Following our examination of the future of work and infographic on how the office will change dramatically over the next century, we received more queries searching for depth on the reasons behind these predictions.
The biggest question was why might it take 100 years to reach gender equality and 80 years for technology to reach the point where we can work 30 hours a week?
The Working Week
We put these questions to our expert futurists. Yesim Kunter explains:
“100 years is a long time period and means we’ll see 3 to 4 generations in between. With the advancement of technology less working hours will be possible. Even today we see this gradual change in the dynamics of working styles. As communication systems advance and tasks become quicker to execute, the time that is needed to make adjustments for processes will get shortened.”
The other dynamic to be considered is how we perceive a ‘work-life balance’. Today we question the real motivations behind why we work. There are more people looking for meaningful purposes than ever before. This includes where and how they can integrate their skills and qualities into the workforce.
Kunter suggests that “it is more about collaboration and being a part of a bigger vision. The search for a meaningful work-life balance is still a new concept. This balance is not just about resting and having fun but it is about creating a financially independent lifestyle, it embraces a concept of life-long learning, and in return being inspired will empower decision-making processes.”
In order to embrace the above lifestyle, it is important to start incorporating this mindset in the very early stages of the education system. Today we are still debating about how we learn and what are the optimal approaches to bring out the best in people. That’s why it needs a couple of generations to adapt to this style of thinking.
There are couples of reasons why it will take some more time to reach gender equality in the working environment. Gender equality and inclusivity are perhaps some of the leading missions and subjects of today’s world. We are still at the beginning of understanding what gender means? How does it get shaped? What are the typical gender roles? Sage provides advice on how to accurately diagnose and report the gender pay gap.
In an alternative parenting approach some families are bringing up their children without letting them know what their gender identity is, but still we have lots of gender bias toys, media coverage, stereotypical expectations, policies and so on.
Technological advancement on machine learning and AI adds another perspective to the subject. In 100 years time, will we be including them into the gender? And how will this be affecting the behaviour of working life?
Kunter goes on to add population, immigration, localisation and global warming as factors that could affect this question too.
“Although we are just starting to really question and look more in depth at the concept, it is still not completely embedded into our daily lives. In the next 20-25 years until the next generation begins we will be questioning, debating and analysing what this means for societies? There are backlashes of course, as in every adaptation; we will see the opposite ideologies and actions. Then while adaptation continues, some advanced societies will start to apply new thought processes and some will work some will fail, and others will follow the best working models.”
Technology will also support this progress as some work collaborations will not require people to be in the same environment but exist within the same working chain, this might make some of the inherent bias disappear.
Once technology enhances and working life takes a new meaning and definition the lifestyle of societies will change too. And then maybe we will even question if there will be any gender to mention in the first place?
Maybe we don’t need to talk about gender in the workforce.
“It is at the end all about the abilities, intelligence, adaptability, creativity and qualities of people. It is about what types of minds we need, and how they can work with each other. How they can collaborate with each other. So maybe in 100 years time, gender will not be something to mention, let alone gender equality?” Kunter concludes.