Work is changing, and quickly. Phrases like gig and sharing economy, globalization, automation and digitization now hold sway in conversations about where the life of the professional is headed.

What’s become abundantly clear is that the company of the future is going to have to adapt if it wants to compete, retain top talent and ultimately thrive in an increasingly interconnected world.

Here’s a brief look at three mini-revolutions that are about to have a huge impact on the future of work.

  • On Collaboration
More people than ever before identify as socialists than as capitalists, according to recent polls. This is especially true of young people: You know — tomorrow’s professionals.

The point I’m trying to make is that the future of work is going to be a great deal more open, transparent and collaborative than it is now. We’ll see fewer and fewer highly specialized company roles and fewer traditional company hierarchies, replaced instead with work relationships defined by projects and context rather than by seniority alone.

To put it even more simply, we’re on the brink of truly democratizing work itself — and it’s an exciting prospect. You can get a jump on things by embracing employee cross-training in a real way, and encouraging your employees to branch out and learn multiple disciplines within the company.

  • On The Digital Age
On the face of it, the advent of automation on a massive scale sounds like a scary thing. Just remember that people said the very same thing about the Industrial Revolution back in the late 1700s and early 1800s.

The truth is more complicated. Before the US became an industrialized nation, people feared that the rise of machines, factories and assembly lines would put everybody out of a job and cause an unprecedented economic collapse. History reveals a different story: Industrialization in America brought about a measurable, if modest, rise in the standard of living for most Americans, alongside a general gain in wages for American workers.

The next revolution won’t be industrial — it will be digital, and it’s already starting. Just as it’s always done, technology is providing new ways to work smarter and for shorter hours. Thanks to advancements in Internet technology, analytics, algorithms and other as-yet-unforeseen advancements, American companies will find themselves at a crossroads.

If we play this right, we’ll see an explosion in new types of jobs like we’ve never seen before. Who knew 20 years ago that Internet marketing would be an entire industry unto itself, valued at $62 billion? The digitization of modern work will bring about new industries we haven’t even dreamed of yet.



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