The future of work and employment

The future of work and employment

Disclaimer: I am no expert, and everything I write is a common-sense possibility of what a positive future may look like based on a lot of reading by historians, scientists, medical specialists, economists, etc.

These posts are nothing more than fiction, science fiction or futurism at this point and there will be some creative licence and plot holes and if you want to engage constructively with me on these, feel free to use the comments section below.

In this series, I will be giving you an optimistic view of what could happen, and also what I hope will happen.

A lot of this stems from the world-building I did for a novel I started writing.

In my previous post, I outlined many of the problems we will be facing as we progress through this crisis and the likelihood of any others coming our way. I discussed the transport problem and crowds, all things individuals and organisations will have to face the consequences it implies.

In this post, I will be discussing the short and medium terms of work and employment with what I would like to see and the unfortunate carnage that is coming. I will address how we can mitigate the human looses and how we could create a new and, I think, viable economic and social systems in later posts.

As of this post, we are entering a new, and for now, fictitious future. But should you have questions or should you want to constructively engage with me on a concept you believe could be improved or even be changed completely, I encourage you to use the comments system below.

The immediate concern worldwide is the economy and getting it started again, this has been everywhere in the media and political spheres, but how do you go about restarting an economy?

The answer is you don’t!

If you think this is controversial, wait, there is plenty more coming throughout this journey into the unknown.

The economics of tomorrow will be vastly different from the economics of yesterday, there will be an attempt at falling back onto known and probably antiquated systems, but the blunders of COVID-19 will cause much damage to the governmental institutions. The aftermath in the economic sector will cause many countries population to revolt as they are sidelined or fall into hunger. This will lead to new governments and a dramatic change in politics, as those that profited from the situation will be held accountable by the people they were supposed to serve. Riots and protests will be the order of the day, it will eventually topple the current system, and I am hoping that it will bring humanity to a new dawn, one of peace and prosperity.

Now onto the bright and tragic future of work and employment.

Many of the advances that were made in the past few decades in automation, robotics and artificial intelligence, these will be fast-tracked and further development in all spheres of automation will be made making our reliance on technology even more significant than today.

This technological evolution sometimes referred to as the 4th industrial revolution, will create a new class of unemployed people but not because they do not want to work but because they will become redundant as their profession disappears. This is one of the realities that none of us can escape, and though new occupations will be created, most manual labour based jobs will be replaced by automation over the next few decades. The only manual trades that will be left will be any in the craftsmanship and arts, both of which are essential to humanities evolution.

As for the immediate consequences of the near-global lockdown? Many people are going to lose their jobs across all professions and all walks of life, save a few in the medical and other essential jobs. This will translate into a massive job loss globally, and no country is immune from this. I  believe that this economic catastrophe will be the catalyst for a new socio-economic system which will no longer be based on money but on a social and humanitarian basis, I will discuss that system in great details in the coming months.

Needless to say that if the socio-economic system changes so will the political system. I believe that politicians, as they are today, will vanish very soon and be replaced something that removes the biases of the current system but I am getting ahead of myself, this will be coming in future posts.

Back to the near future, those that can and have worked from home will continue to do so, the genie is out the box, and both employees and employers will see the benefits very soon. Those benefits are from spare time due to a lack of travel to general stress levels of employees are lowered. This will also have an economic benefit, as employees will no longer need to pay for transport, and employers will no longer need to pay for large offices and all that entails. This trend was pre-existing and will be fast-tracked. This makes a part of what I call the circular domino effect; I will explain how that works later if you read my previous post you may start to see the picture forming on how everything is interlinked.

If you think this will not happen in the next few years, think of what happened in the early twentieth century as we transitioned from horse and carriages to automobiles, it was not smooth. Still, it happened relatively quickly, about 20 years by some conservative reports. We are well into the first ten years of the “working from home” trend.

Returning to the subject at hand, the working from home policies will change the way that we build and buy homes to accommodate these new standards and large office buildings will be recycled and become residential buildings. The homes of tomorrow will also have a built-in office with stable high-speed internet connectivity for remote work and online meetings.

I can also see that companies mostly comprising of white-collar workers will have only have boardrooms, and hotdesks for essential face to face meetings. These companies will no longer buy computers or laptops for their employees but rather give a subsidy to their employees to purchase what they need as some companies have started doing. Software as a service such as Microsoft 365 (formally Microsoft Office 365) will become the standard, companies will pay for this service and the licence for the employee, as you move from company to company through your career, you will move from licence to licence of the software as a service.

There will be an unexpected benefit to having a part of the workforce working from home, carbon dioxide and various other greenhouse gases emissions will be dramatically reduced.

Now think of the ease of switching to electric self-driving vehicles that act like taxis as opposed to the current monolith of the public transport system and personal cars. I doubt the later will disappear anytime soon but I can see a pickup and drop car system evolving rapidly, it has been trialled in various cities around the world by well-known companies, there are even companies based on it like Car2Go. The difference here would be that these will be an integral part of the public transport system and considered a global public service that is free for everyone to enjoy, but that is for another post and another day.

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