Working Life for a Digital Age

If we take the stance that the job market with fixed hours and wage labour created after the industrial revolution is somehow outdated. It opens the minds to a future vision which the digital age and pandemic have seen rise to a revolution.

The vision for New Work, can advance equality, where the new generation leaders live fulfilled lives, working towards just causes, fulfiling purposeful work for which they are passionate and contribute to societyas a whole.

With a well rounded work life blend we see the disapearance of work life balance challenges and instead endless opportunities.

Why a New Work Deal matters

When I became a mum for the first time I was rejected by recruiters and corporates. Flexible and part time working were not an option for an ambitious professional. As one after another told me ‘reduced hours’ didn’t work for them I felt discriminated as a mother trying to reenter the workforce.

I recall being told to get shop work and forget my career.

As I reevaluated my career and many of you did too over the pandemic. We’ve leaned into our value system.

Where the old system saw you work a job for 30-40 years, retire on a pension and enjoy life in old age. Many professionals like you are keen to live fulfilled and balanced lives in the present.

In fact 56% of millenials expect to be self employed throughout their working life. Chosing their own projects and exploring passions with freedom and automony.

The New Work Philosophy

Defined by the Austrian philosopher Bergmann, New Work for the digital age is around the notion of freedom.

When you have old values or limiting beleifs such as I did this can seem unrealistic. Yet what we are seeing is the advancement of new work pillars, with the new generations taking control and driving the change simply by demand.

The digital age means that a large amount of labour is being automated. This in itself drives down costs and creates a self producing product. Even elements of the service industry are becoming automated with the use of AI and ML.

Bergmann argues that this leads to a reduction in the amount of ‘wage labour’ needed. We can each have a gainful employment (paid work) to a lesser amount.

Add to this the idea that we become smart consumers, only purchasing products we actually need, instead of gadgets that actually cancel the benefit.

So what do we do with the extra time?

You’re probably thinking Sue, I’ve got a million things I need to do. But heres the thing the largest and most important element of New Work is the space for finding happiness. Through purposeful, creative and passion based projects.

The success stories

These may include community projects. We saw many generations throughout the pandemic look after elderly and lonely in our communities. Providing food, care and more to support others, their own contribution to greater good.

On the other hand my neice is a generation Z social & tech savvy young women. While happily following a traditional univerity path has set up an Etsy store. With exponential growth in her sales for her creative jewellery designs is now envisaging a future of part paid and part creative with an entrepreneurial flare.

In another example we see how professionals are driving the job market with expectations for flexible, 4 day week and remote working, with high skilled candidates defining how they want to work.

I know many of us would like the time to explore passion projects and Empowered Leaders in Tech for me was just that.

With a New Work approach more professionals can use personal development together with financial skills to build the life you love.

Ultimatley you can see how these elements can contribute to the goal to wake up motivated and live a fulfilled life journey.

Many of us desire to have a level of financial freedom, freedom to work anywhere, freedom to work on ‘just cause’ campaigns, or on our passion projects.

The ultimate autonomy that we know is behind the success of many self organised teams, where the output for paid work is acheived and there is the room for exploring more.

How can you integrate New Work into your career & life?

Now for many years I’ve held this vision as an ideolgical view that will never be realistic. Largely due to a low circle of influence focussing on factors I can’t control. I alone was never going to overhaul a huge corporate culture especially when I forever played the victim.

But if the pandemic has done one thing for our outdated work culture it has proven that when company culture is strong and the outputs clearly defined, there is no loss to productivity, contribution or profits.

In fact we saw 47% in the UK alone working from home in April 2020, with little to no warning or preparation at the start of the pandemic. And ONS repirting that 26% worked from home in 2020, up from 12% in 2019.

The pandemic also resulted in:

  • Recruitment to fully remote roles has increased
  • Widespread adoption of new technolgies
  • Greater knowledge share
  • Collaboration/ team synergy forced
  • Outputs that matter became defined including defined job specifications

That said there are a number of shifts in organisational structure to consider, for example where the presence of someone means continuity of service matters. Yet if we look at the tech giants every customer service agent on the other end of a chat is available, worldwide around the clock. Is trained, can handel your request and utlimately the use of chat bots has increasingly reduced these.

There are also some shifts in culture expected. It’s likely that fincial institutions will adjust lending criteria, the views on property ownership and consequently the economy as a bi product of these shifts in our behaviour.

So how can you start to define your own work life blend using the New Work philosophy?

Start by taking a look at what you really need to live the fulfilling life you want, there is a great podcast on Tim Ferris that talks about Rich Life I’ll share more on this soon.

Ask yourself what is it you most desire and how do you want to live?

Often some of these elements are free. For example you may want to be helathy and do exercise, these are all free and can be incorparted into our lives.

You may wish to travel, sit down and calculate how much this will cost.

What home do you want? Calculate the money needed.

Now you have an idea on your needs and wants.

What passion projects or creative endeavors do you want to explore?

How can you start to connect with others or introduce this into your life now.

This can be cleverly through NeTime tasking. Like learning a new language by listening to podcasts or audio while exercising.

Your professional career

Ask yourself some honest questions about your career.

Do you take all of your annual leave? Do you send emails over weekends and evenings?

Remember you role model the way, these bevaiours blurr the lines of boundaries. And downtime makes your more effective.

Have you ever taken parental leave? If not, consider if you want to take this?

What options do you have to take a Sabatical or extended leave?

Will your company support a personal development opportunity which is part of your passion?

Is job share something you could make work?

Does freelancing, consulting or non exec directorships fit with your work life blend?

The opportunities are yours to explore.

And remember you have more options and control than you think.


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