From ChatGPT to solopreneurship: What the future of work looks like

New-age technology will ensure that an employer reprioritises his parameters

By Sanjeev Pradhan Roy

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This stock photo is used for illustrative purposes
This stock photo is used for illustrative purposes

Published: Thu 20 Apr 2023, 4:38 PM

Last updated: Thu 20 Apr 2023, 4:47 PM

John Lennon’s iconic song Imagine blares loudly to our visualisation of what a futuristic day at work might be like!

As we delve deeper into that sci-fi realm of matrixed work, where bending flexibility blends into hybrid income possibilities over a managed marketplace virtually, it's time to reflect on how infinity can be as finite as we imagine it.

The signs are clear as organisations and talent brace new-age technology and aspirations that go beyond the physical chain to on-chain world of crypto, trading skills and value over a zillionth network of parallel economies. It's where the world truly collaborates by choice, a virtue fast diminishing in tightly-controlled trade and employment regimes.

We regale entrepreneurs, driving big headcount and flamboyant office spaces, in a blitz of sheen and overdressed forecast models. Overheads dominate, while market share doesn’t. Investments pour in, ROIs bleed and Glassdoor feeds on insensitivities. Solopreneurship has taken root, no headcount, no office, gig economy breaking barriers in creating and connecting work. Justin Welsh’s extraordinary story of being a solopreneur lends credence among many others.

Things are not binary in the physical world, but it is in the on-chain world, where the digital materialises the physical world, at a scale and speed that is unprecedented.

There are two aspects to the Future of Work story, one that starts with employees and ends with the employer, and everything about capability and capacity in between.

If the simple web has metamorphosed into Web 3 now, the ubiquitous search engine has degenerated old ways of working and regenerated options at the speed of light through ChatGPT.

AI, in its IoT avatar, has assumed and consumed our mindspace like no other beast that mankind has created or curated so far, with its closer cousins, AR, VR and Metaverse, questioning the way of work!

If phenomena like the great resignation, quiet quitting and quiet firing haven’t greatly quietened down, the talent ecosystem has never been as dynamic as it is now in the realm of moonlighting. Top talents are on the right side of advantage and diktat is changing hands rather abruptly, from the employer to the candidates.

If earthlings have traded their skills and product for cash and kind since civilisational barter, the models of compensation have also evolved. Total rewards is taking over from the archaic salary breakup that epitomises control and breeds layers of transactions, besides non-value-added conversations. So, all that is core is retained for the necessary, the other aspects are outsourced at considerable savings or robotised.

While most conventional organisations labouring their way through business did not evolve on human capital practices, other companies on the higher maturity curve took the opportunity to optimise bottomline organically through work from home and hybrid measures, especially in tech and new-age businesses, without trust deficit ailments.

Future of work is also intrinsically linked to hiring scenarios that will be more agile and truncated in a pure matrix play, adhering to 80:20 rule of getting maximum things done through a core team.

A lot also depends on the geopolitical developments, emerging of new parallel economies and disruptions in technology in redefining work across genres and geographies.

A case in point is the de-fi economy of decentralised finance, where it moves away from the traditional IFRS/GAAP and accounting practices under strict regulation to a parallel crypto economy that is faster, nimble and sans bureaucracy of any kind. The UPI agreements being signed between countries makes the dependence on the dollar parity lesser, making them less immune to financial crisis and also opens up newer trade possibilities. The Digital Bank in the UAE is another classic example of legitimising the crypto banking system that is self-regulatory and empowered.

Leonardo Da Vinci’s saying “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” rings loud in today’s typical workplace that practises just the contrary. It’s not about aesthetics, state-of-the-art office décor and facilities that rival the best tech companies; it's about culture of empowerment, transparency and trust, which is more of a state of mind.

A Gartner research shows that to successfully create intentional interactions among employees, employers should focus on three elements: employee choice and autonomy, a clear structure and purpose, and a sense of levity and fun.

It's skills-based hiring, empathy and creativity that is the future of work and will help humans collaborate uniquely with the likes of ChatGPT that is cannibalising content writing and other work genres rapidly. Algorithms, logic sequencing and iterations of output aside, it’s the rabbit hole syndrome to contend with now, thankfully not a black hole.

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