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Are You Ready for the Future of Work?

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Marcus is excited to share some research and analysis on productivity and the future of work from our friends at Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research. You can read their original article here.

When the pandemic began, many of us had to adjust to new ways of working. While you were becoming a video-call pro and sound-proofing your home office, companies were rushing to find innovative ways to get things done with less interaction and fewer people. 

At the beginning, it seemed like this “new work normal” would be short-lived.  But our colleagues at Goldman Sachs Research say there are compelling reasons to believe pandemic-driven practices – including remote work and process automation – are sticking around.  

We became more productive during the pandemic 

It helps that a lot of us actually like working from home, part or full-time. And automation can help workers take on more interesting work. But one major reason these practices are still with us is that they helped boost productivity during the last two years.

Our GIR colleagues called out three important facts that shed light on the future of our productivity and business practices: 

1. We gained a lot of productivity in those two years. Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words:

2. We went big with changes to the workforce and company business models. The sizeable productivity lift helped balance out Covid-related worker shortages and even paved the way for higher profits. Those wins helped convince companies to invest more and change more.

3. Gains were concentrated in industries where digitization and WFH (work from home) were most effective. Industries that could quickly get these two trends up and running showed the biggest productivity gains.

All of this company investment and productivity success leads Goldman Sachs economists to expect recent efficiency gains, and the workplace trends that support them, to stay with us for a while. 

Successful business models stick 

Successful trends stick around. That’s not a surprise. So, even now, long after lockdowns have gone away, close to a third of positions include some time working from home. A recent study by career site Ladders Inc. estimates as many as 20 million office jobs (over 25% of the total) could become fully remote in the next few years.  

The digital solutions that helped companies survive the pandemic have spread far and wide. We now think of many of them as ordinary parts of our daily lives, including: 

  • Mobile ordering
  • Online check-in/check-out at hotels, airport, etc.
  • Contactless payments 
  • Expanded online customer service (like chat bots) 
  • Robotic manufacturing, deliveries, cleaning and healthcare  

4 ways to make the most of your “future of work” 

So, we’ve seen how WFH and automation trends help businesses. But they can also help you improve your own future, especially with a little planning. Based on this Goldman Sachs productivity research, here at Marcus we’ve thought about four ways you can shape your career and financial life around the possibilities in the new workscape. 

  1. Time to build a better future. If you’re working remotely, and really want to explore a new career path or turn a hobby into a money maker, put the time you save commuting (and dressing up for the office) to work for you. Be sure to set boundaries so you actually spend that time preparing for your future.  
  2. Re-think “retiring.” Not sure how you feel about retirement? WFH and flexible schedules could make it easier to continue working in your field – or explore a new one – as you get older. Leaving the office doesn’t have to be the end of the line, especially when good workers are in short supply. 
  3. Learning is growing. Think about pursuing training in new (potentially well-paying) skills.  Automation is changing the workforce, and the right training can allow you to boost your value. We may need fewer cashiers and in-person salespeople and more healthcare and transportation workers. Keep in mind that skills in automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning can boost your value in your current field or a new one.  
  4. Balance is possible. If you’re one of the more than 1 in 6 workers who are also caregivers  for children or sick/elderly family members, finding a job that offers remote work and flexible hours (or talking to your current manager about options) can allow you to balance your responsibilities without sacrificing your career.  You could earn money and keep up with advancements in your field. 

 

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for individualized professional advice. Articles on this site were commissioned and approved by Marcus by Goldman Sachs®, but may not reflect the institutional opinions of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., Goldman Sachs Bank USA or any of their affiliates, subsidiaries or divisions.