What is the future of work?

What is the future of work?

I only started my first fulltime job just over a year and a half ago, I didn’t expect it to be in the technology / HR / learning arena but here I am. I’m loving it. I have heard people talking about the future of work since the day I started, but I hadn’t really asked the question, what is the future of work and what could it mean for me?

A colleague sent an article over to me the other day called “The Future of Work: It’s Already Here… And Not As Scary As You Think” and asked for my opinion, so here are some thoughts. 

Statistics show that the average mobile phone user checks their phone 150 time a day with 60% checking every hour. We live in a society where people are constantly looking for ways to tell others about what they have been doing, to talk about their success and achievements both in and out of work. More importantly (to them) to also get validation of this work/success from others.

Simon Sinek talks about a whole generation that is growing up addicted to notifications and short term hits of dopamine due to social media. Take a look at this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvzHe0_TgBc and watch from 55 minutes 

Are social tools the future of work?

With everyone having a mobile and more organisation’s looking to use social enterprise apps such as Slack, Facebook at Work and even email (which now seems so last year) we can be contacted anywhere, meaning we take work home every day. This has made work disruptive and overwhelming to some; although this isn’t a new concept, new apps and technologies do make it easier to work with more flexibility which ‘should’ give us a better work life balance. Does work life balance even exist anymore? Well worth reading this article in Forbes to get an idea. Perhaps it’s just a concept and the reality is very different.

Is always being ‘on’ the future of work?

The article goes on to discuss how people don’t follow the typical path of study, then work, then retire – we now learn work and enjoy leisure throughout our lives and how this is all part of the future of work. I hadn’t considered studying while at work a new concept, but corporate training has been around for years, so my question, is this really classed as the future of work? The concept of a job for life is something that has now evolved as organisations are changing and adapting so quickly they need a skilled workforce or bring in the skills they need on a shorter term basis. Portfolio careers supports this and seems to be growing in popularity as the world in which we live rapidly changes around us.

Are portfolio careers the future of work?

Jobs are changing, with technological advances providing the ability for organisations to use artificial Intelligence to complete more and more complex tasks.  We have seen a revolution in the manufacturing industry over the last 20 years because of technology. Is the next revolution going to be robots replacing knowledge workers? Sounds like something out of a science fiction movie but it’s happening now.  

Are the advancements in science and biology going to create a new super human? It might not be that far away until we have USB ports in the back of our heads – check this out

Are ‘robots’ the future of work?

Everywhere you look technology is driving change. Disrupting whole industries and re-inventing products and how people use and buy them. If organisations can’t keep up with this, they will go the same way as Blockbuster or Kodak. What sits behind these changes though are knowledge, skills and behaviours of PEOPLE. So how do organisations continue to prepare their people for the next product, the next technological advance – how do we keep evolving the skills and mindset to ensure they can keep up. How can they keep up with consumer buying trends and what customers need and want in the 21st century?

How do we prepare ourselves and continue to develop skills for jobs that might not necessarily exist today

The title of the article really does sum it all up – the future of work really is here, it’s no longer this concept people need to talk about to end, it here, it’s now and it’s time to embrace it. Some will see the change as scary others will see this as an opportunity.

Which side are you on?

I hope this has given you some food for thought and the links / resources are useful.

I’d love to hear about your thoughts on the subject –what is your understanding of the future of work and how it has and will change your working life? 

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  • I only heard the phrase 'the gig economy' for the first time the other day and the terminology is coming thick and fast –  made up of people working for a variety of employers rather than just one these 'Masters' of their subject area come together around specific tasks and then disband.

    Whoa. Who knew hey? ;-)

    Although Im quite past the age of being a millennial, I must admit that I am millennial in mind and unashamedly admit to being a 'geek'. I'm an honorary millennial I guess. :-)

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