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Yesterday members of Eluceo attended a debate entitled The Changing World of Work at King’s College London which focused on the development of robotics in the workplace and the fact that we are all going to be living and working longer, and the impact that these have on our wellbeing. 

The majority of children born in rich countries today can expect to live to more than 100, and this increase in life expectancy has been happening for decades. However we still continue to structure our lives the way or parents or even grandparents did, and we face a dichotomy between what we expect in our working lives and the reality.

For those of us in our twenties and thirties, we won’t be able to retire at the age of our parents - indeed, to retire on 50% of your final salary income having saved 10% of your income each year it’s predicted that you’d need to work into your late seventies or early eighties. At the same time, working for that long is going to take its toll on our mental and physical fitness, while our enthusiasm for life could also suffer. 

So we need to reimagine the structure of our lives. The current three-stage model of education and career followed by retirement needs to be replaced by a multi-stage model with new stages and new ages and the potential for greater individual journeys. 

Individuals, companies and governments all need to play their part to ensure that this multi-stage model comes into fruition so that we can make the most of our longer lives. 

The multi-stage model taps neatly into the work of Eluceo. As a platform, at any stage in your life Eluceo can help you identify you skills gap and industries you might be suited to so that you can make the most of your potential, and can change careers or dip in and out of work when you have the opportunity. 

For more information about the 100 Year Life and to assess you ability to cope with the changing working environment, please go to: www.100yearlife.com.

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Fitter, happier, more productive

An additional theme to the debate was the fact that evidence has consistently shown that happier workers are more productive. Our workplace is becoming a place of unhappiness while at the same time in all advanced countries we are seeing decreasing levels of productivity. Professor David Guest of King’s College, an organisational psychologist, offered a number of reasons as to why wellbeing and productivity are on the down: 

New Technology 

With more and more information at our fingertips the world feels as though it’s speeding up, giving us the pressure, as employees to offer an immediate response to our working lives, to emails, to questions and to tasks.

Instant Access

In the same vein, companies now have instant access to staff regardless of where they are, however staff still need ‘recovery time’ outside of the office and the ability to switch off. A lack of recovery time is damaging to wellbeing and employees are more productive when they’ve had their own time.  

Increase in Surveillance 

Employers are able to inspect their employee emails which can give rise to anxiety.

New Technology (Part 2)

Because of new technology in the work place some career paths and jobs are changing rapidly. For example, in law lower-skilled jobs are disappearing fast whilst in medicine the role of a pathologist is being quickly taken over by technology. 

The Changing Nature of Work 

Due to the changing nature of work and the high demand still placed on them, employees feel they have little control over their working lives and their career paths. This lack of control leads to stress and anxiety. 

Autonomy

In the UK we’re experiencing a consistent decline in autonomy in the workplace alongside high levels of insecure work and contract-based work. Autonomy and the ability to believe that you matter in a workplace is a good way to develop your wellbeing. 

Leadership

With the top jobs having increased salaries of 120% over the last 25 years and the bottom only increasing theirs by 10% there is increasing distrust of leadership in the workplace. With such inflated salaries on one side, it’s hard to keep a company integrated with the same mission and outlook, and it’s hard for people at the bottom to see themselves as an important part of the company. There are an increasing number of ‘working poor’ in the UK and they are still expected to be just as committed to their jobs.

Millennials

Millennials are facing greater levels of uncertainty in their lives as traditional career paths wain. At the same time, they’ve the problem of earning enough money to support themselves in their twenties and thirties and save enough to be comfortable when they retire. It is important for wellbeing to have an attractive future, but many millennials aren’t convinced that the future is bright. 

These factors show that to live to the ripe old age of 100, and be productive in the workplace, as individuals we need to change our idea about the working world and how we approach our working lives. At the same time, companies need to do all they can to help their employees to help them stay more productive and happy.  

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