Stacy Pierce Of Work It Towels: “The Hybrid work model is here to stay”

The Hybrid work model is here to stay. The pandemic presented an opportunity for employees to work from home, and we learned businesses could still successfully operate. However, there is magic in human connection, so a balance of onsite collaboration with work-from-home opportunities will be available in many industries. There have been major disruptions in […]

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The Hybrid work model is here to stay. The pandemic presented an opportunity for employees to work from home, and we learned businesses could still successfully operate. However, there is magic in human connection, so a balance of onsite collaboration with work-from-home opportunities will be available in many industries.

There have been major disruptions in recent years that promise to change the very nature of work. From the ongoing shifts caused by the COVID19 pandemic, the impacts caused by automation, and other possible disruptions to the status quo, many wonder what the future holds in terms of employment. For example, a report by the McKinsey Global Institute that estimated automation will eliminate 73 million jobs by 2030.

To address this open question, we reached out to successful leaders in business, government, and labor, as well as thought leaders about the future of work to glean their insights and predictions on the future of work and the workplace.

As a part of this interview series called “Preparing For The Future Of Work”, we had the pleasure to interview Stacy Pierce.

Stacy is the founder of Work It Towels, a premium quality, motivational gym towel business she started with her teenagers to inspire everybody to move. A self-proclaimed marketing geek, Stacy loves storytelling and creating unique content for the businesses she serves. She is a serial entrepreneur, a former over-extended school volunteer, a self-help junkie, and a devoted wife and mother.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers like to get an idea of who you are and where you came from. Can you tell us a bit about your background? Where do you come from? What are the life experiences that most shaped your current self?

Thanks so much for this opportunity. My name is Stacy Pierce, and I’m the founder of a motivational gym towel business I started with my teenagers 3 years ago. I’ve been a part of the corporate world as a pharmaceutical sales rep, and I’ve also launched a few small businesses. The biggest life experiences that have made me who I am today would be the cross-country moves we’ve made as a family and our devastating financial losses during the recession of 2008. Both events were uncomfortable in many ways, but I’ve learned, life’s discomforts are lessons that allow us to grow.

What do you expect to be the major disruptions for employers in the next 10–15 years? How should employers pivot to adapt to these disruptions?

I believe the hybrid work model is here to stay as employees are productive, and in many cases, more efficient, in a flexible work environment. Automation will continue to replace manual tasks, leaving employees with more time to collaborate and innovate. Many industries will source more local supply options due to the major disruptions caused by the pandemic and the large concentration of supply in Asia.

Employers should evaluate their investments in technology to ensure a positive employee experience. They should plan to grow with AI and automation where applicable for their industry and hire experts to manage this technology. Employers should also plan to provide employees with cross-functional training and skills to adapt to potential disruptions in the future.

The choice as to whether or not a young person should pursue a college degree was once a “no-brainer”. But with the existence of many high profile millionaires (and billionaires) who did not earn degrees, as well as the fact that many graduates are saddled with crushing student loan debt and unable to find jobs it has become a much more complex question. What advice would you give to young adults considering whether or not to go to college?

We discussed this extensively with our oldest son, who just left for college. He was looking at a variety of Universities, and ultimately, it came down to ROI. He knew he wanted to study Business and Marketing, and we found the best option for our budget and his future goals. Ultimately, it comes down to each individual. If the student is overwhelmed and unsure of what he or she would like to do, then I’d highly recommend the Junior College path, or I’d encourage the student to find a mentor or explore the limitless resources on the internet. Ultimately, I don’t believe a college degree is a requirement for success.

Despite the doom and gloom predictions, there are, and likely still will be, jobs available. How do you see job seekers having to change their approaches to finding not only employment but employment that fits their talents and interests?

Networking is and will remain, the key to finding employment. LinkedIn has become such an incredible resource for connection and learning — it’s a great place to start for anyone seeking employment. Self-marketing will be essential, and job seekers may need to demonstrate their skills and accomplishments in video packages complete with case studies, proving their ability to successfully handle the position.

The statistics of artificial intelligence and automation eliminating millions of jobs appear frightening to some. For example, Walmart aims to eliminate cashiers altogether and Dominos is instituting pizza delivery via driverless vehicles. How should people plan their careers such that they can hedge their bets against being replaced by automation or robots?

