The Future of Work

Future   Ideas   believes   that   India   works   in   communities   (ethnic,   regional,   professional   etc).   Work   itself   in   India   has   created   many   communities   that   have   given   groups   of   people   a   way   of   life   and   an   identity.   Professions  have  created  legitimate  ways  of  being,  work-hours,  dress  codes,  language,  purpose,  meaning   and   motivation.   Currently   the   professions   govern   India’s   work   habits   and   behaviour.   The   self   employed,   the   white   collared,   the   public   servants /  government   workers,   and   blue-­collared   workers.      Each   of   the   working  communities  operates  their  own  ecosystem  and  the  motivation  for  their  work  is  different.

For  example,  if  we  compare  the  self-­employed  traders,  entrepreneurs  or  the  small  businessmen  with  the   white   collared   we   see   a   stark   variance.   The   self-­employed   are   masters   of   their   own   will;   there   is   seamlessness   in   their   personal   and   private   lives.   Business   for   them   is   a   reflection   of   their   family   legacy.   Work  for  them  is  a  continuation  of  life,  it  is  much  more  than  a  pay  packet;  it  is  a  social  system.

Whereas,   we   see   that   the   white   collared   people   comply,   they   follow   set   rules,   processes   and   systems.   Work  has  timings;  personal  and  professional  lives  are  lived  separately.  Pay  packets,  titles,  address  of  work   are  important  motivations  for  them.

However,   it   is   also   important   to   look   at   the   opportunity   landscape   of   India   that   created   choices   and   motivations.   The   majority   of   those   who   joined   the   work   force   in   the   eighties   and   earlier   were   more   defined   by   destiny,   rather   than   choice   on   what   they   worked   on.   It   was   a   nation   tasting   freedom   -­   economic  opportunities  were  few  and  the  most  coveted  jobs  were  with  the  government  or  government-­ owned  businesses.

All  that  changed  in  the  nineties  and  the  early  21st  century,  when  economic  liberalization  and  integration  of   the   world   was   beginning.   Many   new   industries,   policies   and   global   needs   shaped   the   idea   of   work   and   aspiration  in  India.  This  was  the  time,  when  the  work  force  at  large  was  looking  at  work  as  a  fund  to  buy   security  and  well  being  for  their  families.    We  see  here  that  work,  acts  as  a  marketplace  wherein  skills  and   knowledge  are  traded  continuously.

By   2030,   the   composition   and   nature   of   the   work   force   in   India   would   have   gone   through   a   dramatic   change.   A   third   distinct   generation   of   generational   wave   will   be   entering   the   work   force   in   India,   composed  of  those  who  are  currently  students  in  the  schools  and  colleges  of  India.


The   first   generation   were   of   people   born   in   an   India   tasting   freedom;   the   second   of   a   generation   were   of   those   who   enjoyed   the   fruits   of   democracy   (the   current   India)   and   by   2030   India   will   see   the   children   of   liberalized  India  shaping  its  destiny  in  an  opportune  global  world.  

With  the  third  generation  entering  the  workforce  by  2030,  we  see  a  new  set  of  communities  emerging  in   the  workspace.  A  large  number  of  these  communities  will  be  of  people  who  will  pursue  passion.  Many  will   look   at   work   as   an   avenue   to   discover   themselves,   find   their   own   purpose   and   element.      Ideas   of   recreation,  leisure  and  work  will  interact  seamlessly.  Livelihood  and  passion  will  be  combined  effortlessly   with  work.  By  2030,  we  see  four  distinct  groups  or  communities  emerging.  We  call  them  –  The  Dreamers,   The  Chasers,  The  Free  Agents  and  The  Floaters.    

For   The   Dreamers,   the   primary   motivation   will   be   to   pursue   what   they   are   passionate   about.   New   opportunities   in   technology   and   global   trends,   coupled   with   advancement   in   technology   will   allow   The   Dreamers   to   create   new   professions,   new   job   roles,   new   products   and   new   services   for   themselves   and   others.

