Editorial: What is happening in working life right now?
Remote work is spoken about a lot these days, but we must remember that it only really concerns less than half of all people working. Working at the checkout in a supermarket or on the assembly line of a factory still means being present at the workplace. And, at least for the time being, operating a vehicle still requires a driver behind the wheel. It is true that remote work is continuously spreading to new fields. For example, the nursing sector and control room operations have recently taken the leap to remote working.
In all likelihood, the opportunity to work remotely will become an important factor in people’s career choices and workplace preferences. This challenges fields where employee presence is required to invest in employee wellbeing and creating a positive image for the field. The increasing competition for experts due to the labour shortage makes the situation even more critical. In this quest for talent, being family-friendly, caring and trusting can become vitally important for employers.
Even if the work cannot be performed remotely, other kinds of adjustments are possible in all jobs. Employees can tweak several aspects of their work either independently or together with colleagues and supervisors, such as ergonomics, the organisation of tasks, the functionality of information systems and breaks and rest periods. Resilience, flexibility and the motivation to learn new things are the keys to success.
When it comes to the remote or at the office debate, we must approach it from multiple perspectives. The needs of the employer, the team and the individual must all be taken into account. In addition to asking ourselves whether we need others at work, we should also ask if others perhaps need us. Another important matter is the effect of social encounters on the work community.
Fragmentation is one of the big trends of our time: people earn their income from multiple jobs and employment relationships and change jobs easily. On the other hand, these phenomena are not really that new. This issue of Telma includes a great article on working life over 50 years ago, which shows how fragmented careers were for most people even back then.
Working life changes, but two things remain certain: the importance of responsibility increases and humans will always be humans. To quote Tommy Hellsten:
“I have seen what makes us all the same despite our differences. It is our strong need to be seen, heard and encountered. This need lies deep within us, and we also take it with us to work.”