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OP-ED: Imagining The Future of Work: Get Ready For it — Michael Jjingo

Let’s embrace technological changes. The future of the workplace might seem intimidating, but it also offers exciting possibilities.

What’s the future of work? Many people believe it will be remote working, others think it will entail more staff independence. Some say the future of work will not have an entry or retirement age, and all employers will make that decision based on the value of the individual employees (Value addition).

Delving into possibilities.

The landscape of work is in constant evolution, accelerated by advances in technology and shifts in societal norms determining the work-life; artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), fluid career paths, and porous working environments. The necessary mindsets and skills are necessary. Comfort with remote and digital tools, project-based work, and cross-functional collaboration shall be pertinent.

It is important to understand the evolution of the workplace. Automation is to drive the survival of organizations, hiring and retention of the best talent; Foreseeing, understanding, and handling workforce and workplace challenges. In short, e-keeping abreast of these trends and making organizational changes shall be critical for future success.

As the future of work evolves, noteworthy are the three components to it. Workplaces are to address how organizations and workers will collaborate with techs like artificial intelligence augmentation, machine learning, and cognitive tech. Tech to determine how businesses shall retain employees, automate repetitive tasks, and leverage gigs/ freelancers, outsourced services, etc.

As we examine the role of artificial intelligence, by offering unparalleled efficiency and precision, this shall not replace humans but rather empower them. The automating of repetitive tasks, optimizing logistics, data analytics, and artificial intelligence shall supercharge productivity and decision-making capabilities. We shall leverage human creativity and AI-powered efficiency.


ALSO READ: ARE HUMAN JOBS AT RISK BECAUSE OF AI? WELL, WE ASKED AI ITSELF


The reality? Alternative banking channels become the priority. Taking Disney’s example, Robert Iger, the CEO, shared that Disney was to be affected by streaming services for Netflix. However, from the moment Robert took over, he resolved to leverage technology. In contrast, well-loved businesses like Kodak and Nokia didn’t survive because they didn’t embrace the tech-led change in time.

The future of work will be characterized by flexed career paths, driven by technological advancements, environmental conservation focus, and societal transformations; diversifying skills and knowledge bases, from coding, and design work to counseling, offering that versatility in an ever-changing job market. Informal education, online courses, or mentorship programs, will be relevant.

The working environments of the future will be more porous. Traditional teams shall be replaced by an ecosystem where internal employees and freelancers shall collaborate. This change shall be powered by digitization. It shall pivot the focus from the single employer-employee relationship to network-based employment run by Agencies; the opportunity to work for multiple companies at one go, enhancing experience, expanding the network, and diversifying income streams.

The personal brand and network, or showcasing of skills and expertise are to turn the tide. Platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook shall establish an online presence and find freelance opportunities. The future employee must have a website and web presence on Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, TaskRabbit, and blogs. Employers shall see that presence and assess it accordingly.

Digitization is the future driver of work. Imagine Teacher Kalori Agaba, a UPE school teacher using an online platform to teach the pupils, with Tabs. The future will see a reduction of rentable spaces, as people work from home or have a combination of two, hybrid solutions. Churches get repetitive tasks to be run by artificial intelligence, where one cleric can facilitate several churches at one go, using a preprogrammed BOT.

With artificial intelligence literacy, fostering commitment to lifelong learning, and becoming adept at working within network-based ecosystems, we shall survive and thrive in the dynamic work landscape of the future. We shall be able to unlock the work opportunities across cross-cutting fields like design thinking, digital executions, e-Commerce, and other opportunities.

To succeed in the future, leaders shall be more human. This shall ensure leadership is more accessible to teams, empathetic towards their workforce’s concerns and struggles, and leans on creating people-first policies where employees have a sense of purpose and meaningful work.

The self-managed teams with outcome-based management will be real. Not only shall it be more about self-accountability and productivity,  but also more effective in producing better results, as we put more trust in employees. Trust the teams, and give them authority and flexibility rather than controlling them.

Let’s embrace technological changes. The future of the workplace might seem intimidating, but it also offers exciting possibilities. By staying proactive, resilient, and adaptive, we can turn these trends to our advantage, shaping our careers and businesses rather than being shaped by them. The work of the future is not a distant reality; it’s unfolding right before us. The time to prepare is now.

ALSO READ: HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR WORK TEAM’S DATA LITERACY

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