Future of Work
“The future of work is a subject of constant debate as traditional jobs and industries undergo disruption, and the social contract between employer and employee comes into question. What will constitute work in the future? Where will it take place? In which industries will we see growth? And will automation bring about a jobs apocalypse?
Collected on this page is a variety of my work on the future of work, including conference talks, blog posts, and reports. If you are looking for a speaker, commentator, writer or expert on the future of work, then drop me a line via the contact form. Or just read on to find out more about how work will change in tomorrow’s world.“
Tom Cheesewright testing out augmented reality technologies that might be a key part of the future of work
Future of Work: Networks not monoliths
“Companies are getting smaller. Modern business behemoths employ a fraction of the staff of equivalent-sized companies of old. Inside these organisations, every employee is empowered to do more, augmented by technology. But the real secret of their success is their networks of suppliers, partners and even customers, each taking their share of the load.
By distributing effort like this, the modern enterprise can be much more flexible, able to add and drop capabilities simply by plugging in new resource or capabilities, through outsourcing providers, partners and freelancers. The costs might be slightly higher, but the global labour market helps to offset this. Networked enterprises gain both agility and efficiency.
For those who in the past might have been employees, the story is less positive. What freedom they have gained is often traded against a lack of security. The old social contract between employer and employee is now available to many fewer people. This suits the highly skilled and in-demand, able to leverage high day rates and low costs to maximise their incomes. But for others, stuck at the low end of the gig economy and zero-hours contracts, the shift from monoliths to networks has been anything but positive.”
Hybrid Working: Creating the next normal
“Communications technology leader Poly was a critical part of many organisation’s adaptation to the COVID-19 lockdown. So it made sense for the organisation to analyse its customer’s responses and look at the future for remote and hybrid work. I contributed my analysis to the company’s report on the subject and joined its chief revenue officer, Carl Wiese, for a conversation about the future of work.”
Future of Work: Rise of the Freelancer
“The solo self-employed now represent 14% of the UK workforce and climbing. The same trend is evident in the US and continental Europe. But there is a huge variation in what it means to be ‘freelance’, from gig economy jobs with low pay and zero security, to high-flying, highly skilled professionals charging thousands per day.
Freelancing rises as companies look to offload risk, take advantage of global talent pools, and automate tasks that used to require humans, slimming down job descriptions. The employment environment it creates is one filled with freedom and opportunity, but also risk and insecurity. For some it will mean greater work/life balance. For others, the constant threat of not being able to meet the rent, even though juggling multiple clients.
It’s easy to picture a future where traditional jobs, with benefits and pensions, are only held by the minority. How should government respond to this prospect? Should legislation be used to enforce the restoration of the social contract? Or should aa government pursuing competitiveness and liquidity in the workforce instead look to underwrite those facing a loss of income, or frequent career transitions.
These are the questions that lead to the prominent discussion of Universal Basic Income, life-long education funds, and welfare reform.”
Future of Work: Podcasts
“My podcast, Talk About Tomorrow, features a selection of stories from the blog in audio form, plus bonus interviews with interesting people – including some on the future of work. Check out a recent selection here or click below to find more episodes.”
Future of Work: Blog Posts
“I write frequently about the future of work, based on client interactions, topical events, or my analysis of trends. Check out a recent selection here or click below to see all my posts on the future of work.”
Aftershocks and Opportunities: Snapback
“Early in the 2020 pandemic, I was asked to contribute a chapter to a collection from 30 futurists around the world, looking at life and work after lockdown. My chapter, Snapback, looked at the counter-arguments to the idea that everyone would move to remote work. It focused on the human factors and the embedded work culture that will be challenging to change, however great the motivations.”
Future of Work: Clients
“The future of work is a huge question for many of my clients, adjacent to almost everyone’s interests, even if they aren’t commissioning specific projects on the subject. Below though are some of the clients I have worked with on specific future of work projects, whether that is talks, research, or reports.
If you think I can help you, as a keynote futurist speaker at your event, as a part of your future marketing campaigns, or as a consultant on your future business strategy, please get in touch.”
Future of Work: In The Media
“I am frequently asked to comment on the future of work across a variety of media: print, online, broadcast and podcast. You can find below a selection of my most recent media appearances on the subject of the future of work, and click below to find more relevant clippings.“
Get in touch
Interested in engaging Tom around a project on the future of business? Get in touch via this form and someone will be back to you as soon as possible. Please provide as many details as you can about the project: is it speaking, writing, consulting or broadcasting – or maybe something else? What’s your timescale?