Time-tracking apps, co-working, digital nomads, gig economy, platform cooperatives, workplace surveillance: new technologies are visibly changing our everday work life—and have been for some time. To really understand how technological advances are transforming us and our jobs, we’re going to surface from the buzzword ball pit and take a look beyond the ledge.
New technologies do not simply influence professions and careers—they are also symptoms of increased demands for flexibility. The call for a better work-life balance, for reconciling work, family life and free time, the desire to work from home and alternative workspaces, the anxieties of Generation Y and their priorities: these are all changing work cultures, personal life concepts and open-plan offices—either gradually or by disruption. Whether (dysfunctional) video conferences, web-based cooperation tools or shipping software: technologies can facilitate new forms of cooperation—and in the best case cut CO2 emissions. Teams dispersed all over the planet and its timezones can complete tasks together as they beeline towards the end of the working day.
We’re glimpsing from the after-work hour at the future of work, at a digitally accelerated economy, new business models, venture capitalists and the role of innovation in our societies. Who is unionised in the new worker’s movements when competition against the next platform service provider flops? Why are new technologies being used as catalysts in economic development policies? What can we do to improve our work-life balance if push notifications are constantly raining down on us? We’re taking study leave and want to speak with you about paling unicorns and the startup scene, about digitisation’s effects on the social sector and public services, about displacement and the psyches of freelancers who populate the market. There will be cross-industry talk about the effects of automation and the Internet of Things—and about pioneers reclaiming self-determined work in rural areas.
So delete that powerpoint presentation, take down your post-its, cancel that call, skip that meeting, and come join us at re:publica to experiment with this beautiful (?) new world of work!