As technology continues to drive unprecedented change in the world of work, bold predictions are now being made about the number of hours that could soon make up the average working day.
Futurist, James Wallman, and Yell, have teamed up to explore the forces impacting new and future ways of working. And the resulting report - ‘Future Gazers: the next 30 years in business’ - has made the case that a 4-hour working day might well be the norm by 2050.
A new wave of technologies including Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality and the Internet of Things are each expected to dramatically change how we work and give us the opportunity to work smarter and not necessarily longer.
The report claims the current 9-5 working day was developed to extract as much as possible from workers who performed routine tasks in factories and offices. And despite technology now enabling greater flexible working opportunities, the 8-hour working day remains the norm for the majority of the workforce.
But emerging research suggests that 8-hour days are actually unproductive, with the sweet spot sitting closer to 4. As automation technology plays a bigger role in helping us perform tangible and routine tasks, it's thought we'll soon have the opportunity to spend a handful of hours each day on more fulfilling and creative work.
Such radical changes will also have huge benefits on our health and wellbeing, and unsurprisingly give us new and unheard of opportunities to strike a better balance between work and our personal lives.
Sarah Slade, entrepreneur and co-owner of SevenSeventeen, a mood-boosting candle brand, believes the growing partnership between humans and technology has the great potential.
"Getting the most out of our time should soon become easier. As business owners, there will undoubtedly always be the unavoidable call at 9pm or having to pop in to the office at the weekend – but ultimately, it's flexibility we see as being the most important game changer in the future of business.”
For freelancers and contractors, the potential to focus solely on extracting more from a working day will no doubt be welcomed. Weighed down by important but laborious tasks such as managing accounts, you can only imagine that the independent workforce would be enthusiastic about embracing such change.
Mark Clisby, Product and Marketing Director at Yell, encouraged us all to embrace the new opportunities that come around as a result of technological innovation.
“We’re living in a time of incredible change. The next 30 years are set to be very exciting for us all. We look forward to continuing to help business owners and consumers to adapt to changing technologies, both now and in the future.”
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