About 2 years ago I had written an article about Future of work for a contest by HCL technologies.
Today with advent of companies like Gigster , it seems the vision is shaping up.
Reproducing the article again,More updates coming soon
Never before have we been at a verge of change so drastic that it can sound scary.
Let me explain by asking two questions.
Where do you think the world is heading?
How will the offices and companies of future look like?
To answer these things we can simply look towards key trends
1. Digitization of work: With advancements in computing power more and more work is being digitized and broken down into smaller pieces. This has enabled organizations to break big complex problems to smaller and now tiny micro problems, which can be solved simultaneously by a crowd of people.
2. Super Specialization: The new world is moving slowly towards super specialization in narrow areas. As we discussed in the last point, work will be divided into smaller chunks and these chunks would now be assigned to individuals who will be super specialized in a very narrow area of work. Yes it does sound like a typical production line model but it is slightly different because now the super specialization would be self-selected and less rigid.
3. Mobility: The world will and already is becoming increasingly mobile. Employees will work from home much more and geographies would become irrelevant. We are moving towards a One-world system. Traditional global organizations followed the mantra “Produce where it is cheapest and sell where it is most profitable”. Now this will change to include “Hire where there is talent”
4. Freelancing the new order: With super specialization in place it might no longer be viable for companies or even for employees to stick together. Contract based assignments will no longer be an alternative way of employment but rather become the preferred way. A big shift that we might see is that many freelancers might come together for projects to form a temporary unit, which can be viewed as a short-term company. New Laws might also come in place to manage these new kinds of companies
So what does that mean for companies?
1. Death of Onsite: Though it sounds outrageous, this might be a very near possibility. As more and more employees become mobile, offices might reduce to data centers and support service providers for collaborating employees. Sending people at onsite location might become irrelevant. Most collaboration would happen via tools such as Video Conferencing
2. Skill Matters not the Experience: Since now teams will start forming democratically in the world of freelancing, skill will become much more important than number of years of experience. As we have already seen on places such as codeplex, the most influential coders and project leads can be anyone even 15 year old kids
3. Companies as talent Management Agencies: Existing Companies will become much more of collaborators and platforms rather than just owners of the work. Primary responsibility of companies would be business development and coordination of disparate units.
How will the companies survive?
1. Infrastructure: Companies need to accept this change and be ready. The biggest challenge these companies now face is how to make it’s workforce mobile and flexible. Investments in infrastructure would be required. Companies that fail to ride this wave of change might perish
2. HR practices: HCL pioneered the concept of employee first model, which was a completely opposite to traditional way of thinking. Companies now will have to go a step further. Employees will be mobile and comprise of many contractors who would be associated with multiple companies. Managing their expectations would be the biggest challenge
3. New Managers: The new manager would have to be a collaborator. Someone who can handle disparate large teams spread across the world. The key characteristics of a manager would be less of leading people or growing talent but more of fostering communication and collaboration.
And yes managers would have to be tech savvy and ahead in technology curve. They will need to be the first ones to change and adapt rather than last. The new market will not forgive managers who take ages to embrace change.
Yes the changes might first occur in IT sector that but does not mean that it will be the only sector affected. Every sector including RnD will see massive shifts .The world is changing and so will the companies