The Future of Work

Career Planning

Jobs have been evolving since the beginning of human existence, thanks to a combination of technological, social and economic changes. And they continue to evolve today. Some jobs disappear and new jobs become available. These changes can be viewed as good or bad, depending on one’s position. However, the changes currently taking place are generally positive and should allow for more flexibility,independence, and career satisfaction.

Changing Definition of a Job

The word “job” brings to mind a corporate employee sitting in a cubicle for nine or ten hours a day. A “real job” has long been viewed as one that involves going to a place of employment where one works for at least 40 hours per week. But with technology, the definition of a job is changing. More employees and entrepreneurs have the opportunity to work from home. And thanks to media platforms like YouTube people can become famous without ever leaving home.

Working from home was once seen as sketchy because there were few legitimate work from home opportunities. However, employers are more open to allowing employees to do some or all of their work from home. There are also more opportunities to make income online, whether it’s selling handmade goods on Etsy or freelance writing for various websites.

More Flexibility

Young professionals are realizing that personal time is valuable, maybe even more important than higher pay or other perks. The traditional 8-5 work hours don’t usually allow enough time for doctor’s visits, banking, caring for sick relatives, and other responsibilities. Employers wishing to attract and keep the best employees will need to offer some flexibility. Flexibility may mean working non-traditional hours, choosing to work fewer days with longer hours, job sharing or working from home.

Shorter Workweeks and Fewer Hours

Some employers have already gone to the four day work week, or they close early on Fridays. The four day work week will become increasingly common since most employees can accomplish their work within four days. Thanks to technology, tasks that once took hours can be completed in seconds (or automated) and fewer work hours will be needed. Some professions already work fewer than forty hours per week on average, and this will continue to expand to other jobs.

Increased Focus on Independence

Independence is an important career value. People want more freedom over how, when, and where they work. Independence allows for greater creativity and may improve productivity as well. Careers that offer autonomy are also more satisfying overall. Everyone has a boss, but it’s best not to have one that dictates every move.

Multiple Sources of Income

With mass layoffs and decreased employer loyalty, a single source of income is no longer secure. Many individuals have learned that multiple sources of income are better than relying on one. It may mean having several part-time or freelance positions, or a main source with a few smaller sources through contracting or freelance work. If one job is lost, there are still other ways to help pay the bills.

More flexibility, independence, and income options are just some of the changes workers are currently experiencing. Those who take advantage of these changes and see them as opportunities will be best prepared for career success in the decades to come.

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