TEDxRVA - The Future of Work

ted x rva future of work chic stripes

This past week, I was asked to help lead a small breakout group discussion around The Future of Work at the TED x RVA Salon event. 

I love TED Talks because they are such a creative and great source of inspiration around all sorts of ideas. In fact, their own mission is to curate "Ideas worth spreading." By now, a lot of cities have their own TED talks: TEDxAustin, TEDxDenver, etc. 

For our Salon (a mini, monthly TED Talk) - we were focused on what future jobs will look like as technology advances and more and more people work remotely or take the jump to start their own businesses.

To jump start us, we watched two really great videos:

I could talk for days about Jason Fried's topic (btw, he's the founder of Base Camp, NBD) - why doesn't work get done at place of work (aka the office)?? Even when I worked a day job, I tended to work remotely unless I needed to be at the office for a meeting or something else. And without fail, I always found that when I was in the office, I never got anything done! Even now, when I need to hunker down, I like to work from my home office even though I love my co-working space and my friends there. 

One really resounding comment from the whole event though, centered around the idea of Ted and Bill. Ted is a relatively well off, upper middle class man, college educated. Bill, is not. As you can image, Ted does well in life, while Bill increasingly falls out of engagement with life. A lot of the ideas we talked about were very "Ted" in nature - the idea of remote work, working from home, etc. But we were overlooking was that for over half of the world, these ideas are not even on their radar - their concerns are fields, crops, weather, etc. What do they do when the future changes? How do they adapt? We didn't really have answers, but it's something to ponder and to be aware of as we entered into future discussions.

If you are interested in this type of topic, I'll just leave the links above and let you ponder! There's a lot to think about:

  • Moving to a 5 or 6 hour workday - which a lot of innovating companies are doing! Turns out, it makes employees more productive and happy.
  • What do you do if your job becomes automated?
  • How do you work best? 
  • Do you have a job that doesn't allow remote work or that is not office based at all? How do you see the future of work?