Will we still ‘work’ in the future?

20 Jul 2017

It starts when we’re young – our parents go to their jobs and earn money to provide a good life. The notion is passed on when they tell us we need to go to school to learn, to further education beyond school, and then the inevitable “you need to start working”.

Joe Snell, Snell Architects, said, “The future of work is not ‘working’. As humans, we want to have a vision of how we’re going to make an impact at a personal level, at a family level and then hopefully at a much more macro level for the whole community, for the whole world, for the whole planet…”

Work should be the second priority to our family and personal goals – this helps achieve a balance between work and life and how we transform work into achieving goals. At Lendlease, we encourage our employees to move up and across in their roles, so they remain engaged and make the impact they want to make on the places we create.

Keith Lovell is a Construction Operations Director at our Elephant & Castle project in Europe. He’s been with Lendlease for more than three decades, but his proudest work moment involved his family. 

“My proudest moment was seeing my grandson, who was a day old, have a life-saving operation in the hospital where I was Construction Director,” he said.

Joe Snell believes, “If we think about it as work, we’ve already lost. You think about what you want as an individual and then you push out from there and, of course, by the individual I mean your family as well. Workplaces need to be fun enough and able to facilitate that individual’s quests of changing the world or changing their own existence, then you’ll have an amazing place where you hang out – notice I didn’t say workplace. I just think work is not actually a good word anymore.”
Will we still ‘work’ in the future?
The future of work is moving away from the second definition: ‘A task or tasks to be undertaken’ and coming back to the original definition: ‘Activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a result’. It is not a chore that our employers have thrust upon us, so we can provide shelter, food and basic living necessities for our families. It’s activity that achieves results, and the goal is to make that activity, something we enjoy – something that helps us change who we are in the world.

And while that mission in life will still involve schooling, we need to change the perception of why we attend school from ‘what career do you want?’ to ‘what impact do you want to make in the future?’. It’s a conversation that starts at home about achieving goals and what individuals need to do to get there.

For workplaces, this means promoting the message to employees, who spend around 40 hours a week ensuring the longevity of a company, about where the business is going. People will go to a place where they feel they’re making a difference, but they won’t necessarily ‘go to work’.

At Lendlease, we encourage conversations throughout the year to ensure our employees aren’t just achieving their goals for the financial year, but accomplishing their life goals and their wellbeing goals. We support our employees to lead healthier and happier lives, and encourage them to look toward a future where they thrive.

Joe Snell’s wisdom, “Get rid of the word ‘work’ and then we’ll have a future.”