14 Ways We Will We Be Working in the Future – Part 2

May 26, 2017
VR in the Future of Work

In Part 1 of Ways We Will Be Working in the Future I talked about the changes we can expect to see in when and where we work, the tug-o-war between trust and privacy, individualization, the rise of the contractor, bots, and the cycle of continuous learning. So what else can we expect to see a change in the next 5-10 years?

Careers Will Become More Fluid

Long gone are the days when people choose their career coming out of school, join a company and about 45 years later get handed a nice clock from that company as a way of ‘thanks for dedicating your entire life to us.’

Gen X are spending an average of 3.4 years in each job, and Gen Y (millennials) are spending an average of 2.7 years in each job. In fact, about a third of the total workforce will now change jobs every 12 months. In many cases, people are not just changing jobs, but also changing careers.  The move away from permanent full-time jobs is also making it easier for an accountant to work at a non-profit or a landscape gardener to also write code.

“It’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our heart sing,” said Steve Jobs,

In addition to working different jobs simultaneously, companies are starting to combine jobs more and more. Bentley University reviewed 24.5 million company job listings and found that 71% of job skills now spanned at least two categories.

Working in startups and non-profits, I feel I’ve spent most of my career in these positions (or ‘slashies’ as Jen Hubley Luckwaldt refers to them). In recent years I have been a “bookkeeper/office manager” as well as a “corporate assistant/operations manager.” My very first job was as a “web author/receptionist” (In fact, I think I’m up to about six careers and counting).
The good news is that this means we’ll all become more rounded.

As Kabir Sehgal (corporate strategist, US Navy Reserve officer, author, and record producer) says “When you work different jobs, you can identify where ideas interact and therefore bring more innovation to a given role.”

Expect smaller, more frequent promotions or at least horizontal moves in your job. With a willingness of millennials and GenZs to be continually learning and growing, employers are going to need to provide more continuous feedback, mentoring and steps towards career progression. These generations find the thought of waiting a whole year to learn about their strengths and areas of improvement ludicrous; they’ve been brought up on social media and are used to instant feedback!

VR

I talked a little about this in my post “Exciting changes coming to a workspace near you!” but we can expect to see VR used in a variety of different ways in a number of industries, mainly gaming, engineering, healthcare, automotive, military, and real estate. Examples include VR for training (particularly when any physical risk is involved), designing (cars, houses, products), exploring real estate, or simply for working and meeting in immersive worlds. 

Multi-Department Teams

Expect to see the trend towards teams that bring together people from diverse areas of a company. Businesses are beginning to realize the value of the fresh perspectives and backgrounds these different people bring to a team.

Productivity = Output, not Time Spent

A much greater emphasis will be placed on what people produce rather than where or how they do it. Even if companies don’t go completely to a Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE), goal and objective setting, reporting, and employee evaluations will all become vital to managing employees and rewarding them for the output they achieve.

No More Suits

The trend is definitely towards more relaxed, comfortable clothing in the work environment (not to mention all the people working from home in their PJs!)

The Death of Email

Email is on its way out. We’re now beginning to use instant messaging and live chat tools instead of emailing back and forth to send files and discuss tasks, project progress, and where to go for lunch. In tools such as Slack or HipChat, if messaging back and forth is starting to get out of hand, there’s a button to press to connect with the people you’re communicating with via audio or video.

These tools don’t quite store threads as well as email does yet but hopefully, it won’t take too long for them to figure it out.

“Lots of communication that would’ve been done through email 10 years ago is now being done through chat, social networks and texting.” – Kevin Fox

Napping is Back

Office worker sleeping on his desk
Napping will be totally acceptable. Yay! In fact, some companies already have areas of employees to take a nap when needed. When I was pregnant with my first child, I had a 2.5 hours commute in and out of London each day but was fortunate to have an understanding employer and a bed in the office where I could duck out for a quick nap when I needed to. It made a huge difference to my ability to do my job effectively during that time.

Responsiveness

Companies are being expected to respond to customer requirements faster with each year that passes which means lean business practices will continue to be vital in allowing staff to push innovations and improvements as quickly as possible. Staff are also going to be pushing for new technologies which will enable them to do their jobs more effectively.

“As opposed to the earlier generations that modeled their way of working as per the tools and technologies that were available to them, this generation actually demands technology that can enable them to work the way they want. ” – Varadha Raju

Yep – changes are coming thick and fast, but as Sarah Wood from Unruly said: “Keep listening, keep learning, keep reading, keep evolving, keep experimenting, keep questioning, keep agile. Only then can you can keep on being at the cutting edge of trends that are reshaping the world we live in.” 
Future of Work Ironman giphy

References:

Career Change Statistics: You Will Change Careers 7 Times in Your Life?, Careers Advice Online [NOT USED, find different one?]

