Wisdom Workers – Sky Business with Marty Switzer

switzer_and_me_11_June_14This week Sky Business’s Marty Switzer and I looked at the Future of Work, that can in a phrase be summarised as back to the future.

As we move through the next few years and decades work will increasingly be dictated by outcome and not hours spent, as we move into a workplace that requires us to do the work at the most appropriate time and place for it be done, rather than shoehorning artificially into the industrial revolution model of a 9 – 5 Monday to Friday work period.

This work model served us well when the nature of work was industrial and repetitive, required us to physically attend at a given place and pre agreed time to do our part in a larger production wheel, but with the nature and type of future work broadening, with work moving beyond the physical space to include an access anytime digital space that can have us working locally, regionally or internationally, the necessity for a fixed workspace and mandated 9-5 Monday to Friday is disappearing.

Add to this a world that “wants what it wants, when it wants it” and is becoming increasingly used to getting it and a workforce that will work into their 80’s have 6 careers and 14 jobs and will work a portfolio of jobs rather than just one job with one employer at any one time and you have a very different workspace of the future.

My Back to the Future analogy is that pre-industrial revolution this new work model was ordinary and the way most people worked was to attend to tasks on the land and elsewhere as and when they needed to be done, undertaking a portfolio of jobs as and when each needed to get done and understanding that work and life played in concert with each other, rather than being forced to compete with each other.

Life was by no means perfect or easy then and the idea is not to romanticise this work style, but rather to look at its dynamic and fluid nature as a model for what will come next.

We also chatted about future proof careers for today’s students and the industries that will grow and flourish into tomorrow, which brought us to the discussion of wisdom workers – my term for those that will flourish in tomorrow’s workspaces.

To survive and thrive tomorrow we will have to understand that there will be a clear divide between repetitive and mundane tasks that will increasingly be done by machines and robots using synthetic or digital thinking to keep them on track and on task and those others tasks that will best be done by humans, because they will require wisdom or the ability to personalise or add value or purpose to what is made by  machines and that this notion will apply equally to services and products.

Watch the segment now and then leave me your thoughts on tomorrow’s workplace.

Eye on the Future - Jun 11, 2014 | All, Television, Work
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