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Jun 10, 2016 — TrackFive

Track5Takes: Will We Work Less or More in the Future?

This is the first installment of a series we’d like to call Track5Takes. Throughout the week, we come across a variety of interesting subjects dealing with marketing, social media, and technology among other things. Our staff often discusses these articles or videos, with each of us forming our own opinions. We’d like to not only inform you about what’s going on in the marketing and technological world, but we want to show a little personality by giving our own “takes” on various issues.

The first issue we decided to look at was “Will we work less or more in the future?” After recently stumbling across a Forbes article by David Carr that discussed the future and just how it would change our working habits. Our staff had a variety of unique opinions on the matter.

Connor Smith, Marketing Specialist – When you think about it, having computers take over our menial tasks is essentially the reason we started building them in the first place. I, for one, welcome the AI-utopia promised to us by futurists like Ray Kurzweil – unless this technology interprets mankind as the greatest danger to ourselves.

So, maybe we’ll be working more, but I think it’s likely we’ll be more focused on tasks that only humans can perform (at least for the time being).

I can’t help but wonder how technology will affect blue-collar jobs and the traditional “backbone” of the American economy. Maybe we’ll just have more robotic construction vehicles or completely automated factories (if they’re not already outsourced), but what then? It seems that this whole work more passionately concept is geared toward those lofty jobs where a work/life balance is seen more as a condition for employment rather than a luxury.

If anything, I might be concerned that more automation in the office would lead to higher demands for expert workers at a lesser volume. Why pay someone to file expense reports when you can do so at the press of the button? At the same time, I can see how a company might reach greater heights simply because they aren’t focusing on distracting, passion-leeching tasks.

Honestly, though, it’s hard to believe that certain industries will ever opt for a robotic creative director or CEO – these streamlining technologies may just allow people to focus more on the meat of respective business.

Troy Diffenderfer, Marketing Intern – I thought long and hard about this one, and I decided to look at it from two different angles. First, I looked at it from the hardworking, eager beaver, looking to maximize efficiency to complete as many tasks as possible. Then, I looked at myself. Sadly, throughout my school years, I was adept at the fine art of procrastination and cutting corners. Some throw around those vulgar words like “lazy” and “minimalist,” while I counter with words like “efficient” and “ingenious.” To each there own, I suppose.

I believe initially we will, in fact, work not only less, but more efficiently as well. With technology rapidly growing, more and more menial tasks will be taken care of for us. Self-driving cars will populate highways, drones will deliver food and mail at the touch of a button, and many blue-collar jobs will cease to exist.

I also think many companies, especially tech and marketing companies, will opt to have many employees work from home. With increasing communication technology, estimates suggest that almost half of all professionals have a job that they can do from home. Not only will this cut down on expenses for the company, but employee morale will also rise as they spend more time with their family.

I think it’s the Internet, and networking, not robotics, that will allow us to work less and more efficiently. Whether or not we use that spare time to become productive, I’m not sure.

“We will be working more for ourselves – working on things we are passionate about,” said Kate Kendall, CEO and founder of CloudPeeps.

I guess it really depends on the passion. Hopefully, these passion projects will produce even better technology that will help us work smarter, not harder.

Ekom Enyong, Marketing Specialist – The future of work depends on the definition of work. I predict that the way we work will drastically change; meaning the definition of work will have to change too. Work will not continue to be this nine to five model. The two largest factors that will determine the future of work will be technological advances and the work-life balance.

Developers will continue to create software that makes getting through the workday easier. I think that companies continuing to use dated technologies and inefficient processes will see their top talent leave for competitors or other industries.

New business organization models

In the marketing, communications, and tech industries, in the future, I would expect to see businesses start to follow one of two organization models: e-lancing and live-in work. There are companies that currently operate like each of these models, but I think we will see many more companies follow suit.

E-Lance Model

Technological innovations will spur the growth of the e-lance model. The new software will lead to more efficient workdays and the elimination of administrative tasks and some entire positions. I imagine receptionists being replaced by kiosks (see iPad Receptionist app). The most skilled workers will still be able to find work.

E-lance companies will operate with a small “core” group of salaried employees, but for the most part, will hire contract workers that will live elsewhere and will rarely, if ever, see company headquarters.

Live-in Work Model

For employers and employees who are unable to separate their work from home life, a live-in work model will emerge. These companies will provide many onsite amenities for their employers.

These may include cafeterias, child daycare, health clinics, maybe a grocery store, and of course recreational activities. Employers that choose this method will fully value the benefits that come with creating a sense of community with your employees.

In terms of hours or days, I don’t think that we will work more, but technological innovations will help employees to get more done in a day and work more efficiently. Perhaps we will work more, but it will feel like less.

I think people will be happier working because they will have the choice of how to work as an individual contributor, or as part of a collaborative team.

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