A couple of weeks ago, !me started a challenge. It’s about pairing people with different perspectives on the future of work and business. You just had to answer five multiple-choice questions (e.g. tend to yes/tend to no) and leave some more inputs as open comment. Then people from the same region with different answers were matched and invited to meet for a dialog on September 10. If you like the idea, there’s still an opportunity to engage.
My dialog will happen a bit earlier due to vacation. But why only having one dialog? I’d be happy to learn more than one other perspective. That’s why I share the questions and my perspectives in this post. What’s your perspective?
Q1: Are companies responsible for happy working people?
I don’t think happiness of workers is the purpose of a company. The purpose of a company is to create value for customers. That’s why I’m skeptical when companies hire feelgood managers, advertise foosball and other types of entertainment. The company is responsible to create an effective environment. Effectivity and creating value results in happy working people. I’ll more likely return to a store if the shop assistant is happy and serves me well. So this is why my answer was: I tend to yes.
Q2: Will digitization reduce the total number of jobs?
My answer: I tend to no. I even would say clear no. For sure a lot of jobs will disappear. My favorite example are truck and taxi drivers. They will be replaced by self driving trucks and cars. But also bank advisers and financial controllers will be replaced by robo advisors and algorithms. There are various studies on how many jobs will be replaced. A famous one is from McKinsey, which claims that 50% of the jobs can be automated.
But as with earlier transformations, new jobs will emerge. Think about the industrial revolution during the 19th century, which created new jobs in production. There will be many new jobs in development of AI (Artificial Intelligence) , IoT (Internet of Things) products and there will be jobs, that we even can’t think of yet. A study from the German employment agency comes to the same conclusion. In addition the way we think of jobs will also change. Many people will have more than one job, but not necessarily work more hours. So I even predict an increase in number of jobs.
Q3: Do work and private life need a clear separation?
My answer: I tend to no. In a talk at Microsoft I got to know the Work-life pineapple. For me this is reality today. I leave a earlier to take my son to his handball training and then join a conference call later in the evening. And in the morning when I browse through Twitter, I can’t easily differentiate if I learn something for my private life or work.
So I don’t have a clear separation. The „pineapple“ is valuable for me and doesn’t create a conflict or exhausts me. Sure, it doesn’t sound healthy when people are in their work Inbox 24/7. On the other hand, I disagree to methods like disabling access to emails after 6 pm or during vacation. This is invasive and infantilizes employees.
Q4: Are you ready to change for the future of work challenges?
My answer: I tend to yes. I can’t wait that algorithms and machines take over the boring part of my job: checking reports and excel sheets, manual analysis of big data and so on. Yes, this means part of my job can be cut. But it doesn’t worry me. I’ll have more time to create value (e.g. by innovating) and to learn. I enjoy learning new things and am sure I need to learn new skills until the end of my life. So I guess I’m ready.
Q5: What is the % of working people, NOT ready to change?
I had a hard time answering this. I believe in general people are willing to change, if they see a reason to change. But how many are ready now? I chose 26-50% and tend to higher than 50%. If I randomly pick 20 people in my network, I can find 10 who are not ready. Why is that? Many industries still enjoy good results. Digitization is around the corner, but it doesn’t impact results yet. I’m really curious what others think here? Are you ready to change?
Q6: What else should be part of a dialog about the future of business?
Here’s my spontaneous answer:
- Increased flexibility of work time and place
- Increased diversity and flexibility of modes of working, e.g. Tandems, Intrapreneurs, Solopreneurs, …
- Adjustment of work laws
While writing these lines, some more came to my mind. But I don’t want to blow up this post.
Now over to you
What’s your perspective on the six questions above? Feel free to share in the comments below or via social media. Also I’m more than happy to meet with you for a dialog. We can do this over a coffee, lunch or after work with a beer. And if you are too far away, zoom.us will do the job. We just need to move the coffee or beer to a later point in time 😉
You don’t want to share your perspective and just follow what happens? No problem. Just stay tuned for a post in September, where I share other perspectives I learned.