Continuous changes in technology have created a new workplace environment. Now that over 80% of people in developed countries access the internet regularly, the need for a centralized office space or set office hours is in decline. The change is most obvious in the tech startup field, where many employees will work from home or while traveling. Employees at these firms are given a specific job and a deadline to complete it by. Hours are much more flexible here than at larger corporations. The office space in these Silicon Valley/Austin areas have open floor plans and a wide array of art to inspire employees.
The changing workplace has both negative and positive aspects I’d like to address. On the positive side flexible hours and the freedom to live where you want allows employees to lead more balanced life. Balancing work and leisure is an essential part of the human experience. Millennial put less value on wealth or material goods, and instead value autonomy and flexibility. Working enough to live allows the modern employee to pursue hobbies or spend time with family. Most busy-work is automated in companies like this, placing an emphasis on creativity as the most important skill.
A major negative part of this is the lack of face to face interactions between fellow employees. It become easier to treat people like objects when you have no real life interactions. Reducing people to their work output is always problematic. Another issue is the loss of jobs from automation. Typical desk jobs and secretary work could soon become a thing of the past. Anytime there is a section of the labor field that becomes obsolete it leads to unemployment. Unemployment causes real world consequences. For every 1% of jobs lost approximately 30,000 people die. We must very careful when it comes to cutting jobs. The best course of action would be to provide training to employees in these fields so that they can better adapt to the new modern day workplace.
Written by Ryan Hodge, who completed the second internship batch at the WYA North America office.