Work-life harmony and death of 8-hour workdays
The future of work is where life and work coexist seamlessly.
We talk a lot about work-life balance. Balancing life and work, for many, is hard. Even when we talk about an excellent work-life balance, it results from constant effort to balance everything.
It looks like people working from 9 to 5 and then finding time for their family, hobbies etc. In today's world, a job where you have to work around 8 hours a day is perceived to have an excellent work-life balance.
This good balance warrants a clear separation and prioritisation between work and life. Mostly, life follows work.
The future is not about work-life balance but Work-Life Harmony.
In an ideal (not so far away) world, work and life can coexist without affecting each other. I won't need clear separation between the two, no painful context switching. Both your work and life co-exist harmoniously, making each other a bit better than usual.
Work, purpose and B-corps
People who work get bored when they don't work.
People who don't work never get bored.
I feel that many people in tech talk about happiness and work-life balance because the nature of work we do is very unsatisfying. Compare it to someone who cooks food for a living. My thesis is that doing creating physical things gives people more satisfaction.
Does that mean knowledge work will never be satisfying? NO.
This is where companies with a purpose come in. The companies which make a change, improve people's lives, change the face of the earth - such companies give people meaning.
As we climb Maslow's hierarchy of needs, people will want to work more meaningful jobs. Companies that can give people a sense of purpose will have an easier time hiring and retaining talent. This is why the number of B-corps is on the rise.
Certified B Corporations are social enterprises verified by B Lab, a nonprofit organisation. B Lab certifies companies based on creating value for non-shareholding stakeholders, such as their employees, the local community, and the environment.
Automation and creative jobs
Many "boring" jobs today are being automated as we speak. You don't need fancy AI for this. Tools like Zapier automate many tedious processes that used to be a person's full-time job.
The rise of no-code tools in the form of tool builders, workflow builders, etc., is already replacing a chunk of the workforce. A significant percentage of a company's workforce will be focused on creative jobs in a few years.
Blurring lines between work and life
The future of work will blur the lines between work and life. We will be plan our day and fit work into it - not the other way around. The concept of an 8-hour workday is already dead. Modern remote teams who chose async first communication are already in this realm.
Let's take a real-life example.
As a product manager, a lot of my work includes just thinking and coming up with solutions. This can be done when I'm walking in a scenic setting.
I can work while walking, come home and write down all my thoughts.
Work and life can co-exist. Peacefully.
But there is a caveat - if the work you do is stressful, it will end up eating your life.
Top companies compete to give fancy employee benefits and make the workplace a delight to be in - from flexible work, physical and mental healthcare and gym memberships to child care support.
Jobs that give you freedom
Employees will choose where they want to work how they want to work. Location agnostic jobs enable this. This is already a reality, waiting to become a norm.
Companies will compete with top talents, giving them a purpose, excellent compensation and exceptional benefits.
Flexibility is already a benefit. I'm sure thousands of people reject job offers every day because they are not flexible enough.
I recently spoke to someone who had a lucrative offer but had to work in the evenings to ensure enough "overlap". They ended up rejecting the offer.
Compensation is the means, not a solution.
A 9-5 or an 8 hour workday will be a thing of the past soon. Companies who prepare and adapt to this will win. Of course, there are different kinds of work that might not suit the async first approach. But a huge percentage of the office jobs existing today can be done this way.
Cheers to the future that belongs to the employees 🥂
Does all this sound too futuristic? Fifteen years ago, if you told someone about today’s remote work world, they too would have felt the same. We are not far from this future. It is coming at us faster than we think. If you loved reading, spread the word.
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