FUTURE OF WORK #2 INTERVIEW | 5 RAPID-FIRE QUESTIONS
This week, we were joined (remotely) by Kavi Guppta, a leading Future of Work journalist whose work has been featured in Forbes, Harvard Business Review and Huffington Post — to name a few. For hundreds of thousands of readers, he regularly explores technology and its impact on workforce transformation.
Over the course of a few years, Kavi has covered controversial topics such as ‘Will Labor Unions Survive In The Era Of Automation?’ to ‘Basic Income Might Be The Answer To Society’s Productivity Crisis.’ In this interview, we discussed everything from companies and countries at the forefront of flexible work to why Kavi rarely uses coworking spaces.
1. You wrote about Future of Work for Forbes for over 3 years. What were the topics that readers engaged with the most during that time?
What’s been really popular with audiences is how to find and secure jobs in this highly transformative and volatile job market.
Readers in North America, Europe, and Australia-Asia are also interested in securing remote work positions — either to work from home or to work abroad.
Mobility is certainly a growing demand of workers in this generation.
The other element that’s been popular is organizing the financial aspect of new work realities: where do you pay taxes? How do you negotiate access to benefits like healthcare? Where are the best places to work in the world from a lifestyle perspective?
Lastly, I’m starting to see a more intentional effort by governments and corporations to understand how workers can be protected under such new working styles. The union movement in particular is going through an upheaval to modernize itself toward a very different workforce.
2. In your opinion, which companies are at the forefront of Future of Work at present?
I don’t believe there is any one company.
Rather, I’m seeing a collection of companies — big and small — who are experimenting with new work styles and initiatives. You can see this inside early-stage startups, all the way up to major corporations.
Ultimately, every company is creating its own recipe for working styles that will suit the needs of the organization. Some are more flexible, others not so much.
3. In your ebook, ‘Disruption in the Developing World’, you discuss how governments are struggling to keep up with the evolving workforce. Which countries are leading the way in this regard?
South Korea has begun to intentionally pour a lot of money into its workers to update the workforce.
Estonia has taken the lead on digital visa programs to attract investment and also to recognize how technology can be used to the workers’ advantage.
The US, given its size and access to top tech talent, has certainly paved the way for much of the revolution in the workforce. Again — these are all experiments and will continue to be, as needs for companies and workers continue to change.
4. Do you work remotely? If so, where’s your favourite coworking space or place to work from?
Yes. I work from my home, from cafes and bars, and hotel rooms when I’m travelling.
I rarely use co-working spaces. As a writer, I need a lot of solitude to get my work done. Writing is quite a lonely task, and it’s difficult to do around people or in an open environment. I love touring co-working spaces when I travel for work to see what kind of spaces are available to people. I sometimes use public spaces to edit or read, but rarely to sit down and work on drafts.
Some writers may thrive in such an open and social environment, but that’s not the case for me.
5. What’s your vision for the Future of Work?
Ultimately, I hope to see companies and workers find a common ground to meet their needs.
Workers will have more opportunities to access different choices in working styles in order to match their productivity.
Companies will continue to reassess what makes them attractive to potential hires, and in-turn offer work programs that keep workers happy and productive, while helping to grow the company through profitability.
At the end of the day: workers have to help a company succeed. If a company can’t maintain its mission to serve customers and create value, then workers are going to be at a loss for new choices in work style.