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How technology is changing the future of work

There are many unfair things in life, but all we can do is try to make things a little fairer in the best way we can.

I’m quite a believer that technology has the potential to democratise the future of work, which means that the professional world will start moving towards an ideal where the majority of people aren’t unfairly advantaged.

Working beyond London

For example, at the moment people in the UK must generally move to London before they can hope to get a top job in their chosen field. I think we’re seeing the rebirth of the Northern Powerhouse, which is fantastic, but technology means that remote working is becoming a real possibility.

Although not the solution to the housing crisis, technology means that less people will need to move to London with its sky-high rents, eye-watering transport costs and over-population.

Many people also prefer not to be based in one place, and will work in multiple locations across the country – even the world. This is popularly known as digital nomadism, but I prefer the less glamourous term ‘homeless’, or ‘location-independent’.

I found that living in London was draining mentally, emotionally and financially. I know some people love the capital but I personally prefer living somewhere more suburban, and I can’t drive so it’s difficult for me not to live near the urban centre. I love the character of many northern cities which is often much more idiosyncratic and heart-warming.

Working remotely means I can live wherever I want, and work with clients all over the world… how amazing is that?!

It’s been made possible by the digital economy.

Playing to introvert strengths

Introverts often struggle to cope in open plan office environments geared towards extroverts. Working remotely means that they can play to their natural strengths, which are often working well alone, and powering through tasks without the need to have constant small talk.

A big motivating factor for me in quitting my job to become a tech blogger was to remove the need to work in an office, which I found totally exhausting.

Many people have said they couldn’t bear to work at home alone, but I find myself more productive, and motivated to socialise when I’m done!

Empowering physically disabled people

As much as I love working remotely, I’m really just being lazy.

People who are physically disabled will really struggle to get to work. Technology enables more people to have fully-fledged careers without the necessity of the commute or battling with un-accessible offices in the city centres.

For example, super blogger Jon Morrow has spinular muscular atrophy, which means he cannot move any muscles apart from the ones in his face (in fact, doctors said he would die by age two). He is still living long after doctors predicted, along with having managed to build a blogging empire and is a business genius.

Although his amazing spirit is what really enabled him to achieve more than what most of us could ever dream of, technology is the platform that has facilitated his success.

Enabling flexible parenting

One of the most astonishing things about the working world is how hard it is for parents to balance family and work life. Despite the necessity for both parents to hold down jobs to afford to support their families in our post-recession Britain, the working world just has not caught up with this modern family set-up.

We still act as though a homemaker will be waiting at home to look after the kids and husband, when the reality now is that both partners (in many forms of relationships) often have equal professional pressures.

And yet the school day does not align with the working day, and working mothers fear shame and criticism if they ask for flexible working, which is not a standard requirement. Women also face discrimination and are held back in their careers after going on maternity leave.

Meanwhile, it’s still a given that men will continue their careers without interruption their whole lives, with paternity leave barely on the agenda and a bit of a taboo subject. It’s basically assumed men want to have minimal input in childcare.

This double standard is incredibly unfair, and I’m sure is one of the reasons why I don’t want to have children.

Happily, technology has made remote or flexible working possible for a huge number of parents. Women can also fit running their own businesses around family life, because they’re not chained to their desk for a set time each day.

Encouraging diversity in technology

These amazing benefits of technology mean we need to work harder than ever to fight discriminating stereotypes, perpetuated by mass media, that women can’t understand technology, or old people can’t use new technology. This is ironic, given that technology defines the millennial generation.

More than using technology to usher in the future of work, a more diverse range of people need to become involved in the creation of technology, and that means learning to code.

There is a chronic skills shortage in the digital and technological industries, for a multitude of reasons. Groups like Code First: Girls, Next Tech: Girls and Black Girls Code encourage underrepresented groups to get involved in the tech industry, and there are lots of free resources you can take advantage of.

Check out my list of free UK coding groups for women or 10 ways that you can learn HTML for free


About the author

Catherine Heath

I’m a B2B freelance tech blogger and content writer. I have a thing for psychology, diversity, tech and startups. Learning to code.

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