the future of work / el futuro del trabajo

The future of work

This week, I gave some lecturers about the future of work, and the effects of digitalization on the workplace. Now I want to share some ideas with you. Being a trending topic today, there are many people wondering what to expect in the coming years.

Two years ago, the World Economic Forum releases a list with the top skills for 2025. A list of 15 skills and capabilities trying to explain what kind of professional profiles will be most valued in the near future. The root cause to explain the rationale behind this list can be easily found if you regularly read about companies and business context.

The effects of digitalization

When we think of digitalization, we usually think about technology, but we should think about people. Technology came many years ago to stay, and its presence has become more relevant lately, pushed by some recent events; the pandemic, the scarcity of resources, social polarization, and the climate and energetic crisis to mention some.

Technology brings us new opportunities and challenges already, and it will be more in the future. But it’s us, humans, who are at the center of this changing process. The major effect of this digitalization era is the change in our mindset, and not the technology itself, which at the end it’s only a mediator between people, an element conditioning many things in the working place. This is us who have to adapt.

New mindset

In the last two and a half years, there has been a collective change in people’s mindset.

With the pandemic and the consequent lockdowns, people discovered new ways of working, new opportunities, and many things in the old workplace that they did no longer want.

They discovered the advantages of remote work, its effects on their work-life balance. Employees all over the world, somehow, blurred some physical barriers and found how they could work with people in different parts of the world, easily and smooth.

On the other side, they exchanged part of their private lives to have more flexibility. According to some studies, 70% of the workforce extends the working hours when they’re remote. It seems that quitting the virtual working space is less easy than leaving the office.

In this trade-off, employees’ wants, and needs have changed for good. And so, did the required skills to outperform in this new context.

The context

Technology makes it possible to work in hybrid and remote environments. And we often forget that work is not only about tasks, but people. There are people at the other side of our screen. 

The real challenge for the future is nurturing human relationships. Distance and physical detachment won’t help us to build trusted and healthy relationships. But we need it.

This can explain why some of these skills are in the aforementioned list. The future of work calls for more social skills, a developed emotional competency, and more inclusion. 

The digitalization era is the soft-skills era. Technology can be a helper or a barrier, it will be our skills and our acceptance of change what can make the difference.

Image: by Josh Hild at Unsplash