A Framework for the Future of Work

When I think about the Future of Work, I consider the environmental, economic, organizational, and individual impacts.  The framework below provides a broad set of considerations for these areas as you think about where you want to take your organization and what it means to ‘work’ in your world.  Try asking yourself some questions about these areas and see what happens then!

Framework for the Future

What’s GenX’s Winnebego?

When we think about the future of work, we think about how things are changing.  New generations entering, older generations exiting, new types of work becoming the norm, with older patterns and habits dying off – some going easily and others fighting to stay relevant.

When I think about what’s changing, I think in terms of environmental, economic, organizational, and individual changes that drive industries, markets, and the workforce. In the 60s, the American desire to get on the road and explore, coupled with inexpensive materials and fuel, gave birth to entire new industries, including the Recreational Vehicle, KOA parks, and chain restaurants. Baby Boomers gave us the Winnebego and its related support industries, and now, as I look into the future, I wonder what will happen as mid-life GenXers start to  exert generational influence and character while also navigating between the needs of longer living (and working) Baby Boomers and Millennials whose expectations of work and reward are so different from traditional definitions.

Perhaps we already have our Winnebego, and it is the iPad and all of its related industries that didn’t exist a scant 10 years ago. App Stores, wireless speakers, camera phones, video chat, text platforms, social media – these are all feeding a generational desire to connect in ways that were pure fantasy not so long ago.  I’m typing this post on a tablet, in my kitchen, without a cord in sight, while listening to a streaming radio program and texting with my nephew and finishing up some work for tomorrow.  Perhaps that is our Winnebego – the portability and integration of home life, recreation, work, and play. Or maybe we haven’t figured it out yet, we’ll have to see.