What Is The Meaing Of Work?

There is no doubt that there has been a profound shift in the Australian way of life over the past 30 years.

According to well-known futurist Bernard Salt in The Weekend Australian recently, the way we live, form relationships, engage with technology, even the way we read the news has changed. And nowhere is this better evidenced than in how and why we work.

A lot has been said about the future of work. In the post-Covid world, leaders will lead us, not bosses. We will be tech-forward. We will have greater control over how we deliver our workplace value – and from where we do it.

I has been enabled. A new kind of thinking coming out of the pandemic. We’re not interested in getting back to normal. It’s like the pandemic has given us permission to think creatively and boldly about how best to organise work in society.

Indeed, our collective thinking now seems to be that workplaces must be more flexible and inclusive, and in times of a skills shortage, particularly when the supply of younger workers is diminishing globally due to reduced fertility rates, what workers want cannot be ignored by employers.

Now we have arrived at the start of a new post, pandemic era, having travelled through decades of prosperity and are contemplating how we want to recognise a world of work. Increasingly we see value in working for organisations that make a difference. Or more to the point, we rail against working for an organisation that produces contentious products or services.

In the post pandemic era, many workers will, (rightly or wrongly), proceed with an application assuming that pay and conditions are likely to be broadly acceptable. But something many job candidates want in addition to the basics is “meaning” capital – a reassuring narrative based around the meaning of work.

Businesses are pitching themselves accordingly. Come work with us. We produce ethically sourced products. Our job is to help the community. We don’t have command and control bosses, we have team leaders.

We will support your career development through a tailored training and leadership program. We have zero tolerance for anti-social behaviour from staff, suppliers and customers. Our workplaces are dynamic, stimulating places that will bring out the best of your latest talent. Plus we offer remote work from anywhere. And we’re a fun place to work. Jump on board!

This is very different to working in a city office or a suburban factory 9-5, never crossing (and being fearful of) the boss and always doing as you were told.

We have largely moved past this kind of work towards something that embraces notions of meaning, respect and freedom. We want to deliver workplace value on terms that suit our lifestyle. And while it’s easy to parody both the old and the new way of working, I know which of these worlds I’d rather work in.

At AWS we have all seen the shift first hand. This kind of thinking was certainly what led the founders of Art Work Spaces, the Kamsler family, to develop a flexible work environment that encompasses many of these values.

Source: The Weekend Australian – Bernard Salt Opinion Piece

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