Monday, August 24, 2015
Where Will Work Be in 10 Years?
Wired.uk recently asked me to write a short 100 word answer on what our workplaces will look like in ten years. One hundred words is pretty small; here's my full response:
It's not about what work will be in 10 years, but what it should be. Service work and the Uber-esque sharing economy support middle-class lifestyles via progressive legislation; these jobs can't be outsourced and support a real living wage. Silicon Valley makes its service workers (janitors, etc.) first class employees. Computers and networks eliminate and subsume middle management; collaborative tools allow teams to self-assemble, communicate, and work nimbly. AI doesn't replace people, but augments them. We learn to harness both analytics and empathy.
Today Silicon Valley companies like Google see their offices as exclusive preserves to provide high-end amenities to keep their employees. In the future they will integrate much better into their local communities, providing public spaces and leaving behind infrastructure that raise the quality of life for everyone, not just employees. The physical membrane separating offices from the outside will dissolve a bit.
The importance of physical offices will also decline; we are actually at peak "real office". Collaborative tools and stronger individual and organizational skills will allow telecommuting to truly go mainstream. Coworking spaces will provide community for these workers.
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