5. Work for planet

If 19th century represented the industrial economy and the 20th century the knowledge economy. The 21st century is hopefully going to go down in the history books as the era of sustainable economy. With greater urgency for environment protection action, I believe that companies, communities and countries will rewire their policies and programmes at scale to protect the planet and people alongside their need for profits. Jobs that drive this sustainable way of life will therefore be at the centre of the 21st century and will grow in millions. Technology and tech companies will advise, create and enable these new jobs in the intersection of climate change and public services as well as consumer products.

As these disruptions take shape, technology will also play a crucial role in supporting and modernizing management to better align to these emerging contours of ‘work’. New tools, applications and platforms will help reconstruct workplace processes and redefine productivity. These systems are still currently hard-wired in favour of legacy on-site teams. Digital platforms will also enable skilling at scale as highlighted in the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2020, which rightly predicted that 50% of all employees will need reskilling in the next five years.

The pandemic has given us an excellent opportunity to transition from designing workplaces for efficiency to designing for effectiveness, inclusion, resilience and sustainability.

It is imperative for all of us to realize that all this is not some ‘far future’ crystal gazing, but rather change is already happening and accelerating. If we don’t acknowledge, own and act on change, we will become victims of it and we will be scrambling to adjust rather than being in a position to shape things.

To paraphrase an old proverb – the best time to start was yesterday, the second best is right now!

This article was first published in World Economic Forum