Exciting changes coming to a workspace near you! rethink9to5, 2017

Results Only Work Environment (ROWE), Wikipedia

Thinkopolis VI: Moving Work | Year in Review, Workopolis, 2014

The Time for the Hybrid Job is Now, Bentley University, 2016

9 Industries Using Virtual Reality, Tech Republic, 2015

 

14 Ways We Will We Be Working in the Future – Part 1

May 19, 2017
Wearable Tech

Reading Time: 5 minutes

After writing about the future of workspaces, I thought I’d follow up by taking a look at HOW we will be working in the future, especially with all the Gen Zs (born after 2000) about to arrive in the workforce, many of whom have been in education systems that have been reinventing the wheel.

So what changes can we expect to see in the next 5-10 years?

Continue Reading…

How I Combat Loneliness When Working Remotely

May 4, 2017
Combating Loneliness
One of the biggest challenges facing those who don’t work in a traditional office can be loneliness. Loneliness can impact you not just emotionally, but physically and before you know it your motivation and productivity have taken a dive. Your enthusiasm wanes, snack time and TV time go up and deadlines are suddenly passing you by.
Digital Nomads have a particularly hard time with this. In an online survey, a huge proportion answered that loneliness was their biggest challenge as a digital nomad. Jelte ten Holt wrote a great post “Lonely in Paradise” that has some great tips for handling loneliness while on the road.
What if you’re just working from home? Think about trying out some of these strategies which I’ve found to be helpful when working alone is getting to me:

Continue Reading…

Exciting changes coming to a workspace near you!

April 27, 2017
Future City

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Where we work, how we work, and even why we work is undergoing a transformation. Workspaces are changing and the days when each employee had their own desk are on their way out.

“In the future, people will be incredulous that we once insisted that everyone in a company lived in the same metro area, which often entailed spending hours commuting each way to an office park where they sat most of the day communicating by digital tools” Blair Reeves

We’ve come a long way in the last 20 years. Just the other day a government organization asked us to fax something to them. “A fax?” we all muttered looking around. “Does the new printer have fax functionality?” “Is there an online service for that?” (we ended up mailing it to them in the end). We don’t notice the creep towards the future until the past comes back to haunt us and we realize how far we’ve come.

Continue Reading…

Shipping Breast Milk Is Not a Win-Win!

April 3, 2017
Shipping Breast Milk

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Recently, I’ve been researching what North American companies are doing for new mothers and, to be honest, my findings were extremely depressing. Articles about women working at the “top 100 companies for working mothers” were just sad. Highlights included being able to carve out time for the family between 5:30 and 8:00 p.m.  and having the freedom to fly back and forth from a conference to a daughter in the hospital.

Don’t get me started on how far behind the US is on maternity leave. Stories about Deloitte and IBM providing new mothers with services for packing and shipping breast milk when traveling are framed as victories for new mothers. There are even Babies-at-Work programs where parents can work alongside their newborn baby for the first six months!

I don’t remember the last time ‘good news’ annoyed me so much.

Continue Reading…

What to Do If You’re Not as Productive as You Promised

March 13, 2017
Un-productive guy

Switching to working remotely seemed like a fantastic idea. It would be a win-win for everyone. You were so excited by how productive you were going to be without the usual office interruptions – no more pinging of everyone’s phones, no more trying to focus while people talk about the latest episode of Game of Thrones across your desk.

You’d be in control of your own destination (and thermostat – no more wearing 5 layers so you don’t freeze to death before lunchtime) and you dreamt of all the work you could get done now you really had room to spread out.

Unfortunately, reality hit and you began to realize how much time you suddenly spend: (check all that apply)

Check markOn social media

Check mark

Doing laundry or dishes because you now actually have to look at all the chores you haven’t done.

Check markDriving kids around to and from school/appointments/classes/friend’s houses

Check mark

Answering questions from your kids once they get home from school

Check mark

Watching Netflix

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Having a down day? Just go with the flow…

February 23, 2017
motivation

Motivation. What is it good for? Sometimes you have lots of it and sometimes you just don’t feel like working. What do you do on the days that feel like such a struggle? I used to beat myself up for not being as productive as I “should” be if I was having a down day. Finally, after years of being hard on myself, I came to the realization that I have periods of high productivity at work and other, shorter, periods of reduced productivity. And some days, I don’t want to work at all. There’s usually a good reason for those kinds of days.

Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way to help get me through those challenging times.

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Digital Nomad: Nathan Sawatzky of Nathan Sawatzky Consulting

February 9, 2017
Nathan Sawatzky

What do you do professionally?

I work with companies to build and implement their customer support teams and strategy. As part of this, I spend quite a bit of time looking at Trust and Safety for children’s online products also.

I’m also currently working on building out a company that will provide high-touch support for businesses who want to focus more on the product; allowing my team to become their customer care team.

Continue Reading…