Many claim we are living through a Fourth Industrial Revolution. This is a new chapter in human development, relating to changes brought about by new technology. It represents a shift in how we live, and especially in how we work.
New technology promises to increase workplace productivity. But with this comes the possibility of mass job losses. The tension caused by this push for higher efficiency dominates much of the debate around the future of work.
In a field obsessed with big questions, Dr Yasin Rofcanin decided to narrow his focus. He researches how organisations can boost productivity, but through a psychological rather than technological perspective. He explores the relationship between employees’ productivity and their personal experiences of work.
As Deputy Director of the Future of Work research centre, Yasin is in good company. He and his colleagues research how work changes in response to new technologies, practices and people.
Happy workers are better workers
Yasin’s research centres on the simple, but often overlooked, idea that increased wellbeing leads to increased productivity. It considers employees’ emotional needs as central to their work performance. His results show that people are more effective at work when they are motivated, engaged and happy.
Most workplaces claim to prioritise employee happiness. But Yasin’s findings show that modern HR misses one essential thing: employers must address staff wellbeing outside of work, as well as in the office.
People first, workers second
To Yasin, the work self and home self are inseparable. Digitisation has blurred the boundaries between our work and private lives; with email and smartphones comes the pressure to be permanently available