Last week the Wall Street Journal ran a feature where they asked a bunch of different people in various professions and industries about their take on the future. A couple of them seem particularly relevant to what I'm trying to do here about making the future of work a little bit better for everyone.
"It should not matter what hours you work or where you're [working] from. What matters is how you communicate and what you get done. It's a waste of the natural resources of time and energy to commute; when we break the shackles of what looks like work versus what actually drives value, 90% of the cost and space of an office and management will disappear. We will manage by trust and measuring output, rather than the easier task of tallying input."
"With the increase in the number of startups over the past five years, we've entered the age of democratized entrepreneurship. Just about anyone can afford to launch a business these days, as well as being able to get access to the information they need to see some success at it."
"As offices improve their ability to follow us everywhere—out of the building envelope and into cafes, homes, bathrooms, via smartphones and computers—cities will reshape themselves to become more like offices, with entire districts centered around co-working and other forms of sharing workspace."
"In the good old days, the secretary did all the hard work and the boss did two things: dictating and editing. But email has made secretaries of us all; we spend up to 38% of our day managing email."
My Take on the Future
Predictions are usually a recipe for putting your foot in your mouth so I'm going to keep it pretty general. Independent work is a real thing. For many types of work across numerous industries it's no longer necessary to work for an established organization. On the entrepreneurship side of things, it's also not necessary to try to create as large an organization as quickly as possible (think Silicon Valley). Creating a small business or working as an independent professional creates space for you to care about something other than money when thinking about ideal outcomes. Work that aligns with our values, is meaningful, and intrinsically rewarding is becoming more and more possible for people who are willing to take some risks and make deliberate decisions across all aspects of their lives.
That's where I think we're headed as a society and I'm doing everything I can to line myself up in such a way as to be a part of that change. Are you?
Photo by Scott Smithson