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Not long ago, I stumbled upon an interesting post, in which the author was asking himself a question, what is the future of employment? And today, I would like to talk about the evolution of the employee. How our current lives and struggles shape up the way we are going to work.
The evolution of the employee
In the world of work, employees, the driving force behind organizations, are experiencing a significant shift from the past to the future. Let’s dig into these changes, comparing the traditional with the modern, and how they are shaping the landscape of work.
Work 9 to 5 vs. work anytime
Remember the days of the strict 9 to 5 work schedule? I remember the times when my colleagues would give me an evil eye if I started packing my stuff to leave work 5 minutes earlier. Today, the future of work confronts these fixed hours. The freedom to work at any time, allowing for a better work-life balance, is a noteworthy difference from the past. You decide yourself, when to work. You can even do your chores in the middle of the day and compensate for those hours later that day or another day.
Work in a corporate office vs. work anywhere
Traditional offices were once the center of work. But times have changed. The future of work knows no limits when it comes to location. Employees can work from virtually anywhere, breaking free from the restraints of a physical office. Hybrid work gives you a bit less of that, since you do have to come to the office from time to time, but it’s a great compromise. Currently, I work in a hybrid setting, and it is hybrid only because I decided so. The company where I work supports 100% remote work.
Use company equipment vs. use any device
In the old days, we were bound to company-provided gear. These days, it’s all about personal devices and the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) culture. We’re free to use the tools we’re most comfortable with. Personally, I haven’t experienced this yet, as any new employer of mine would provide a brand-new laptop and a monitor just for me. I won’t complain, because I actually prefer to have one work laptop and one personal laptop. Don’t want to mix them in one.
Focused on inputs vs. focus on outputs
The concept of work was once tied to hours spent at the office. But today, the focus is on what we produce. The future is all about results and efficiency, not merely the time clocked in.
Climb the corporate ladder vs. create your own ladder
Climbing the corporate ladder used to be the ultimate career goal. Today, the future of work encourages us to be entrepreneurs and freelancers, to shape our own career paths. Most of my colleagues have their own side hustle, and the career is blurrier now than ever. Of course, we all dream of earning more and the best way to do so is to get promoted. But the new salary is the only goal, not necessarily the new title.
This point is a bit controversial. I personally enjoy climbing the career ladder because I can see my own growth. But it is surely not for everyone.
Pre-defined work vs. customized work
In the past, work roles were pre-defined and fixed. Today, we’re moving towards work that’s tailored to our skills and passions, letting us take control of our careers.
Hoarding information vs. sharing information
Hoarding knowledge was a common practice. Now, it’s all about sharing and collaborating. Information gains value when it’s distributed and used collectively. In fact, in my current team, I created a format called “Knowledge sharing”, where we discuss difficult topics in our team and look at it from different angles. The goal is to have a mutual understanding and knowledge of our domain and product.
No voice vs. can become a leader
In the past, many of us had little say in decision-making. But in the future of work, even entry-level employees can become leaders, contributing to the decision-making process.
Relies on email vs. relies on collaboration technologies
Email was the primary mode of communication in the past. Today, collaboration technologies like Slack and Teams have transformed how we interact, making real-time communication the norm.
Focus on knowledge vs. focused on adaptive learning
In earlier times, knowledge accumulation was paramount. Now, it’s about adaptive learning, the ability to continuously evolve and acquire new skills to stay relevant.
Corporate learning and teaching vs. democratized learning and teaching
Traditional corporate learning was a top-down affair. The future of work embraces democratized learning, where resources are abundant, and everyone can contribute to collective knowledge.
The evolution of work is tangible. We’re not just employees. We’re active participants in shaping the modern workplace. As the boundaries between the past and the future blur, embracing these changes isn’t just a matter of adaptation. It’s about thriving in a dynamic world where our roles are more significant and versatile than ever before. So, let’s welcome this exciting journey in the ever-evolving world of work.