I read an article today that was based on the ‘fact’ that by 2030, working from home – or anywhere you like – will be more commonplace than going into the office.
Unfortunately, and very annoyingly, I’ve read so much today that I’ve forgotten where I read it and can’t find the thing to be able to reference it for you here. You’ll just have to trust me that I did read it and I’m not making it up. An odd thing to want to make up anyway, if you ask me.
Back to the matter in hand. Reading it, I suddenly had a picture of Disney’s Wall-e pop into my head, where all the people on the spaceship were really fat and being carried around as they got on with their daily lives. And then another image of Bruce Willis’ The Surrogates (if you haven’t seen it, you totally should. It’s set in the future where people have ‘perfect’ robot versions of themselves made. They connect their mind into the robot version of themselves and send that out into the world and live life through it – from the safety of their bed) quickly followed.
I’m sure I read somewhere else (a long time ago) that by now, through the improvement in technology, we should all be working fewer hours leaving us with more leisure time.
However, because of the advances in technology and the, already, prominent ‘virtual presence’ that everyone has, we are now able to work remotely – meaning that we are accessible anytime – meaning we work longer because there’s always more to do and that can be done.
Technology will undoubtedly enable us to work virtually in most occupations in the future, but if we are already staying up late into the night on work emails, spreadsheets, conference calls etc, do we really think that technology will bring us the answers we are searching for for a better work/life balance?
When we read of working from home, there’s an instinct to think that this is truly the way forward, that we could one day work from anywhere in the world, it wouldn’t matter where we are; but isn’t that the point? A holiday won’t mean the same in the future, because surely you could still get that report done in between your snorkelling session and your afternoon hike? Your home wouldn’t be the sanctuary it is now, it would be your office – your place of work.
What is held for the future? Stress, depression and a whole lot of socially inept individuals. With no place to just be, away from it all and to switch off, the whole world will become one big virtual office.
But if we can all be aware to what the future may bring and together make sure that technology doesn’t take over (like the films show us time and time again, that they will..) then technology can be a friend and help to make our lives easier, so that we can enjoy the time we have – rather than stressing over work.