What is the future model of work?

A short answer to the future “model worker” lies stronger in the concepts of Human Relations and New Work and less in the Scientific Management or Work 4.0. A misfit, hacker, disruptor, maverick, a creative, passionate and innovative worker is needed to excel the future challenges of businesses and society and so are new organisational models needed to let these employees thrive.

Daniel Susskind (2018) stated in his TED talk that technology will eliminate millions of jobs. Even if new tasks and jobs are created, it does not necessarily mean that humans will do them anymore [See Youtube Link].

A similar view shares Yuval Noah Harari (2016), where he talks about possible scenarios of heavy unemployment caused by technology, especially artificial intelligence. Even lawyers and doctors are not safe of this heavy shift. Many will remain unemployable. [See Youtube link].

This scary view of the future indicates that some aspects of Work 4.0 become less practical over time or will shift into the industry 4.0 theme, because jobs which can be automated or replaced by AI and robotics, will not be executed anymore by humans and thus, no need to improve efficiency at a human level.

While New Work addresses employee happiness, commitment or engagement, the challenge for companies in all industries will be to create a new environment where employees really can thrive. According to the Cone Communication Study (2016), Millenials are seeking companies with a social and environmental commitment and purpose [https://bit.ly/3nzcu0z]. Daniel Pink (2011) pointed out that the three intrinsic elements of motivation are Purpose, Mastery and Autonomy. A further indication of why New Work will become much more important in the future of businesses and new management models.

New organisational and management models like the Teal Organisation (Frederic Laloux, 2015, Reinventing Organisations), Holocracy (Brian J. Robertson, 2016, Holocracy) or Exponential Organisations (Salim Ismail, 2014, Exponential Organisation) have similar ideologies in their concepts. Purpose-driven, empowerment and enablement of employees, agile organisational design, openness for change, learning culture and experimentation.

Deloitte mentioned in their article; Purpose is everything. “Purpose is a core differentiator. Purpose-oriented companies have higher productivity and growth rates, along with a more satisfied workforce who stay longer with them. Our research shows that such companies report 30 percent higher levels of innovation and 40 percent higher levels of workforce retention than their competitors.” [​Jennifer Barron, 2019, https://bit.ly/2IJ2raG]

But the purpose is not just important on a company level; it is also important on a team and individual level. And maybe we should also think about having a purpose on a country level, or even for humanity.

The world is becoming more complex, and the belief that we can solve all our problems finally is hopeful but unrealistic. Thus skills like critical, bold, future and creative thinking, intrinsically motivation, change and learning orientation, agile & hacker mindsets will be a crucial skill for the future model worker.

All this does not mean that there is no place for aspects of Work 4.0 in future. Collaborative robotics and augmented intelligence, for example, will do its part to help employees to do their work better. It will not be used as a direct measurement for efficiency or optimisation like the scientific management would declare it; it should be seen more as a helping hand for the work of a disruptor to help create value. Businesses will need to layout strategies for the new work era, to keep innovating, create value and stay competitive over a longer period and grow sustainable.

New Work over Work 4.0.