What “The Future of Work” Means For Jobseekersby@taylormk
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What “The Future of Work” Means For Jobseekers

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Future of work is one of the hottest topics in the media these days – but what does “the future of work” actually mean? “The future” refers to how we project jobs, workplaces, and workers to be in the future. The rise in technology and digitalization of the workplace has really driven and transformed the modern workplace. Remote work and a gig economy will see a higher prevalence of freelancing and the gig economy. The success of enterprises like Uber has shown that the gig Economy really works.

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The future of work is one of the hottest topics in the media these days – but what does “the future of work” actually mean?

In the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic, we have witnessed a major shake-up in the way in which we work. In fact, the pandemic has come and revolutionized jobs and what we’ve known working to be and entail. Social distancing and lockdowns have meant that the workforce is becoming more technologically driven, and a lot of jobs that required manual handling of tasks can now be automated. Additionally, more people are working remotely or in a hybrid set-up as opposed to going to a physical office every day.

So, if that’s the reality of our workforce now, what will the future look like?

Future of work - what it means

Simply put, “the future of work” refers to how we project jobs, workplaces, and workers to be in the future. Indeed, the labor market has undergone plenty of changes over the last few decades, but it has been this distinct rise in technology and digitalization of the workplace that has really driven and transformed the modern workplace. With new innovations and sophisticated technology becoming even more prevalent and available, it has led many to wonder how this is going to impact the future of work considering it already has had a monumental effect on the current market. There’s no wonder why businesses are trying to better understand these changes and what impact they will have on their company and employees down the track.

Automation and the “new normal”

A 2020 research report on the future of work noted that 85% of jobs that will exist in 2030 have not been invented yet. Moreover, some experts claim that the world of work will never be the same given the rise of digitization and the emergence of virtual workplaces. Powerful new technologies are shaping workplaces and how we carry out our work. It has been found that about half the activities people are paid to do could be completely automated using current technologies. We have already seen the popularity of workplace automation software, doing everything from streamlining time-consuming manual tasks to automatic invoice imports; getting rid of the need for admin, and making businesses more productive and profitable. And while automation is important and useful in both the current market, it is not the only factor that will influence the future of work.

Trends that are shaping the future of work

Let’s now take a look at some of the emerging trends that are likely to become more important and relevant in the coming years and decades:

1. Remote work and a gig economy

The future of work will see a higher prevalence of freelancing and the gig economy. Remote work has become incredibly popular in the past couple of years. At first, it was out of necessity. Now, companies are acknowledging the benefits remote working brings not only to the efficiency of their business but to the productivity and quality of life of their employees. 68% of CFOs say crisis-driven transitions to remote work will make their company better in the long run.

Currently, 40% of companies say they’re planning to accelerate the adoption of new ways of working. Additionally, the gig economy will see the prevalence of contract-type jobs including on-call workers and temporary workers. The success of enterprises like Uber has shown that the gig economy really works and fits the future of work. No doubt, both the gig economy and freelancing will challenge conventional organizational structures in the future.

2. Digitisation

Workplace digitization has enabled more effective ways to work; increasing productivity, employee collaboration, engagement, and the way projects and tasks are managed. A digital workplace utilizes digital tools and technology to assist in everyday tasks and business-related ventures. From virtual meetings to harnessing analytics to gaining insights into a company’s performance; a digitized workplace is the future.

Those companies who fail to adopt new technologies and assisted devices such as AI-enabled tech will fall behind the competition. Digitization leads to innovations that can change the world for the better. For example, telehealth services have enabled patients to access healthcare from the comfort of their own homes. At a retail level, digitization has improved the customer experience by delivering tailored services and enhanced experiences including VR and AR technology.

3. Changing roles

Currently, the rise of the virtual workplace has emphasized the importance of leadership. Over the past couple of years, we have seen how much of a difference that leadership makes in creating and maintaining a healthier workplace. Leaders play a key role in building trust in their workplace and maintaining a sense of order and efficiency. A good leader can help their team and stakeholders to get through difficult times or crises and build rapport. Therefore, if the future of work does favor remote job models, then prioritizing leadership roles is even more important.

4. Inclusivity

Workplace inclusivity is defined as a work environment that is accepting of all people regardless of age, sexual orientation, race, religion, gender/gender identity, disability status, etc. Workplaces of the past have had the tendency to marginalize people, be it based on age group or physical ability. Nowadays, we’re seeing a positive change in how workplaces operate, with a focus on inclusion and acceptance and reducing that human tendency toward bias and stereotyping. Companies with inclusive leadership are shown to have better employee retention, stronger team relationships, and a higher reputation in the workforce.

Conclusion

The future workforce is likely to expand as technology, globalization, and increased workplace flexibility blur the boundaries of old, traditional workplace norms. The rise of remote working means that people no longer have to work where they live, and theoretically, can be employed by a company that is based anywhere in the world. It also means that there is a possibility of the traditional 9-5, 5-day work week being discarded as technology and increased centralization allows for collaboration at any time. Leveraging the above trends now can help companies move into this future and harness the potential benefits it can bring.

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by Taylor Machuca-Koniw @taylormk.Taylor is a free spirit, who never needs an excuse to dress up and prefers working late into the night writing.
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