level of happiness and (intrinsic) motivation.
  • Progress: Make sure there is progress in the business but also on a personal level. People get happier and more motivated when they see progress. Organize meetings in where everyone can share their progress — big ons but also little steps!
  • Positivity: Celebrate big wins but also small wins. Support people to go outside, do some exercises and have a laugh!

What do you predict will be the biggest gaps between what employers are willing to offer and what employees expect as we move forward? And what strategies would you offer about how to reconcile those gaps?

For many companies it will be hard to make a shift from paying for the amount of hours to paying for the output. I’m convinced that most people will be more productive, motivated and creative when they get paid for the tasks.

There is a shift going on from working hard and being productive to taking more time for themselves and for rest. Offering wellbeing benefits will be key to retention, creative problem-solving and productivity, stress- and burnout reduction.

We simultaneously joined a global experiment together last year called “Working From Home.” How will this experience influence the future of work?

More companies will allow — and support — working from home a lot more then before. This means that everyone has to be more flexible on a psychological level; employers need to trust their employees and give them more freedom. Also, teams need to discuss their habits; how many meetings per day is acceptable to prevent fatigue? Is it okay when someone Is walking during an online meeting?

I aso expect that ‘the working from 9–5 mentality’ will shift. Which I highly recommend as not everyone is as productive and creative during the same hours. Work and private life are less separate now and I’d highly recommend employers to support their employees to work according their biological rhythm; ‘focus-hours’ in which they’ll be extremely focused (for most people this will be in the morning) and organize meetings in the afternoon (when people are more creative) — and leave time for meditation, exercise and walks.

We’ve all read the headlines about how the pandemic reshaped the workforce. What societal changes do you foresee as necessary to support a future of work that works for everyone?

Work and life won’t be as separate anymore as before. On a society level you’ll see that people will go to the gym during the day, the doctor, doing groceries etc. and maybe get some work done early in the morning or later in the evening.

Working from home gives people a certain amount of freedom, This time can be used for their wellbeing.

What is your greatest source of optimism about the future of work?

You can already see the shift that employers do see that they need to invest in the wellbeing of their employees in order to keep them happy, healthy, productive, creative and intrinsically motivated.

Our collective mental health and wellbeing are now considered collateral as we consider the future of work. What innovative strategies do you see employers offering to help improve and optimize their employee’s mental health and wellbeing?

More then ever I see that employers are making a shift in offering exercise classes (yoga, sports) and meditation courses to their employees.

It seems like there’s a new headline every day. ‘The Great Resignation’. ‘The Great Reconfiguration’. And now the ‘Great Reevaluation’. What are the most important messages leaders need to hear from these headlines? How do company cultures need to evolve?

People need to be seen. Show them you care, that you listen and that you make them feel of value. Tell your employees this. Don’t see those kind of conversations as ‘extra time’ but make it your top priority. Often we think ‘we know’ what others would like but many times we forget to actually check this.

This is a great time to do so. Start having conversations with your employees and get to the bottom of what they find important.

Only a good CV isn’t enough anymore. You want these totally intrinsic motivated people. Nowadays employees need more than a good salary, benefits and status. They find it important to get the most out of themselves, have freedom in where they work and have enough time for personal development. Be aware of this and see what you can do about this.

I also think there should be room for meetings with the team on one hand (working together is very important for happiness at work) and on the other hand there should be ‘solitude time.’ Time in where someone can actually focus for a certain amount of time without distractions (socials, e-mail, calls). This will increase the productivity and creativity of employees. Because of the constant online presence, people can get tired, stressed and less creative and productive. Support your people to go offline for a certain amount of time.

Let’s get more specific. What are your “Top 5 Trends To Track In the Future of Work?”

  1. Increase in awareness and investment for mental health and wellbeing.
  2. Increase of Hybrid & remote work.
  3. From 9–5 mentality to more freedom in working hours.
  4. Meaningfulness over salary; it’s more important that employees are being and feeling valued (and doing wheat’s important to them) instead of salary and status.
  5. Getting paid for the output instead of the amount of hours.

I keep quotes on my desk and on scraps of paper to stay inspired. What’s your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? And how has this quote shaped your perspective?

‘Change may not always bring growth. But there is no growth without change.’

People find it hard to leave their cozy comfort-zone and therefore rather stay there — even when it’s not what they want. The fear of the unknown is more scary than staying in a place we don’t enjoy. I like this quote as it reminds me that we can’t predict the future (as in: if I change X, Y will happen…) but ‘personal growth’ is for many people — including me- a very important value in life and therefore it encourages me to take the leap anyway — event hen it’s scary, because I know I’ll grow from it anyway. And grow is something that I bring into my private life and in my work and business.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He, she, or they might just see this if we tag them.

Arianna Huffington because with Thrive Global she is committed to make a culture shift that allows people to reclaim their lives and shift from surviving to thriving. I love it how she redefines what it means to be successful in today’s world and I would love to chat with her about this necessary topic. I’m currently writing my book about how to become more happy in the new way of life and working and I’d be curious what her advice would be about this topic.

Our readers often like to continue the conversation with our featured interviewees. How can they best connect with you and stay current on what you’re discovering?

I’d love to connect with you. Send me an email: [email protected] or connect with me on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mariskafissette/

Thank you for sharing your insights and predictions. We appreciate the gift of your time and wish you continued success and good health.

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