How Work Is Changing and Will Change

work changing

What Westerners view as “work” in many ways has been undergoing a continuously shifting revolution since the time that the cotton gin was invented, which changed expectations of efficiency and human productivity. With the advent of the Internet and Technological Ages, a new work era has started once again, and the ways that human work is changing because of them has not reached full culmination yet.

However, there are hints out there on the horizon of the changes to come.  As repetitious tasks, physical work, and even some of the aspects of journalism and work are subsumed by increasingly efficient and intelligent software and machines, the following are five ways to look at how the future of work will most likely be transformed in the coming years.

Nature of Motivation

An important questions for a long time for business owners and managers has been how to more effectively and better motivate employees. Team building exercises, incentive bonuses, and inspiring words from motivational speakers such as those from Leading Authorities all have helped to improve productivity and most likely will continue to do so in the future.  However, as work continues to change, there are bound to be changes to the nature of motivation as well.

Just working for the weekend or a paycheck no longer is sufficient.  To motivate workers these days, managers need to be able to offer more diverse and nuanced incentives to employees. Having more flexible schedules and being able to work remotely can help to spur employees towards higher productivity due to the ubiquity of the Internet and programs such as Yammer. As an increasing number of high-tech gadgets continue flooding the marketplace, they may be offered as rewards for doing a good job and help keep employee connected no matter where they happen to be working from.  Employees can also be motivated by employer through giving them access to certain personal development opportunities, like bringing in keynote or motivational speakers that can help them find new ways to increase enjoyment in the work and lives. Talking about these opportunities should take place during discussions about the future of work.

Briefly put, motivation is becoming increasingly connected to benefits that individuals are starting to expect from all sorts of labor saving machines, software, and devices that are in the workplace these days, and they will expect those benefits to available in the workplace as well as in their personal lives.  For these work environments to be staffed by machines rather than human, the need for motivation will no longer be a problem.

The Concept of Basic Income

Numerous activists, researchers, and economists think that job growth will be unable to keep pace with all of the automation that continues to accelerate through practically everything, meaning people will be having an increasing hard time finding work that can pay their bills since more and more work is being done by machines, software, and robots.

In order to counter this reality, granting everybody a basic income is one solutions, so that unemployment and underemployment due to automation does not result in widespread poverty.  Then work will be less tie to money and be tied more to personal fulfillment instead.

Education’s Role

During the 20th century the concept of education changed from being one of improvement and self-actualization to one that prepared you for a job, and although the job market has continued to steadily transform, this focus on education being a path to a career still exists. However, over the next few decades, as technology and machines continue taking over certain work and jobs, education may enter into a new Golden Age were individual empowerment, knowledge and improvement are emphasized rather than the reigning concern of today, which is job-related logistics and skills. Encouraging employees to return to school, or arrange for them to go to a conference featuring engaging speakers can help get them started on a path of higher education levels.

Human Capital

What human capital refers to is a group or individuals’ value or cost to an organization, community, or country, as measured by the experience, expertise, skills, and knowledge that the group or individual possesses. As work continues to undergo its technological changes, most likely human capital will be decreasing in value even if expertise, know-how, and skills continue to improve or hold steady.

The change in value might mean that the investment cost for human capital – which is something that is undertaken all over the world by companies and governments – is no longer viewed as a worthwhile investment.  If that occurs, knowledge, experience, and skills will end up suffering.  However, ff investing in human capital does continue, then people’s knowledge and skill will acquire a value that is more relate to use and effect in a community rather than in monetary terms.

Voluntary Entrepreneurship

Will the changes that are currently on the horizon form a foundation for utopia rather than a dystopia?  One way that work could positively change is with voluntary entrepreneurship.  Currently, you must have an idea that ca appeal to a broad enough based for it to be profitable.  Due to basic income and inexpensive work that technology provides, entrepreneurship in the future may be able to sustain itself through appealing to small subsets within the marketplace.

That would allow a great deal of creativity to flow.  Entrepreneurship currently – in America at least – is nearly universally tie to money, meaning an eventual payday is required that is greater that the amount invested into it.  Without any demands on it, entrepreneurship potentially could be the domain of nearly anyone, and be about practically anything.

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