19 Comments

Summary:

What will your job as a web worker look like in 2015? Yes, it’ll still encompass digital devices, a multitude of communications technologies and social networking. But it may also offer a 20-hour work week, according to Gartner research director Brian Prentice. In a new report […]

What will your job as a web worker look like in 2015? Yes, it’ll still encompass digital devices, a multitude of communications technologies and social networking. But it may also offer a 20-hour work week, according to Gartner research director Brian Prentice.

In a new report Prentice envisions a world in which a free agent world composed of retiring baby boomers, working-age moms and Gen Xers relinquish traditional work structures in favor of “less-time” roles. This is good news, since those who work part-time are happier than those working full-time — the better to balance work and life among personal, family and community responsibilities.

As the need to employ skilled staff from demographics unable or unwilling to work 40 hours a week increases, Prentice believes the “20-hour-per-week job description” will emerge, describing roles that can be successfully accomplished in half the normal time. Catering to this crowd will help organizations attract and retain the workers they want.

But while we’re all spending less time at work, we’ll be ramping up our use of technology. Eventually, says Prentice, “It will be very hard to draw a distinction between the personal and work computing environment.”

That means power will shift away from companies that do everything they can to control the computing environment and toward those that can figure out how to create policies that provide user autonomy on the technology front.

Has your company already got flex-time figured out? We’d like to hear how it works for you.

  1. [...] to Gartner as reported by Web Worker Daily, in 10 years it may be common to have a 20 hour work week, and the distinction between personal and work computing environments will be very [...]

    Share
  2. [...] by Om Malik Thursday, May 31, 2007 at 8:52 AM PT | No comments The 20-Hour Work Week of the Future: What will your job as a web worker look like in 2015? A new report envisions a world in which a [...]

    Share
  3. [...] Web Worker Daily talks about a Prentice report which talks about an interesting possibility for the future employee. The quality of life will become a greater aspect of how people approach employment and work. Using latest technologies, tele-commuting to work and working for less hours more productively – 20 hours per week. For a long time, people have been conjecturing about the benefits of working in your pajyamas in a virtual office and just getting things done. But, to put it in perspective of hours and minutes, I find it fascinating to know how HR will deal with possibly more number of workers putting in lesser hours but more productive ones. [...]

    Share
  4. [...] WWD: The 20-hr Work Week of the Future  [...]

    Share
  5. I am a 54 year old male. Single parent. Run a PR firm. I live in San Antonio. Girl friend in Dallas. I travel. I play. I work my ass off. I dont see the notion of a 20 hour week. You can’t turn work off and then turn it on when you reach the 20 hour limit. Most of us dont work by the “hour.”

    We do projects, engagements, on-going things. Sure, I don’t work like I used to and take time off during the day to run errands, have lunch with a friend, pick my daughter up from school, or just chill out.

    These devices keep us connected and frees us up to do other things, while we still stay connected.

    I could see scaling back “some” as I get older, but the notion of just a 20 hour work week is just plain dumb. Reality and connected devices dont work that way.

    The other thing is that I personally see as what I do as a hobby. I really enjoy my work. I get to work and exchange money with very smart and interesting people. I want remain engaged with smart and interesting people. Sometimes the money flows to them. Sometimes to me.

    Maybe I am too lucky. Work is stimulating, fun, and provides me and my family with a nice life.

    Share
  6. Pete Johnson, Nerd Guru Thursday, May 31, 2007

    I don’t know if anybody else regularly reads Penelope Trunk (Boston Globe columnist, Yahoo! Business columnist, blogger, and author of The Brazen Careerist), but a big theme she stresses is that Gen X and Gen Y workers value time spent doing things that make you happy over money.

    Coincidentally, her blog article today features some new financial data that found that men in their 30s make less than their parents. Penelope’s explanation for this is along the same lines as part of this argument for more part time work.

    —Pete
    http://nerdguru.net

    Share
  7. So the job entails a 20 hour work week, but will WWers fill their plate up with two or three such assignments? My dad fondly recalls hearing of the 30 hour work week that computers were supposed to usher in. That was in the 70′s, but the promise still hasn’t come true.

    Share
  8. Hi Pete: yes, Penelope is one of my favorite career bloggers. I saw that article too and noted how it dovetailed with the ideas here.

    I see Alan’s point too though. I work more than 40 hours a week. I work every moment I can — partly because I love it, partly because I need the money to maintain my lifestyle. I’ve learned that money can buy you happiness… money can buy you time later on (for retirement, for a midcareer change, for doing work that you love but that doesn’t pay very well).

    I’m not interested in a 20 hour week right now, but someday I will be. It sure would be nice if laws and employers would get out of the mindset that the 40-hour workweek plus health benefits is the only kind of job worth anything.

    Share
  9. Heh. Weren’t they telling us in the 70s that by the year 2000 we’d all be hardly working at all? It was a load of BS then, and I suspect it’s a load of BS now?

    Share
  10. “As the need to employ skilled staff from demographics unable or unwilling to work 40 hours a week increases”
    where will this need come from ? I really can’t see it, in an outsourced world.

    Certainly there is no way to work a 20-hour week in tech currently: employers aren’t willing to provide half-time jobs; you can’t be self-employed on 20 hours a week, that’s barely enough to market your services and find work, never mind do any actual paid work. Believe me I’ve tried.

    The US has longer working hours and less vacation than any other country. The trend is toward 50+ hour work weeks, not to 20 hours.

    Share

Comments have been disabled for this post