The Future of Work

For most of the 20th Century we got used to the term “job for life”. It wasn’t uncommon for someone to spend their whole life with one company or organisation. You got a Gold Watch for 25 years service!

Towards the end of the century, however, things started to change. The advent of the internet and mobile communications meant that it was no longer necessary for everyone to have to commute to a central location (office) to do a job of work. It was a natural evolution then for the concept of freelancing, or self-employment, to take off.

And take off it did! In the UK now (2011) the freelance community is estimated at 1.4 million people. However, that’s nothing compared to what the experts predict will happen over the next decade.

Thanks to the rapid development of affordable technologies, many organisations are moving to new operational models, which are less about fixed places of work, regular hours, or full-time employment. These models are more about bringing the best available talent together online, at a point in time, for specific projects or objectives, and then just as quickly disbanding them.

Research shows that the average desk is only occupied 43% of the time, even during conventional working hours. In this era of austerity it makes no sense to be paying for something that gets used less than half of the time! Offices will reduce in size, and in many cases cease to exist. Get ready for your office to become Virtual, with meetings via Skype rather than face to face; Twitter or Facebook chat will take the place of the morning watercooler banter.

Also, did you know that Britons collectively waste 4.6 million hours a day commuting to work? A DAY! In these time-starved days can we really afford that?

So get ready for the era of self-employment, where the majority are freelance. You choose the work that you do, if you don’t like it, move on and find something else. People will have the kind of “portfolio careers” envisaged by business gurus Charles Handy & Tom Peters in the Eighties. To some that might sound scary; to others it’s empowering.

You are your own Brand – You Ltd. Start working now on your LinkedIn profile and your social media strategy. Security in this next decade will come from learning to live with insecurity!

Are you ready ?

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