People think the future of work is about technology or working remote or about everybody being a freelancer or contractor, or some combination of all of these.
These may be things that are happening, but they aren’t really important. Not as important as discovering, perhaps for the first time, why we work.
Traditionally, I believe we work because we’re expected to. What is a human but a creature that moves a block from one place to another (insert whatever you want for the word block)? We work because that’s what we do. We live to work, instead of work to live. It’s about survival.
So people are focusing on building tools that make it easier to move those blocks. We can now move blocks remotely. We can move blocks faster than ever. We have machines that move blocks, and AI algorithms that show us how to move them more efficiently. We can move blocks from our phone, and soon, in virtual reality. But this isn’t the future of work.
No, the real future of work is more emotional, even more economically implicating, and more about people than about tools.
It’s about people deciding that they can do work that enables them to live the lives they want, and it’s about rediscovering what it is that we want in the first place. I don’t think most people reading this would tell me they want a big mansion or loft, shiny new car or $2,000 bicycle, or the latest MacBook Pro 15″ laptop and $500 leather bag if it meant they could only travel for four weeks of the year, needed to commute an hour each way every day, and that they didn’t get to control their schedule or the work they did on a daily basis. I just don’t believe you are that person. I’m not that person.
Luckily we don’t have to be, and neither do the people we serve.
See, coworking is merely a tool we use to achieve something else. It’s not the point in and of itself. It’s a step in the process toward allowing people to become who they were meant to be instead of cogs in a machine.
No, I don’t think this means everybody needs to be a freelancer, entrepreneur, or what have you. I do, however, believe it means people choosing what work means to them, what a quality life means to them, and having access to more powerful tools to decide these things like never before.
So what exactly is the real future of work?
It’s processes, beliefs, tools, or people that enable experimentation, it’s radical support, and it’s incredible flexibility with time and energy output. It’s a focus on results, not time. It’s taking a hike in the middle of a workday, not only because you can, but because it replenishes you and helps you make a bigger impact. It’s changing the way traditional middle management chooses to manage, perhaps getting rid of them altogether. It’s a relentless focus on why we produce things instead of just producing more of whatever it is we produce.
There’s a workplace revolution happening right now and it has only a small bit to do with coworking, only a small bit to do with technology. It has everything to do with people waking up and saying, I am not willing to be a cog anymore, I am a person, and I can’t go back.
How do you fit into that future of work? That’s what’s happening. That’s what’s important.