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Future of work

The Future of Work – Time for a New Conversation

by Nicholas Edwards on May 29, 2018

Technology has the potential to transform the way we work for the better, yet so much of the discussion revolves around worst-case scenarios and scaremongering. It’s time we started a new conversation.

You have probably all read the stories – the march of technology is unstoppable; the machines are coming for our jobs.

We are told of a future of work where jobs – whole professions, even – will be sacrificed in favour of automation and efficiency. The remaining human jobs will revolve around servicing the machines, enabling them to work ever more efficiently.

But this is just one way of looking at it.

Technology also has the potential to work for us, to engage us in our work, to bring us together in collaboration, and make our work lives better and more enjoyable. It is time we started talking about the future of work in these terms.

In order to build a better future of work, we need to understand where we are now and where we want to be. Once we know that, we can harness the power of technology to drive the necessary changes.

Where are we now?

Today’s world of work is a strange mixture of old and new. Technology has transformed work processes in recent years, but it has failed to significantly improve the quality of our work lives. The focus of technology has been to speed up processes and improve efficiency, but little attention has been paid to employee happiness and wellbeing.

In many cases, attitudes to work have failed to keep up with employees’ changing needs and expectations. Most of us still have little say over where, when and how we work – expectations tend to run one way, from employer to employee.

Traditional office environments suit some people, but not everyone. In many cases, work environments and practices have been designed with efficiency in mind, not the mental and physical wellbeing of employees.

Organisations increasingly understand the importance of employee engagement in terms of performance, productivity, happiness and retention. Yet efforts to improve engagement levels have largely failed – nine of out ten employees globally are not engaged in their jobs. Work is clearly not working.

Where do we want to be?

We all want to do work that is engaging, meaningful, enjoyable and fulfilling. We all want to work for organisations that associate success with a happy, motivated and engaged workforce, where we are supported, nurtured and encouraged to be our best. We all want to be treated as individuals, and valued for our own unique abilities.

Not only is this desirable, it is also necessary – employee engagement will continue to fall short unless we see a change in ethos. And with attitudes changing outside of work, you could even say this is inevitable.

In the future of work, organisations will need to place employee engagement at the heart of their business decisions. But for this to happen, they need a greater understanding of their employees and their individual needs. This is where technology can help.

How do we get there?

Once we know what we want the future of work to look like, we can use technology as the driver of change. Technology can enable and embody this new ethos, and help organisations shift towards a more employee-centric, human approach to work.

This is exactly what we are doing at People First. We have built a revolutionary new software platform designed to enable a better, more productive way of working for everyone.

People First puts employee engagement at the heart of HR, utilising the science of flow to help keep everyone in that sweet spot of focus and engagement. The aim is to empower users through AI, chatbots and analytics, giving us a better understanding of what makes individuals tick, and helping us to make better, more people-centric decisions.

After all, the future of work should be about people. The role of technology is not to replace us or control us, but to enhance human processes, allowing us to build a future of work where employee engagement, happiness and wellbeing are seen as benchmarks of success.