As I watch trends and conversations happen among the tech community online, I can’t help but start to map out what I think the future of work will look like. Here are 5 trends that I see on the horizon.
0. Distributed Work
Offices be damned. Since the pandemic, we’ve jump started the life of remote/distributed work. At first is was rough because it was all so new so fast. But now, we’ve not only adapted, but we’ve all optimized.
Who the hell needs an office anymore? Sure, there are a few jobs where being in person is mandatory (construction sites, data centers, etc). But for the majority of us, this wonderful thing called the internet can connect us where we all stay in communication and work efficiently.
The best part about this is, talent is now everywhere. You’re no longer locked into your location. You are now judged on your output, not time in a seat. As long as you have internet and you’re performing, who cares where your ass is planted as you type away at the keys.
Here’s a push – if you’ve been wanting to go work in Puerto Rico for a few months, you can! Just have solid internet. Hey ho, let’s go!
1. Asynchronous Communication
There’s a reason it’s called Zoom Gloom. Raise your hand if you were just beat down with Zoom meeting at the start of your distributed work journey.
Haha – made you raise your hand.. sucker!
Okay, but really. What’s with all of the Zoom and video calls. Constant interruption and noise. The massive meetings that used to be held at the in-person office are a relic of a previous time.
Asynchronous is the future of communication. That is where you move to a written-first culture and allow people time to respond with thoughtful responses after they’ve had time to digest the content, not just put people on the spot after something is said out loud and barely remembered the second the meeting is over.
As Matt Mullenweg says about async comms in his blog, the 5 Level of Distributed Work:
“Level four is when things go truly asynchronous. You evaluate people’s work on what they produce, not how or when they produce it. Trust emerges as the glue that holds the entire operation together. You begin shifting to better — perhaps slower, but more deliberate — decision-making, and you empower everyone, not just the loudest or most extroverted, to weigh in on major conversations. You tap into the global talent pool, the 99% of the world’s population and intelligence that doesn’t live near one of your legacy physical office locations. Employee retention goes way up, and you invest more in training and coaching. Most employees have home-office setups that would make office workers green with envy. You have a rich social life with people you choose. Real-time meetings are respected and taken seriously, almost always have agendas and pre-work or post-work. If you get good at baton passes work will follow the sun 24/7 around the world. Your organization is truly inclusive because standards are objective and give people agency to accomplish their work their way.“
If you want an absolutely KILLER guide to async and internal communication in the future of work, check out this post written by Jason Fried of Basecamp – How We Communicate.
2. Four Day Work Weeks
Are you working to live or living to work? That’s the questions most are asking themselves these days. And with the mindset shift of being able to work anywhere and focusing on output instead of input, why the hell are we sticking with the traditional 5-day 40 hour work week?
They did some really great research on their 6-month experiment which ended up turning into a long-term change. Read the report if you want to see the data and measurement that went behind their decision making — it really is amazing.
“The four-day work week resulted in sustained productivity levels and a better sense of work-life balance. These were the exact results we’d hoped to see, and they helped us challenge the notion that we need to work the typical ‘nine-to-five,’ five days a week.“
“In our May trial, we saw that teammates felt overwhelmingly as productive or more productive on a four-day work week as they did on a five-day work week. That was only the one-month trial, so it could be easy to ignore, but we saw the pattern emerge in our six-month trial. Nearly 34 percent felt more productive than when we had a five-day work week, nearly 60 percent felt equally as productive, and less than seven percent felt less productive.“
3. UTC is the Standard Time
Can you meet at 11am PST / 1pm CST / 3pm EST / 7pm GMT? Yes, that really was in an email I received once when trying to coordinate a video meeting between myself, and team members in Chicago, Miami, and London.
Oi vey, as they say.
Let’s do away with that nonsense. Jack Dorsey, Founder of Twitter and CEO of Blocks, recently broached the subject on Twitter and, well, it made a lot of damn sense.
I’m currently learning more about UTC time, but here is a simplistic breakdown.
UTC is the universal 24-hour clock that the military, IT networks, and the aviation industry already uses. It helps to standard event logs and time frames no matter where you are in the world.
If we all switch to this unit of time keeping, we can just start to say, “let’s meet at 8:00 UTC” and I can do the conversion myself through the calendar on my computer. No more messing with timezones, time changes, and all of that nonsense.
For a deeper dive into why UTC could be future, check out this article from TechRepublic.
Additionally, apparently the abolition of time zones has been in play for a while. If you want to go down the rabbit hole, check out the Wikipedia page about it as well.
4. Bitcoin Is The Currency Of Choice
As an internet based world, we need a currency for the internet age. And that currency is Bitcoin. Imagine if we all had one currency that we could use anywhere in the world. If you and I were working together and I owed you $5, I could instantly transfer it to your Bitcoin wallet anywhere in the world, with no banks and no high-transaction fees taking place. It truly creates a globalized, distributed, and connected economy.
I strongly believe this is a part of the future we are looking at and you should do some research on the matter!
And yes, I will write more about Bitcoin in future blog posts. Specifically basics that my family keeps asking me about 😂
5. Signal Is The Texting App Of Choice
Yes, we’ll all actually care about not having our daily chats used as points for us and go to the internet based, privacy focused texting chat Signal. Okay, okay. I kinda made this last one up. But I feel like we all should be using Signal. Not only for data privacy, but also for international communication. I use signal daily to talk to friends in Canada, South America, and across the US. Get in on this and let’s have one chat app to rule them all. One that is insanely supportive of data privacy.
Okay, phew. That was a lot. What do you think about the 5 trends? Is this the future you’re seeing too? How do you feel about it?
PS- If you don’t understand the 0-5 joke, you aren’t nerdy enough. Just kidding. It took me a while to get to that level or nerdship.