New Work Evolution
by Martin Hönle
This morning my mother told me how, at the age of 16, she was the first young woman in the area to get her driver's license for a tractor. That must have been around 1950 and around 25% of the population worked in agriculture at the time. Today it is 1.2% and work processes are increasingly being determined by robotics and artificial intelligence (AI).
The world of work has always been in flux and here are five recent topics:
The Corona Pandemic was a major disruption for the world of work, especially in offices. Suddenly everyone had to stay at home and also work from home. Decentralized work structures, access to important data from outside and video conferences were suddenly possible, and teams had to be managed and organized in a decentralized manner. Necessity is the mother of invention and provided a boost in innovation and new working models. The initial enthusiasm for the home office was followed by concerns about isolation and loneliness. Companies have to work economically and the employees ask themselves: Do I really have to go back to the office and how do I organize my everyday life? The impact of the pandemic will continue.
Digital natives who grew up with apps, smartphones and social media are entering the job market with new expectations. Linear and hierarchical structures are often alien to them, 'everything digital' is a creative tool. They expect companies to be on the cutting edge of technology and employers to align with their values and beliefs. Digital natives do not want to be a number in the big machine and want their personality to be recognized and respected. For many, work-life balance is more important than high income.
With the launch of ChatGPT, artificial intelligence is on everyone's lips and artificial intelligence goes much further, for example in sales processes, production processes and delivery services, but also medical care, education, arts and entertainment. Dall.E - generating and editing images - promises only peaceful use of its technology. Can its use be foreseen and planned? What is certain, AI harbors dangers and many jobs will be eliminated, especially in very labour-intensive and repetitive areas such as transport. But we also know from experience that new technologies always open up new potential and employment opportunities.
In the IT industry, up to 70% of employees work remotely, i.e. they are not in the office. 16% of all companies worldwide are without offices and the employees are organized decentralised. The majority of employees can and want to work from home or elsewhere, and being able to work hybrid in and out of the office makes a position more attractive. People are more effective at home and commuting and related costs are eliminated. And those who can go to the mountains or the sea side for the summer and work from there, will do just that. The trend will increase.
Global climate change will have a major impact on the world of work. It is expected that many people will have to leave their homes because of the negative impact of environmental changes. The number of climate refugees could reach 1.2 billion by 2050, according to some estimates. The pressure on regions that are less affected would be immense. Climate change will force us to completely rethink work and business (keyword regenerative economy) and we will develop new work models and jobs.
We easily forget, nothing stays the same.