Five Ways to Thrive in the Future of Work
The future of work is coming! But what does that mean for you and me? For all the dystopian talk of machines leaving us on the scrapheap for life, the truth is likely to be somewhat less dramatic – and almost certainly more positive.
Yes, the role and scope of automation will continue to grow. And yes, this will almost certainly impact us all. But fear not, us humans still have a central role to play. Rather than automating entire jobs, machines are more likely to automate individual tasks. This means we’ll be collaborating with machines, not competing with them.
Nevertheless, one thing is certain: if we want to maintain a competitive advantage in the years to come, we will have to adapt. Here are a few suggestions to help you thrive in the future of work.
1. Never stop learning
Lifelong learning has always been a noble aim, but as the world changes around us at an ever-increasing rate, we will have to spend more time working on ourselves just to keep up. So what should we be focusing our energies on?
Areas such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, data analytics, and computer coding and programming are going to play an increasingly important role in the years to come. And while we can’t all become experts in these fields, we can familiarise ourselves with the basics.
Having a theoretical understanding of how these disciplines can be applied will help you navigate an increasingly futuristic, technology-driven landscape, giving you a competitive advantage over those who have no understanding at all. The more you know, the better you will understand the future of work.
2. Keep up with trends
Like your job, the industry you work in will almost certainly change as a result of automation, but it is unlikely that it will disappear altogether. This is nothing new – many industries have already changed beyond recognition in just a few decades.
Take marketing, for example. If you started your career as a marketer in the early 90s, the way you worked then would bear virtually no resemblance to the way you work today. During those three decades, you will have had to update old skills, and learn new ones altogether. If you were slow to pick up on emerging trends such as SEO, social media, or data analytics, you would find yourself behind the curve, and your job in danger.
To stay ahead of the curve, you need to understand the ways that technology is changing your industry. You need to spot the trends before they become mainstream, and dedicate time to understanding how they will affect your work.
3. Improve your human skills
As we hand over all that tedious, repetitive work to the bots, we will be free to focus on using those uniquely human skills that are more difficult – perhaps even impossible – to automate. This process will not only make us more efficient, it will hopefully make our jobs more enjoyable and rewarding as well.
Skills such as decision making, creativity, critical thinking, and strategic thinking will become increasingly sought after in the future of work. But despite these being uniquely human skills, they are difficult to master. The ability to make key decisions or think outside the box takes practice – it’s as much about confidence and experience as it is about ability.
4. Start a side hustle
The problem with developing the skills needed in the future of work is that most of us aren’t required to use them in our current jobs. In the average business, only a small proportion of people make the big decisions or think about the strategic direction of the company, while the vast majority have very little influence.
One of the best ways to develop these skills is to start a side hustle. This gives you the chance to make key decisions, think strategically, and work independently and autonomously – regardless of what you do in your day job. It will also give you the confidence to take these skills into other areas of work.
Thanks to modern technology there are virtually limitless ways of making money online. You can become a content creator, start your own e-shop, or teach a language to students from all over the world – and all without leaving home. And while it takes a good deal of initiative and effort to set up a side hustle, the rewards go way beyond having an alternative revenue stream.
5. Have the right attitude
With all the uncertainty that surrounds the future of work, it would be understandable if you felt concerned. Will my job still exist in a few years’ time? Will my skills even be relevant? These are legitimate questions to ask.
But despite the unknowns, there is plenty of room for hope. The future of work promises to free us from the organizational and technological inefficiencies that currently hold us back. We will have more choice over how, where, and when we work, and we’ll gain greater insights into our performance, skills, and mood.
Sure, there will be a lot of change along the way. But with the right attitude and preparation, the future of work could be a place where you thrive like never before.