In the last thirty or so years, computers, machines, and the internet have had a transformative effect on business to the point, these days, it’s almost impossible to think of a company that doesn’t rely on tech to at least some degree to operate.
Indeed, the sophistication of computers, robots, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) these days has led many employment experts to speculate that we may currently be in the throes of a fourth industrial revolution – a time when humans and machines happily coexist and work in harmony with each other.
Is technology moving faster than humans?
However, while it’s true the tech revolution has moved at a blistering pace, many would argue we humans have failed to adapt to the massive opportunities these new systems and software offer. In particular, the recent development of cloud computing services has brought options for the virtual workplace, essentially allowing employees to work from anywhere they can find an internet connection and dispelling the supposed advantages of traditional, office-based, 9-5 working day.
Is the 9-5 work model ultimately flawed?
It doesn’t take a genius to comprehend that humans are all hard-wired differently and what suits one individual need not necessarily suit another. The same applies equally to how, when, and where we work, and there is considerable psychological research that proves not everyone functions at their best between the fixed hours of 9-5.
Equally, the notion of ‘living for the weekend’ hints at an unhappy workforce, one that’s almost trapped for five days a week until they reach the ultimate freedom of time off through Saturday and Sunday. Not exactly the ideal conditions or recipe for a productive, engaged workforce.
Given the above, isn’t it time employers took a more flexible approach to the working day instead of measuring supposed productivity by the hours spent in a structured environment during fixed hours?
How cloud tech and freelancing are changing the work landscape
With the rise in technology, software, and recruitment platforms, employees are demanding more from their employers – including options for more flexible working. As mentioned above, it’s widely known that cloud tech enables remote-working and puts workers more in control of the time – and place – they work.
Likewise, freelance opportunities have also exploded in recent years, encompassing all industries from tech to design and delivery roles. So, for example, if you’re interested in shipping jobs, you could search on this site to pick and choose a job based on the hours, value, distance, or load that suits you.
The advantages to both employees and employers
Having a more mobile workforce working remotely over cloud networks or even freelancing can dramatically reduce a firm’s fixed operating costs, reducing the need for expensive premises and slashing rent, rates, equipment, and utility bills.
Meanwhile, employees benefit hugely by having a better work/life balance and the freedom and flexibility to work where and when suits them best. They also have the convenience of removing the daily commute to and from the workplace and can save money on associated expenses like meals at work or fuel costs.
How Coronavirus may have accelerated the transition to more flexible working
While many employees have spent years clamoring for more flexible working, the isolation and lockdown policies imposed by the recent Coronavirus could well have provided the evidence they needed to show that the success of remote working. Furthermore, with employers being forced to find innovative ways to allow their staff to continue working (most commonly over cloud networks), there has been a growing realization among many bosses that there is another way to achieve their goals.
Despite the fact we may well finally be emerging from the worst of COVID, many industry analysts suggest the measures taken over the last 18 months will be in place long after the virus has passed. – as evidenced by Twitter’s recent commitment to no longer requiring their employees to attend the workplace. Internet titan Google has taken a similar stance, confirming that 20% of its employees will be able to work from home even once their offices re-open again later this year – and hinting that the remote-working arrangement may be rolled out yet further.
The take out
Technology has transformed and enriched all areas of society, so it’s only logical that it should also impact the way we work. While it may be difficult for many bosses to relinquish the apparent control of having employees on-site under their watchful eye, it would surely be naive to think the old Draconian ways are befitting of the technologically advanced world we live in today.
As tech becomes more and more integrated with our everyday lives, isn’t it time both employers and employees and took greater advantage of it to allow for more flexibility in the workplace?