The world is changing, and fast. The world was already changing at a rapid pace, but post-2020, things are moving at near lightning speed. Of all the facets of life that are evolving, few are as pervasive — and interesting — as the future of work.
The future of work is a topic of ever increasing interest. Companies are looking for new ways to save money, and employees are looking for ways to maximize their work-life balance. Now, more than ever before, people want to enjoy the things life has to offer, and they are trying to figure out how to make that happen without being jobless.
Financial technology, or fintech is an area that is seeing an increasing level of disruption, and has the potential to shape our lives in a number of ways. Here are a few areas of particular interest that are impacting the future of work:
Automation is likely to play a pivotal role in the future of work. From payroll and billing, to the checkout counter at the grocery store, automation is becoming ever more advanced as it is ubiquitous. Automation reduces the need for labor wherever it is implemented, and although no industry can be truly automated in its entirety, automation provides the potential for significantly increased efficiency in industry. Automation is set to disrupt nearly every industry as it increases efficiency and reduces cost (outside of the upfront cost). Though automation reduces the need for labor in the workspaces it is implemented, it will potentially create new areas of opportunities in sectors such as data analysis, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity.
Fintech is playing a leading role in the development of cryptocurrencies and digital assets, as well as dApps, or decentralized apps. Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum can provide alternative ways for people to exchange value and transact, while opening the door for emerging technologies like smart contracts, which will be another major disruptor in the coming years. As Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies gain legal status in countries, as is already happening in El Salvador and elsewhere, employees might be offered the option to receive the salary in cryptocurrency as opposed to fiat currency.
The gig economy refers to the increasing prevalence of short term, contract based work. While bringing in a whole host of challenges, like lack of job security, upward mobility, and healthcare, gig economy platforms like AirBnb, UpWork and Uber allow individuals to offer their services and generate income on a project by project basis, rather than work as typical 9-5 or 8-6 employees, offering a good way to continue generating income when between jobs.
As communications technology makes leaps and bounds even beyond what it already has, work from home might become a permanent feature in many people’s professional lives. Remote work provides more freedom and flexibility to employees, as well as more hours to their day that would otherwise be spent commuting. A major challenge with remote work is that the line between work life and home is blurred, leaving remote workers with no sense of being done with their work.
Overall, the next few years are looking to be game changers in the way we engage with the economy and each other. Automation, crypto and blockchain, gig economy, and communications technology are all areas of significant potential disruption. While it’s difficult to predict exactly how these trends will unfold, it is entirely possible that the traditional work-life structure of the past century will be a thing of the past. Ideally, this will all potentially lead to more financial security, financial independence, and greater financial literacy.
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