The ‘Future Of Work’ Isn’t What You Think…

Hey I don’t know if it’s just me … but when I think about the future, I have this idyllic picture in my head of owning a flying car, living in a big house by the beach, I’m a chillaxed yogi zen master without a worry in the world, I own my own business, and I’m earning butt loads of money. I also adopt 10 greyhounds, and they live with me in my beachside mansion. I imagine the PERFECT life, and I imagine it happening chronologically on this imaginary timeline I’ve created in my head.

So what happens, then, if we are hit with another pandemic? Or WORSE … the planet is destroyed by a rogue asteroid? What if I randomly get hit by a bus tomorrow? What if the climate crisis gets worse and we aren’t able to leave our houses due to the heat? Suddenly my plans to become a rich Zen Master 5000 living on the beach are thrown out the window, and instead I’m faced with a different future that I wasn’t prepared for at all.

Recently I sat down (virtually) with Reanna Browne to chat about what the ‘Future Of Work’ even means. To start with – Reanna doesn’t refer to it as a singular “future” … she always uses the plural term “futureS”. Reanna explained to me that there isn’t just one single and linear future, there are a range of possible futures that could happen. The only thing that is real and certain is right now – our ‘evolving present’ as she calls it. The rest is just a projection of our own ideas and images with varying probabilities. And because there are a range of possible futures of work that might occur … there are infinite projections and speculations out there (hence the thousands of “Future Of Work” articles that suggest there is a single predictable future). Yes, Futurists research some of the big changes that may influence possible futures of work, but that doesn’t mean it will happen. Or more importantly, that we want it to happen. 

After chatting for over an hour (yes Reanna is THE MOST interesting person I’ve ever met) – I tasked her with creating a quick audio explainer for you all. In 5 minutes Reanna explains why you need to unlearn the term “future of work” and start thinking about it as a range of possible futures instead. And not just thinking – start PREPARING AND SHAPING your preferred futures of work in the present! That’s what futurists like Reanna do – they help you think differently about the futures of work and to prepare for the range of possible futures.  As I said … you could prepare for working remotely as the “future of work” but then an asteroid collides with earth tomorrow. Or (more probable) the change in climate means we aren’t able to work or leave the house during certain hours of the day because it’s too hot. Or, the digitisation of work fuels the need for ‘digital detox’. Or ‘employee activism’ emerges inside your organisation when workers aren’t happy with business decisions. Or, the gig economy formalises and unionises. Or the ‘rise in precarious work’ fuels working poverty. Or  economic insecurity drives ‘unretirement’. Or large numbers of people want to ‘downshift’ away from full time work (thanks for these examples Reanna!)… you get the point. 

Anyway, have listen to the audio below, and connect with Reanna via one of the multiple methods linked below:

  • Send her a howdy doodee on LinkedIn!
  • Visit her website here.
  • Sign up to the ‘Work Futures Unpolished’ subscription service and receive small bites on futures of work trends, insights and learnings.
  • Buy a ticket to our 10 Days of Talent event and see her speak live – you would actually be a fool to miss her session because it will get you unlearning what you think you know about the future, and make you excited about embracing (and preparing for) the uncertainty of it all.

You can catch Reanna at the upcoming Australasian Talent Conference 2021 DIGITAL #ATC2021DIGITAL event speaking about Think like a Futurist in an Uncertain Present.

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