Future of Work Now
The future is not fixed and so can be shaped.
THE PAST OF WORK
Let’s face it, the way we’ve been working isn’t working anymore.
The deeper we go into the 21st century, the more we feel that the way we’ve been working is not working anymore for us. People’s cynicism and disengagement at work has reached unprecedented levels and that trend continues to grow despite the fact that more and more companies are talking about the importance of wellbeing at work.
So, before we go any deeper, can we agree that we could really use some change? Could we agree that neither of us likes:
☑ tedious and boring work? work without energy and inspiration? work that is stressful?
☑ work that makes us feel insignificant and bad about ourselves and as if nothing matters?
Yeah? OK then… So, we agree we could use some change…
THE PRESENT OF WORK
Let’s face it, most of the “future of work” is already here…
There are two main themes going on and they are already here as both challenges but also opportunities:
- technology changes the way live, work, play, relate and learn
- people aspire humanised and participatory workplaces that inspire them
By far, the first attracts more attention when we speak of the future of work. Unfortunately, as in most transitions, while some are focused on how to stay relevant and prosper, others spread fear because fear sells. Jobs disappearing, robots taking over, rich getting richer…
If we focus on the first, jobs are indeed disappearing and that trend will increase. However, many completely new jobs are also appearing and instead of worrying what jobs disappear, we could focus on what work would be needed that also provokes and inspires us. Such approach entails getting in touch with our fears, understanding them, accepting them but also then allowing us to explore what possibilities are arising. It is about answering what has become now my favorite question: “what is this problem a solution for?”
Fear is what keeps us stuck on the first topic but also on the second topic as well. We dislike our work but we fear losing the quality of life that the current job provides. Fear is the main factor that prevents us from creating the lives that we want. And that brings me to the next topic.
THE FUTURE OF WORK
Let’s face it, the actual future is still in the future...
Don’t let anyone fool you what the future of work will look like. As Joseph Jaworski put it “we are all connected and operate within living fields of thought and perception. The world is not fixed but is in constant flux; accordingly, the future is not fixed, and so can be shaped.” And as another famous quote of Albert Einstein goes, we “can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
Paraphrasing Claus Otto Scharmer, energy follows attention. Wherever we place our attention today, that is where the energy of the system will go. That is why what we are called in to do today is to shift our attention from what we are trying to avoid to what we want to bring into reality. We can build the capacity to operate differently from a state of being “trapped in a victim mindset (“the system is doing something to me”)”, we can “shift to the viewpoint” to “see how we can make a difference and how we can shape the future differently.”
So, I think that the main relevant questions ahead are:
- what is not working for us anymore?
- what kind of future do we aspire?
- how can technology help us get there faster?
- how to let go of fears so that we can contribute to the future we aspire?
- how to change the obsolete mental models that do not serve us anymore?
- how to improve our capacity for decision-making in state of complexity and unpredictability?
- how to create optimum conditions for collaboration and innovation by making the most of our collective intelligence?
What do you think?