The Multifamily Executive Conference, Sept. 28-30, at the Bellagio in Las Vegas will provide insights needed to thrive in today’s changing and uncertain environment. Keynote presenters Kim Lear, founder of Inlay Insights, and Joseph Fuller of the Harvard Business School and faculty co-chair of the school’s Managing the Future of Work project will explore topics around demographics, building standout experiences for every generation, balancing technology and people, and navigating workforce and workplace challenges.

MFE recently caught up with Lear, a writer and researcher who explores how emerging trends impact the future of our workforce and marketplace, to discuss some of the latest trends.

Kim Lear, founder, Inlay Insights
Kim Lear, founder, Inlay Insights

MFE: How should employers be thinking about the work-from-home trend?

Lear: The available data shows us that the majority of workers prefer some in-person work. The big shift is less about remote versus in-person than it is about autonomy and flexibility. Employees don't want their time policed in the ways that were normal pre-COVID. More immersive and meaningful in-person experiences paired with remote work is a good bet for the future of work.

MFE: Is work-from-home creating a different kind of work ethic for employees?

Lear: Work ethic is a constantly evolving topic—both in how we define it and how we measure it. Many employees across industries found that their ability to conduct focused work in an efficient manner was higher when working from home. This sometimes meant that a strict 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. was, at times, unnecessary because work could be completed faster. Focusing more on what gets done rather than when or how it gets done is one way to evolve to a redefinition of work ethic. For many years the mantra "work smarter, not harder" has been a workplace focus. Right now, we're going to actually experiment with what that will mean when it comes to time and work ethic.

MFE: How else have you seen work change due to the pandemic?

Lear: One recurring theme in my research interviews is a reevaluation of a fundamental question: What am I willing to sacrifice for my job? This question, though often subconscious, has dictated workplace trends since the beginning of work itself. During times of introspection (such as a pandemic), people think critically about how they spend their limited time, who they spend it with, and what their purpose is. The pandemic threw people into a collective moment of introspection, and this has transformed how people think about the role of work in their lives.

MFE: What’s one strategy for helping multiple generations connect in the workplace?

Lear: Try to see the world through the eyes of a different person. Ask yourself, "if I were born in a different time, into a different generation with different norms and expectations, would I see this differently?" That simple question can give leaders the ability to approach generational friction with a more empathetic and productive lens.

MFE: Gen Z is starting to enter the workforce and housing market. Can you share one statistic about this demographic?

Lear: The average Gen Zer received their first smartphone at age 11. In Las Vegas, we'll explore how this early exposure to life online is shaping a new generation as they catapult into adulthood.

To view the full agenda or to register, please visit Don’t delay, the early-bird registration rate expires Aug. 19. In addition, use discount code MFEMAG to get $100 off your registration fee.

Attendance is reserved exclusively for multifamily industry property executives, developers, architects, builders, and other real estate executives.