From westernization, the polarization of the labour market, unemployment to hustle culture, sustainable choices and the changing roles of HRDs. A lot has changed in the past few decades. The world of work continues to change in mostly uncertain ways. COVID-19, for example, has impacted economies, businesses and jobs in ways that we could have never thought of. We must be prepared for these uncertainties. However, uncertainties can create fear around what the future of work may hold for us.
With the introduction of new technology and tools, to prefer a hybrid model of working, the “modern office” has adapted to the changing environment to keep up with the needs of the employees. However, the employees must also keep up with the changing requirements of skills and knowledge of the “modern offices”.
A major predictable change in the working world is going to be regarding the availability and accessibility of jobs. As technological advancements are replacing human hands and minds, job opportunities that involve physical labour like for people who are involved in daily-wage work, taxis, factories etc., are decreasing. At the same time, jobs in the innovation and IT sectors are increasing. This development in the work sector is widening the gap between people from different socio-economic backgrounds. Those who can access education and exposure may not worry as much about their job opportunities in the future but those who depend on vocational careers may suffer and they seem to be worried.
The future of work seems to be shifting towards developing a fluid employment model with the hybrid mode of working. This means jobs can involve more travel, workers can move between jobs more easily and experience more exposure. But the downside to this is that as this model supports globalization, the hybrid work model, that is, a mix of online and offline work mode and remote working, can alienate a lot of traditional work-life patterns that are necessary for maintaining physical and mental health.
Remote work can reduce commute time, and provide us with the leisure of working at home but at the same time it reduces our physical interactions with colleagues and clients, and majorly blurs the lines between work-home life balance.
Research says that with the hybrid model of working being the preferred choice for a lot of companies and employees, many individuals are worried that such a style of working promotes burnout. A blurred sense of work hours and the introduction of communication over social media apps like Whatsapp makes it easy for heads to connect to their subordinates and give them work at any time. People are fearful that such patterns will make it harder for them to maintain a healthy work-life balance, good mental and physical health, social life in the future, even more so than now.
As we move into this new era of the working world, we must understand that fear and apprehension of the uncertain is inevitable. However, we can prepare ourselves to compete in this potentially dystopian future of work. Adaptability will be an essential trait for individuals as we face new challenges with changes in expectations and skill shifts. Past success cannot be taken as an indicator of future performance. Individuals must focus on their role in the future work model. Organizations should also focus on building sustainable work environments. As we move towards advancement and higher technological support, researchers are apprehensive about creating a work environment that is sustainable and secures the future of the next generation.
Along with preparing ourselves for the future, to curb the apprehension about future jobs due to various reasons mentioned above, there are a few things we can do.
· Keep a diary: Writing down our thoughts about our anxiety can help us understand where it stems from. It gives us the chance to ponder upon ways to deal with these feelings and perhaps find solutions to these problems.
· Practice breathing: Regular practice of breathing and muscle relaxation techniques can help calm down the body and introspect.
· Take action towards change: Once you figure out what makes you anxious or apprehensive, for example, you are not able to understand the new technology that your company is now using to communicate online, you can start working towards making a change by asking your colleagues for help.
· Take out time for yourself: Always take out time to do things that you like, whether it is engaging in some form of sports, physical activity, leisure activity, or just watching series online. When we do things that we enjoy without getting distracted, our body releases chemicals that make us feel happier.
· Lastly, examine your assumptions about what success is to you and then try to form realistic goals to achieve that success.