Understand how work is changing

‘From work to workupation’ – that’s how Gerd Leonhard describes in a recent article the new understanding of ‘work’ . Working for earning a living is the traditional description what we and earlier generations think of in a first instant, when we are asked why we work. But it seems that it is not the whole truth anymore…

People fear that new technologies may substitute them, that networking and too much transparency may create disadvantages or still worse: make us weak and needless. The reaction: work more, optimize results, work also in evenings and weekends…. The number of burnouts is enormously growing. But there’s no way out: technology and abilities of machines grows and develops further. Where should this lead to? To a future horror scenario for entire societies and generations?

While we still continue to optimize our output – and be it at any cost – there might be a solution coming up at the horizons. It is not that we can change the earth turning around. If we want to change, we need to change ourselves. The way on how we think about work. Refinding passion in what we do. Workupation. What this means?

“…the term ‘work’ itself may soon become quite useless. I propose to create a new term: workupation. This fusion of ‘occupation’ and ‘work’ might be better suited to describe our future because whatever we will be occupied with is very likely to become our new work, monetised i.e. paid-for in a myriad of new ways, many of which are inconceivable or utterly unfeasible today. Just take a look at how Flattr is proposing to pay people for their journalistic contributions, and how social reputation is already metered on platforms such as Klout or Peerindex.
We are rapidly becoming a truly ‘networked society’ and ‘work’ is one of those core disruption zones that is impacted by the exponential advancements in ‘big data’ technologies, machine intelligence, robotics and overall automation. Crowdsourcing, tele-working and the globally overall dissolving barriers between industries (e.g. Google’s self-driving car which is now forcing the automotive business to reimagine what they do) are additional trends that impact the future of work.
…global trend towards mobilization, the rampant consumerization of IT and the total empowerment of consumers that goes with it, as well as the explosive growth of social media in almost all industries have already led to an increased blurring of private versus business matters. Recent studies have confirmed that many of us are now working 10-20% more than before we had those powerful smart phones and social-business-networks. It is already hard to say if what we are doing at any given moment is ‘work’ or not – it is just simply ‘what we do’ and often what we feel passionate about – and this trend will only get stronger in the future as we are leaving the menial data-driven and somewhat mechanical tasks to smart machines and move on to focus on our human-only capabilities. This, to me, defines the shift from work to workupation…”

I like this new way of thinking. What about you?

Related content
Mechanical tasks will focus on human-only capabilities: Gerd Leonhard – Economic Times

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Eina says:

    I think we don’t have to fear the future. As long as we have the idea of what’s going to be in store for us then there’s a plenty of time to get ready. We just have to open to change. We have to adapt to it and keep ourselves updated. Technology nowadays is changing our way of life but change doesn’t have to be a negative force. 🙂
    You also might want to read this interesting article: http://www.staff.com/blog/7-trends-for-the-future-of-work-to-2020/


    1. digitaltome says:

      Thanks for sharing! The trends you describe are already very visible, at least in large companies. And, yes, there are a lot of positive thinking and opportunities in this new way of working.
      If you are interested in writing a guest blog here, you are welcome. Just let me know.


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