It is hard to know exactly how far into the history of employment and entrepreneurship we are, as people have been trading and performing services for thousands of years. However, with advancements in technology, the all-conquering nature of the online world, and the realities of late-stage capitalism, we have come a long way in a relatively short amount of time.
Whereas the industrial revolution had millions working in factories and manufacturing was the huge industry of the UK, US, and elsewhere, it feels like everyone works behind a computer screen these days. As we hurtle towards the mid-2020s, what has changed in recent years, and what is still shifting in the ways we work? Are we working more, or are we pretending to be ‘remote working’ when we’re actually doing other things such as playing games, watching our favorite sports, and placing Bovada March Madness betsas we look for ways to enhance the viewing experience of this top sporting event?
The Rise Of Entrepreneurship
Starting with an easy one, it has never been easier to start your own business. Whilst some may argue there is an oversaturation of them these days, there are arguably more ways to make moneythan ever before and more space for niche businesses than ever before.
Social mediahas become a go-to marketing tool that anyone can access and this, along with the gig economy, means more people are making a job these days as opposed to getting one. There are some great books on this out there for further reading, such as, the aptly named, Don’t Get A Job… Make A Job.
With advances in technology, more companies are embracing the idea of remote work. The days of being shackled to a desk from 9-5 in a big office are becoming a thing of the past. Remote work offers flexibility and freedom for some, allowing workers to choose their own hours and work from anywhere in the world.
This is an aspect of modern society that really has a pre and post-pandemic shift already. The surrealness of the Coronavirus pandemic resulted in so many cultural shifts but, with everyone forced to stay indoors for so much of 2020 and into 2021, the need for traditional offices and workspaces was challenged.
Zoom and Google Meet and Microsoft Teams really rose in prominence as the world took its meetings online and collaborative working was achieved from the comfort of our own homes. This has been a legacy left, with many offices closing down or downsizing, saving on moneyand, for some staff, providing a bit more flexibility in the way they work.
Like anything, this comes with both pros and cons. Some might miss the organic collaboration that bumping into colleagues allows, whilst others are enjoying not having to commute for work, being able to live outside of cities and, above all, wearing their pajamas in the middle of the day.
Have you ever heard the phrase gig economy? It refers to the nature of people having less traditional jobs in terms of working hours and rather, performing multiple jobs, often even in different disciplines.
An example of this in action could be a freelance writer or photographer who, through their skill for creativity, earns money through their craft. However, on the side they might have a zero-hour contract in a coffee shop or delivery person, allowing one job to offset the other in a way that can also aid with job satisfaction.
There is a fine line though with this which can lead to some people of a certain generation overworking, with one job not having any relation to the other, it does not account for the need to rest, vary tasks and various other challenges that, as a relatively new sensation, we are sure to hear more about in the coming years.
Challenges to work-life balance
Carrying on from some of the themes mentioned already, comes the question of how we balance life and work. Sometimes the two can seem inseparable, particularly for those who run their own businesses or work extremely demanding jobs. However, it is important to remember that there is more to life than just work, and outside of it, things such as family, friends, hobbies, and experiences in general need to be treated with the same respect as a day of work.
On one hand, remote working has allowed for more flexibility with this and there has been a rise in businesses operating with more of a model based on trust where employees track their own hours and are able to negotiate that work-life balance in the way that they see fit.
And yet, with more people doing freelance work than ever before, fewer people are entitled to employment perks given to full-time staff such as pensions, sick days, and paid annual leave. When we consider this reality, it is clear that there are some serious threats to how we move forward with our attempts to balance life and work.