'' Tech enables - but humans make the rules '' : Covid disruption could be the turning point for adopting - finally - quality work-life practices proposed for decades.

Flexible schedules, equal opportunity for women and minorities, a good balance between work and family, and socially responsible companies have long been on the horizon as distant hopes.

One driver is technology. Tech contributes to change by enabling work from anywhere. It transforms institutions and make services more accessible, whether education online or health care through telemedicine, robotic, surgery or home health monitoring.

Labor shortages in poorly paid rote jobs make rooms for robots, such as the robotic restaurant in my tech-heavy neighborhood. Goodbye, wage slavery.

But tech won't create a workers' paradise without bigger reforms. In person face time is still an advantage for workers who can get to a workplace, which means that they need accessible child care and transportation, which has yet to materialize on a large scale.

And a tech-dominated world carries troubling-possibilities for control through increasingly sophisticated surveillance techniques, unless worker autonomy is protected.

Another potent driver of change is worker activism, led by younger top talent. Emboldened by competition for their skills and fueled by a mistrust of establishments, they protest undesirable customers, environmentally unfriendly products, rigid work requirements, discriminatory treatment and serial harrasers.

They seek greater participation in decisions, self-organizing to act directly rather than waiting for permission. They reinforce external pressure groups in holding businesses to ever-higher standards, and thus help corporate social responsibility programs and environmental, social and governance reporting become main-stream expectations.

That's not enough. Unless workplaces better help workers realize their family priorities, and personal values, jobs will cease being a central source of identity.

The Great Resignation could continue, especially if entrepreneurship becomes a viable path for women and racial minorities when they can break through the white male hold on venture capital.

Without workplace transformation, paid work will be purely transactional, a loyalty-less survival necessity with loose ties akin to gig work. Even for the well-paid, jobs will be a sidetrack, dispensed with quickly so that the real business of living can begin.

The charity road race will replace the rat race. The best work situations will offer opportunities for community service.

Work won't morph from wage slavery into a workers' paradise without a culture and public policies that require accessible child care, flexible schedules, a voice in decisions and social responsibility.

Tech enables, but humans make the rules.

The World Students Society thanks Professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Harvard Business School. Professor Rosabeth specializes in change leadership and innovation.

Her latest book is : '' Think Outside the Building : How Advanced Leaders Can Change the World One Smart Innovation at a Time. ''


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!