Debunking three myths about the future of work

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First impressions, gut reactions, and unexamined assumptions about the future of work become embedded in conventional wisdom. Even when they turn out to be fake, people still believe them.

These are the three biggest myths about the future of work.

Myth 1: Zoom fatigue is a real problem

When the first wave of pandemic lockdowns hit in 2020 and employees started working from home on a large scale, everyone started complaining of “Zoom fatigue.”

And “Zoom fatigue” was real. The impact of isolation led people to abuse video conferencing tools. Zoom and its competitors dominated business days, with most of the day spent on video calls. And it spilled over into personal time, as people started having long video calls with family and friends.

This disease reminded me of the carpal tunnel syndrome epidemic when millions of people started using computer and mouse combinations all day at work in the 1990s or phantom vibration syndrome when people started carrying smartphones in their pockets in the early 2000s.

You don’t hear much about these conditions anymore because people have adapted.

The same goes for “zoom fatigue”. People have adapted. Meetings are getting shorter and sharper. Long personal video calls are on the decline. And people are psychologically getting used to video conferencing.

A new Pew Research Center study found that three-quarters (74%) of surveyed workers who use video conferencing tools are “okay” with the amount of time they spend wearing them.

Yes, “zoom fatigue” still exists. And, yes, a superior replacement technology (ie avatar-based augmented reality meetings) is coming. But it turns out that “zoom fatigue” isn’t the problem people thought it was.

Myth 2: You can only move to places with fast local broadband

The work-from-home, hybrid, remote, and digital nomad revolutions were built on a foundation of emerging technologies.

These came with significant advances. The home computer. The web Home networks. mobile computers. Wifi. smartphone

The two most recent big breakthroughs came from one company, SpaceX.

The company’s Starlink satellite service, which charges $110 a month for a fast Internet connection anywhere within its growing service area, allows remote workers to work very remotely, in small towns, on distant islands. or in the mountains.

Starlink eliminated the need to live in a big city to access a fast Internet connection. As a result, the service surpassed a quarter of a million subscribers in March.

Last week, the company took another big leap.

He announced that for an extra $25 a month, you could take the service with you. So take your satellite dish with you when you’re traveling or abroad, and you’ll still have fast internet as long as you’re within the service area, which includes most of North America and most of Europe.

These two giant Starlink hops mean you can get fast internet – and get real work done – over a wide area without worrying about connectivity. Starlink is another technological product that radically expands the options for living and working as a digital nomad.

Best of all, the company continues to increase network performance with improved software and additional satellites in orbit.

Myth 3: The Great Resignation is a disaster

More than 47 million people quit their jobs last year.

And the trend has continued through 2022. Overall, job turnover increased 20% in the post-pandemic world and remains at that level.

And the reason is clear: Flexible working, the addition of remote work and flexible living locations, especially the ability to relocate to more affordable regions, have drastically reduced the penalties for quitting.

The headlines are alarmist, treating it like a crisis. But is it?

To begin with, the scale of the problem is exaggerated. While 47 million people quitting their jobs sounds catastrophic, it helps to know that 42 million people quit in 2019, before the pandemic hit. So the number of people quitting is higher, but not that much higher.

The most significant point is that people who recently left work are leaving because they feel empowered to improve their life, their work and their location, whereas before they felt too limited or fearful to do so.

If anyone thinks trapping employees in a life they don’t want is some sort of corporate advantage, they’d have to disagree.

Instead, it is far better for employees to have the freedom to choose the life they want, a job that fills them with a sense of purpose, and for companies to work harder to improve the employee experience and figure out how to better fit their needs. needs. workers

The so-called “Great Renunciation” is really an opportunity in disguise.

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

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