As industries grow and evolve, new opportunities present themselves. The emergence of refrigerators, grocery stores, and automobile ownership ended the role of milk delivery in years past, but this industrialization created additional opportunities. The same will be true for AI and automation. Job seekers should stay on top of emerging trends and find skills of interest to pursue while networking with those who can help them.

Technological advances and pandemic restrictions hastened the move to working from home. Do you see this trend continuing? Why or why not?

I believe this trend will continue in the form of a hybrid work model. There is magic in human connection, so there is an argument for onsite collaboration. However, many employees have grown to appreciate the flexibility working from home has afforded them. It will depend heavily on the industry, but I’m confident a hybrid, flexible, work environment is here to stay.

What societal changes do you foresee as necessary to support the fundamental changes to work?

A universal understanding of the hybrid work model will be key to its success. The pandemic stretched working families very thin. Many parents were expected to home school their children, maintain household tasks while balancing a full-time job online. I believe the educational system and businesses will need to find a proper balance for maximum productivity.

What changes do you think will be the most difficult for employers to accept? What changes do you think will be the most difficult for employees to accept?

Some industries may find it difficult to properly apprentice in a hybrid work model, and there are sure to be advantages for employees who spend more time onsite than others.

The COVID-19 pandemic helped highlight the inadequate social safety net that many workers at all pay levels have. Is this something that you think should be addressed? In your opinion how should this be addressed?

Although it wasn’t a perfect system, federal and local governments provided help during the pandemic. Going forward, we should evaluate the various distributions to make sure we are allocating resources appropriately. Private businesses, churches, non-profits, neighbors, and friends also stepped up, and I believe good people and organizations will always find a way to support those in need.

Despite all that we have said earlier, what is your greatest source of optimism about the future of work?

The resiliency demonstrated during the pandemic gives me tremendous hope. The small business owners who pivoted, often more than once, to keep their doors open, or the parents balancing corporate jobs while homeschooling their children. People found a way to innovate and adapt, and I believe we’ll continue to do so in the future.

Historically, major disruptions to the status quo in employment, particularly disruptions that result in fewer jobs, are temporary with new jobs replacing the jobs lost. Unfortunately, there has often been a gap between job losses and the growth of new jobs. What do you think we can do to reduce the length of this gap?

Empower people to be self-starters. There are always opportunities for those willing to find them. Fostering a sense of responsibility begins at home, and it could, and should, be carried into our educational systems. If we had generations of people believing in their own abilities and capitalizing on them, our country, and our world, would be better for it.

Okay, wonderful. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “Top 5 Trends To Watch In the Future of Work?” (Please share a story or example for each.)

  1. The Hybrid work model is here to stay. The pandemic presented an opportunity for employees to work from home, and we learned businesses could still successfully operate. However, there is magic in human connection, so a balance of onsite collaboration with work-from-home opportunities will be available in many industries.
  2. More tasks will be automated. From mundane assignments to more complex data analytics, automation will be a key driver in the future of work. This will allow more time for innovation and discovery within the organization. Advances in automation have already helped many solopreneurs manage large tasks like customer service inquiries, accounts receivable, and more.
  3. Freelance work at all levels will increase. Sites like UpWork and Fiverr have presented opportunities for creatives and executives alike to find prospective clients. Many startups lean heavily on virtual assistants and freelance experts to delegate essential business tasks.
  4. Robotics will continue to increase productivity and efficiency, providing opportunities for employees to focus on more meaningful tasks surrounding innovation and creativity. As this industry grows and machines become even more sophisticated, we will begin to see robotics in our everyday experiences as well. From drones delivering packages to robots serving drinks, this integration will be normalized in the near future.
  5. The power of networking will remain. The most connected people tend to be the most successful, and building solid relationships is key to acquiring a job, or securing business. Mastermind groups have become increasingly popular, as they provide an opportunity for people to network and collaborate with other like-minded individuals.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how this quote has shaped your perspective?

“Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” — Carl Bard

As an entrepreneur, I’ve had to dust myself off a number of times. Failure is part of the process, and it’s been incredibly humbling. However, it’s not how we start, but how we finish that matters most.

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 or she might just see this if we tag them.

I would be thrilled to have (gluten-free) pancakes with Sara Blakely. I admire her resilience, entrepreneurial spirit, sense of humor, and her philanthropy.

Our readers often like to follow our interview subjects’ careers. How can they further follow your work online?

LinkedIn Profile: LinkedIn:
Business site:

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this. We wish you continued success and good health.

Thanks so much for the opportunity. I sincerely appreciate it!

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