The 20-Hour Work Week of the Future

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.

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