Do you see brands playing a part in our more flexible future?
Yes, by holding a mirror up to changing society. When brands reflect the messier edges of work and life, that has an impact. So we change from depicting people working for the weekends to depicting a view that the way we work has changed. In turn, a more empathetic way of reflecting our lives back to us will be recognised.
Men’s flexibility will also be talked about and will become more urgent. Brands can help destigmatise men working flexibly, men taking up shared parental leave and being more present fathers by reflecting this back to society. But then there are the deeper tensions around how men don’t take up flexible working or shared parental leave because they think it would compromise their success at work. What we need are more stories around flexible working being a jet propeller for your career.
What will Flex mean for the future of work?
The rise of digital living and automation has given us lots of new tools and ways of working, so we need to think consciously and intentionally about how we will work. We will also need services that help us to be more intentional about career pivoting. There’s an acknowledgment that jobs for life will be very rare. So how can we translate the skills we have into different industries? How can we embrace life-long learning rather than front-loading it, as we do now, at the start of our careers?
With the World Economic Forum naming creativity as one of the top three skills that we’ll need in the future, we must focus on the skills that are key to our humanity and not on those that make us more like machines. We need to get out of our echo chambers, stop sitting in front of screens all day, exchange ideas together and be empathetic to those that don’t fit in with our view. Our current working culture is set against this.
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