A  larger  number  of  The  Dreamers  will  fuel  more  creativity  and  innovation  within  the  workspace  and  in  the   economy.   They   will   involve   themselves   in   the   impact   sectors,   influence-­thinking   bodies,   and   leadership   with  the  academia  and  will  work  for  a  belief  system  beyond  money.

While  The  Dreamers  will  form  the  vast  majority  of  people  in  the  work  place,  the  new  decade  will  also  give   rise  to  a  second  set  of  professionals  who  wouldn’t  be  attached  to  a  single  job  role  or  an  organization.

They  will  be  The  Free  Agents,  bartering  their  services,  expertise  and  skills  to  others,  when  they  want  and   where   they   want.   Fiercely   individualist,   they   will   value   freedom   and   diversity   in   their   experiences   within   and   outside   of   work.   Equally   creative   and   dexterous   as   the   Dreamers,   they   will   constantly   bring   in   new   ideas,  skills  and  imagination  within  organizations  and  systems  and  then  move  on  to  pollinate  somewhere   else.

The   Dreamers   and   The   Free   Agents   will   together   build   a   series   of   fresh   entrepreneurs,   who   will   work   not   only  to  create  more  value  for  investors  but  also  focus  on  societal  welfare.

There  will  also  be  a  fair  number  of  people  who  will  oscillate  between  these  groups.

The  Floaters,  will  comprise  largely  of  the  educated,  qualified,  still  unemployed.  There  will  be  a  generation   of   freshers   and   people   in   between   jobs   and   roles.   They   will   be   in   search   of   ideas   that   challenge   them,   provide   growth   intellectually   and   emotionally.      They   will   engage   informally   but   yet   create   a   voice   for   the   formal  economy  to  consider.  However,  there  will  still  also  be  a  number  of  people  working  in  conventional   sectors  and  job  roles  pursuing  the  ideals  and  motivation  of  the  yesteryears,  The  Chasers.  

Unlike  the  Dreamers  or  the  Free  Agents,  the  Chasers  will  continue  to  bring  more  stability  to  organizations   and   businesses.   While   they   continue   to   work   for   money,   they   will   demand   much   more   by   means   of   compensation  in  kind,  through  which  they  will  discover  or  own  their  passions.

Thus,   these   four   groups   will   each   have   very   different   motivation,   working   styles,   expectations   and   aspirations.  Having  each  of  them  will  be  equally  important  for  every  organization  as  each  of  these  groups   bring  in  complimentary  values  and  benefits  for  organizations.

By   2030,   we   will   have   a   far   more   behaviorally   diverse   work   force   than   we   have   ever   seen.   The   challenge   for  organizations  in  2030  will  be  to  create  work  places  and  ecosystems  that  understand  the  motivations  of   each  of  these  diverse  groups  and  cater  to  their  needs.

Organizations   will   need   to   be   far   more   empathetic   to   the   needs   and   aspirations   of   each   of   these   groups.   Most  importantly,  organizations  will  need  to  create  platforms  and  organization  designs  that  help  each  of   these  groups  to  mingle  between  each  other.

In   such   environments,   aspects   like   training,   work   space   design,   technology,   compensation   and   business   sustainability   will   have   go   through   a   very   different   rapid   transformation.   Tomorrow’s   leaders   and   managers  will  no  longer  have  hierarchical  management  styles  or  homogenous  work  force.

Collaborative   decision-­making   might   involve   team   members   scattered   around   the   world,   coming   from   very   different   backgrounds   and   harboring   very   diverse   motivations   and   ambitions.   How   different   organizations  adapt  to  such  changes  and  such  diversity  will  distinguish  the  winners  from  the  losers.

This  article  has  been  written  by  Ashni  Biyani,  Ideatorin-Chief,  Future  Ideas. It is published in a report by Citrix Labs Australia called “How work will work in 2030” and looks at the changing nature of work in India over the next two decades.




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