THE BURNET TIMES - December 14 2020
The Future of Work - What will it look like after the Pandemic?
This is comfortable_chemistry and in this post I will be talking about predictions for the future of work.
There are three main predictions: remote working, automation and the gig economy. Remote work is a working style that allows employees to work outside of a traditional office environment, which the pandemic has caused many to do so. Automation is the idea machines will control work environments in the future; there has been speculation on if robots will take over whole industries, such as jobs that heavily rely on technology.
However I will be focusing on changes for the gig economy, because it's a fast growing sector with 1 in 10 adults now employed in it in Britain - which around 5 million people! The gig economy is differentiated by freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs. Instead of a regular wage, workers get paid for the "gigs" they do, such as a food delivery or a car journey.
Problems, Soultions & Opportunities in the Future
The way companies treat workers may become a problem in the future for the gig economy. The more workers joining the industry, the more "workers are denied their rights and treated like disposable labour", according to Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress. Therefore, the increase in workers in this sector increases the possibility of the workers' violation of rights. This suggests it will be good for companies as they will earn more, but bad for the employees because it will take a toll on their mental and physical health.
A solution is more people are fighting against exploitative labour practices found in gig economy professions. In August, Deliveroo workers demanded better pay and conditions from their employer. The public pressure to stop companies like Deliveroo from treating their workers unfairly has played a vital role in ensuring their voices will be heard.
An opportunity for the gig economy is that it will create more jobs for people. It's also expected that most will have had a gig economy job as another way to make money. Up to one in seven working-age adults – about 7.5 million people – have worked via a gig economy platform at some point, according to The Guardian. For many, the gig economy will be a second and reliable job resource.
Where does the Pandemic Come into Play?
Some people think the pandemic has been a turning point for work because it has made us find alternatives and improvise to keep everyone safe. We have all had to go through changes, this may be our work environments or our work hours. For example, more than half of people living in London (57.2%) did some work at home. Of those who did some work from home, around one-third worked fewer hours than usual, and another one-third worked more hours than usual. Overall, it's been a turning point as our lifestyles have been altered and we are getting used to the "new normal".
The pandemic affected the gig economy more negatively because it has caused disruption. As workers in this sector have no job security, when demand for gigs falls during a crisis, their income falls along with it. Before the current crisis, the gig economy was growing overall (University of Hertfordshire, 2019). But during the first lockdown around March, demand for digital gig economy work, such as software development or web design, fell sharply in March. It has been fluctuating ever since. This has made workers have unsteady income and overall has made the gig economy slow down.
Workers in the gig economy are 'independent contractors', so they have no right to redundancy payments, to receive the national minimum wage, or to be paid holiday or sickness pay. As they have played an important role in helping people in the pandemic (eg. delivering food and providing services), some may say they should be paid proper wages, and not just by how much gigs they do. I think this should be the case because they have persevered even when their industry has fallen during the pandemic and it would reward them for the hard work they've done for us.
Skills in the Workplace
Listening is an important skill in the workplace because you have to be able to take constructive criticism and advice. It allows us to demonstrate that we are paying attention to the thought of others. It's important in the workplace to ensure everyone is respected too. Wouldn't you feel unmotivated if no one listened to you?
Speaking is also important because you have to participate your ideas especially in teams. This will mean you will form connections and influence people by your opinions. You have to be able to convey your feelings properly so other people have a clear depiction of your visions for your work.
Problem solving is important because it gives us control in times where we may be struggling. By learning and going through problems, we can find the solution and gain experience in case something goes wrong in the future. For example, the pandemic has made us think of ways to carry on in society, helping us get back to normal.
Creativity is important as you can see things from different perspectives. The more creative someone is, it allows them to adapt to different situations and makes them more open minded. Without creativity, the world would be a boring place because it drives the passion for what we do.
All of these skills are important in the workplace because they all intertwine with one another. Listening and speaking are connected because its important to take turns so everyone is included. Creativity and problem solving are related because you can think of various ways to find the solution to an issue. A good worker will have all these skills and it will make them well rounded.
Thank you for reading,