There are many issues affecting working life, globally, now and well into the future. Why is this, what’s happening?
Well there are many factors, not all of them directly due to digital transformation….…..
· Covid 19 lockdowns forced people to work from home (in many professions). Many have stayed at home or adopted a hybrid pattern partly at home, partly at work
· There had been a growing movement to working remotely anyway (regardless of lockdowns), especially by data-intensive and technical-based workers who had increasingly become aware how little their presence on site was required, moreover how much time was being spent commuting, dressing up etc.
· Employees are becoming (generally) better educated than before and may need less close supervision
· Good visual and audio tools (such as Teams, Zoom) are available to make connections wherever needed
· Some companies are actively encouraging staff to adopt a 4-day working week (still based on 37.5 hours per week) as a way to enable staff to balance their lives in a better way
· Many people are questioning the very basis of working arrangements i.e. exchanging labour for payment, purely on the basis of time spent rather than results achieved
· Increasing automation, especially AI, which is changing the fundamental nature of work in many cases and often for the better. Watch out for a future article specifically about chatGPT – I actually asked it what its take is 😁on this topic!!
· Shortages of key trained staff
· Use of part-time, perhaps contracted workers, rather than full-time
· Many employees are choosing to move around, change employers, change roles. Much reduced long-term loyalty to a particular employer
· Falling birth rates in many developed countries, leading to long-term labour shortages
· Use of contractors, often off-shore to handle work more cost-efficiently than locals
· Substantial changes in the global economic system due to:
- a growing realisation that it is unsustainable for economies to keep growing ad infinitum. This will most likely create pressure to reduce over-consumption and wastefulness, thus increasing competitive pressures and lowering sales volumes
- substantial changes in global trade conditions,
- in particular a strong movement (led by USA) to back-peddle on global free
- trade policies and favour local development wherever possible
These factors may lead to:
§ less work in total being available worldwide
§ spreading the available work more equally, meaning that the 40-hour week (or 37.5, depending on where you are) may change, perhaps to 20 hours per week, with a commensurate drop in income for everyone
· Improving conditions in many under-developed parts of the world (not universally true of course, especially among the under-educated and under-nourished)
· Climate change factors, both impact and response, changing many industries quite dramatically
· Opportunities for passive income e.g. investments
Some possible consequences:
· Entire businesses may become redundant, especially if they are too slow or unable to adapt
· Other businesses may reduce drastically in size, style and scope e.g. tourism
· More work is undertaken robotically, including AI-assisted
· Fewer available jobs
· Slower promotions
· Changed career prospects
· Pressure to continue learning and changing
· Pay rates may change (down or up), possibly
What about lessons from the past?
For me (and probably your parents and older relatives), it’s
possible to make a comparison between conditions at the start of our careers
and throughout them, with those confronting you at the start of yours.
For me at least they are quite different – I had abundant
choice, the ‘world was my oyster’! It was varied in scope and location, doing a
lot of different things (including running my own businesses) and working in
several different parts of the world. What I did was very much my choice 😊.
So what can YOU do for YOU?
“Perhaps it’s a good time to ask yourself some fundamental questions:
- Are you happy with the way your life, especially your working life, is progressing?
- Are you being honest with yourself?
- Do you feel you could be doing better?
- Indeed, are you doing the right things?”
- Where is YOUR boundary (if any) between work and life. Or is work really your life?
:then seek counsel. There’s nothing quite like having a good chat about the issue!
You may already have access to excellent, trustworthy people to help you
answer these questions. Or you may not feel you need counsel. Everyone should
choose what’s right for them and at the right time.
But someone outside your current circle may be the best option, providing independent, balanced help.
At this point in your career, I strongly suggest you consider undergoing a coaching program – there are many available (just ask Google 😊). I recognise that coaching isn’t for everyone – it is in fact more intensive than mentoring!
Perhaps look at this website For Anyone – Coaching (marketingprofessionalsaustralia.com.au).
But, I emphasise, it does require commitment – yours in particular!
Of course it can be a great time to be flexible and very much opportunistic, but only if you’re adequately prepared and have had a good long look at yourself beforehand😊.