In anticipation of Motion Software’s annual mini-conference dedicated to “The Future of Work”, in this article we will take a brief look at the history of the labor market and the evolution of work throughout the centuries. Most importantly, having learned the lessons of the past, we are also looking ahead at which new trends are going to define the next decade.
What work used to be?
The last significant change in the world of work occurred during the industrial revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries. Large factories and machine tools replaced small home-based businesses and manual labor. It all started in Great Britain and later spread around the world. The first half of the 20th century saw tech innovations such as widespread electricity, telephones, and typewriters. All of that opened the door for the first office spaces to appear. Later in the 20th century, following the invention of the internet and mass computer production, working 9 to 5 in an office environment became the norm.
All of this brings us to the present day and raises the question – how has the world of work actually evolved? It feels like we are now witnessing a new work revolution. Artificial intelligence and machine learning poses new challenges and often raise the issue of future human-machine collaboration. However, we are not just talking about technology. Work behavior, expectations, psychology and most importantly – lifestyle are the key aspects that need to be considered when preparing for the future.
The Evolution Of Work – What’s next?
During the pandemic, we saw a sudden shift from “at office work” to an obligatory “working from home” setting. A middle ground is currently “in the works”. That will most likely be several hybrid work models that employees and employers will choose from. Back in 2016, ® 2016 Evolution of Work study found out that 45% of employees fear that automation and smart machines might replace humans for repetitive work. The study also found that employees are starting to look for more flexibility, autonomy, and true meaning. When we fast forward to the present day, it is obvious that this is slowly becoming the norm and employers have started adapting to these new trends.
Here are a few of the key trends that will most probably develop further in the coming decade, shaping a new world of work:
Up until recently, we were all used to hierarchies at the workplace. Having an authority figure was expected and never questioned. It is highly possible that the flattened structures will be adopted more commonly in the years to come. Younger generations, especially, are now expecting to communicate with everyone at their workplace, regardless of their seniority level. This goes hand in hand with a shift in leadership style. Empowering and inspiring employees instead of scaring them into doing their tasks is shaping to be the new (and arguably, more intelligent) approach.
More and more flexibility
Here at Motion Software, we are constantly talking about the advantages of working remotely, flexible working hours, and how all this has impacted our team members. Truth is, the organization of the work process is important but it’s not the only aspect of it. And it’s also not just about where we work from and how we execute it. Ultimately, it’s about happiness and a better-suited lifestyle. Having a sense of stability, flexibility and freedom all at once leads to a healthier, happier, and more productive team.
A true meaning behind the salary
Lucrative salaries are no longer enough. The younger generation is looking for meaningful projects. 89% of the respondents of the Evolution of Work survey have declared that they would rather choose projects and tasks that are of personal interest to them and have an impact on society.
Growth within one’s professional skills
Providing opportunities for growth such as funding employees’ education or ways to advance further in the company’s structure is great. However, it might no longer be enough. Letting employees adapt to different roles is what some might find more appealing. It is now also easier to achieve it through the use of technology. It allows them to expand their horizons and enlarge their professional network.
HR departments are facing a new challenge – recruiting globally while staying attractive and relevant. As remote work spreads quickly, employers now have access to a pool of talent as big as the world to choose from. Hiring the best and brightest now has a whole new meaning as both employers and employees are competing with the entire world. Restructuring the recruitment process to fit with this new reality is not easy. Those who are quick to experiment and adapt will benefit profusely from this trend.
We are more than excited to invite you to next week’s “Future Of Work” event – Motion Software’s annual mini-conference and birthday party. We’ll be discussing the immense changes in the workplace and the long-term impact on employees, employers, educators, and communities. Get your free ticket now!