Welcome To The Workplace Revolution

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The future of work will look very different than its stale, pale and male past. In fact, the very fabric of the United States Workforce is already changing profoundly.

To paint a picture of the changes taking place, *Upwork sponsored a series of stories dedicated to exploring the evolution of the United States workplace called Work: Reimagined.

I was asked to contribute to Work: Reimagined by writing a piece on the leaders of the future. Here is a snapshot of my piece and three others in the series.

Portrait of a Future Leader

Future of Work

Historically, organizations were often centralized, with a clear hierarchy. Many decisions followed a linear journey of permission before anything could be decided (cue red tape).

An organization’s success was often black and white — more specifically, the black and white number on the bottom of a Profit & Loss statement. And personal success? That was easy to determine. When you traded in your Toyota for a BMW, when you climbed up the title ladder in your organization, when you moved up the street into a bigger home with a swimming pool — your success was clear as day.

The type of leader that thrived in this type of framework was often stale, pale and male.

But that’s about to change: As an avalanche of change comes to the workplace, leaders must look — and behave — differently.

Are you ready to meet the leader of the future?

The Full Time Job is Dead

by Kevin Maney

Future of Work Full Time Job is Dead

Illustration by Anna Vignet

Who wants to work 40 hours a week for a single employer? In the future, perhaps nobody.

The full-time job, used to it as we are, is not some natural state of human existence. Before the 1800s, few people worked a structured “work week.” That conceit was dreamed up by early industrialists, who needed to bring workers together in a factory at the same time to efficiently make products. For the past 100 years, the 40-hour job has been the centerpiece of work life because there was no better way for people to gather in one place at the same time to connect, collaborate and produce.

But technology is now changing the nature of work and here’s how.

What Will A Corporation Look Like In 2050?

By Stowe Boyd

Future Corporations

Illustration by Jenn Liv

Rather than simply extrapolating from the present — which leads to very boring stories about the future — I’ll pick several forces that could have a major impact on the world of business in 2050, and imagine edge cases for each one. This leads to scenarios — essentially, bedtime stories about the future that don’t need to be true. They only need to help us think about our future in a structured way.

I’ve selected three extremely pressing problems, and their impact on jobs and work, to serve as the dimensions for scenario development: economic inequality, climate change, and artificials (AI and robots).

How will these three forces impact the future of work?

To the Graduates of 2015

by Chris Messina

Photo by Orin Zebest

Photo by Orin Zebest

Conventional, industrial-era education treats each student like a cup in the muffin tin of the education system. Each student is filled with equal amounts of intellectual batter, which is then baked with tests and rote memory to force each pupil to “rise to his or her individual potential.” But mass-producing students like rivets spit out by assembly-line machinery doesn’t generate the kind of “thinking people” we ought to be “manufacturing” at scale in the networked era. We need an approach less obsessed with individual performance and aptitude. We need students that can collaborate, build upon the work of others, market their ideas effectively, and work efficiently in groups.

Here’s why this year’s graduates should cheat, crib, and steal their way to the top.

The Work: Reimagined series is just getting started. If you want to learn more about revolution of the United States workforce, you can stay posted here.

I’d love for you to weigh in. What new trends do you see picking up speed as we head toward the future of work? I’d love to know! Leave me a comment below, send me an email or find me on Twitter.

*Upwork is part of the workplace revolution. It is a global online work platform where businesses and independent professionals connect and collaborate remotely. It is these types of platforms that enable our freelance workforce (already 53 million strong) to continue to grow and thrive.

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