My background

Peter Thomson

I’ve spent the majority of my professional life observing changes in working patterns. I developed this interest as the HR Director for Digital Equipment in the ‘80s when we were pioneering practices such as telework. Well before the age of the Internet, I could see that the rigid work practices of the 20th Century were outdated and mobile technology was about to revolutionise the way work could be performed.

When I left Digital, I set up the Future Work Forum at Henley Business School where I continued to study emerging patterns of work. I could see that there was a massive potential for change, driven by a new generation of worker and aided by technology. Yet change was happening slowly and many organisations were sticking to their outdated management cultures.

Through research and working with clients, I built up a unique insight into the business impacts of flexible working practices. I studied the management of virtual teams and the leadership qualities needed in the new world of work. I recognised that traditional ‘command and control’ cultures were stopping progress and that a new ‘trust and empower’ management style was bringing major benefits to employers.

I’ve helped many organisations to improve the effectiveness of their workforce by modernizing their working practices. I’ve given presentations to management groups across a wide range of businesses, encouraging them to review their management processes and challenge outdated practices. I’ve now incorporated this into a book ‘Future Work’ co-authored with Alison Maitland and published in October 2011.

As an established public speaker, I regularly present challenging ideas to business leaders and conference audiences. I like to stimulate debate about the changing role of work in society, the expectations of employees, effective organisation cultures and motivational management. My aim is to inspire my audiences to prepare for a future of work that is radically different from conventional employment.