It seems fitting on Labor Day to reflect on the future of work. Today’s concept of work, employment, and jobs are an outgrowth of an industrial era that is long gone. COVID-19 has changed work forever. The industrial era is not coming back and it’s time to rethink the basic concept of work. Despite what politicians and company leaders say about things going back to normal once the pandemic is behind us, work will never be the same. COVID-19 made clear that the future of work is here and we aren’t ready. Far too many people are being left behind.
Work takes on new meaning post-pandemic and it is time to change our conversation. The real wake-up call of this downturn is the enormous skill’s gap between the requirements of a 21st century economy and the skills and experience of the current workforce. Waving our hands and political rhetoric will not close the gap. Our education and workforce development systems must be transformed. Now. The nature of work and the way we think about jobs must change dramatically. Labor Day seems like a good day to start.
Here are 20 random thoughts on the future of work. Add yours.
1) Hybrid isn’t just combining remote and office work options, it’s blending both into an entire new way of working and delivering value.
2) 9 to 5 is so yesterday.
3) Empathy and genuine human emotional connection is possible on-line.
4) Digital transformation can and must be equitable and inclusive. It’s up to us.
5) Projects are more important than jobs.
6) Teams assemble and reassemble based on the job to be done.
7) Changing nature of work transforms our daily commute and transportation systems.
8) Industrial era organizations give way to purposeful networks.
9) Everything we think and know about professions and credentials will change.
10) Education is no longer K-16 but a commitment to life long learning.
11) Workforce and economic development are transformed and become indistinguishable.
12) Work becomes more self organized and less institutionally driven.
13) Job titles are more about what you can do than meaningless status monikers.
14) Compensation is about performance outcomes not seniority.
15) Entrepreneurship becomes democratized and the key economic driver.
16) Work and social become indistinguishable.
17) Getting better faster is imperative.
18) Art and design become integral to work and value creation.
19) Making things becomes important and interesting again.
20) Purpose drives meaningful work.