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Suddenly, the Future of Work Came Upon Us

Detroit Industry, North Wall, by Diego Rivera (1932-1933). (Photo: Courtesy of Detroit Institute of Arts)

For all that is going wrong in the world, many of us can still let out a sigh of relief when we get out of bed. Robots have not yet taken over our jobs, cab drivers are still at the wheel and coffee shops are buzzing with life anew in cities everywhere.

Yet, the world of labor has changed dramatically and there’s no looking back. In late 2019, Verb was commissioned by Microsoft to write three reports on The Future of Work in Brazil, Mexico and Argentina, the three largest economies of Latin America. A few months later, the Covid pandemic brought the future upon us.

We all know that the hybrid work mode—working a few days at home and a few days in the office, is here to stay. And this, as The Economist has noted, will require managers (every worker we may add) to have a different set of skills. “Rather than hiring and promoting charismatic leaders, companies may place more emphasis on managers who are good at using digital tools to specify exactly what they want doing, and when, to distributed teams,” the weekly said. “Another is that firms, and work itself, will become more digital”.

In the report we prepared for Microsoft, we said that Argentina’s cycles of boom and bust made it adaptable to unexpected challenges: knowledge-based services have become the third largest employer in the country. In Brazil, the challenge was not whether the digital revolution was creating jobs, but rather the opposite. It needed “to churn out professionals fast enough to fill the new positions as they open in the country’s exuberant economic and technological ecosystem.” Mexico, on the other hand, saw in the transformation of the workplace brought about by Covid an opportunity to spread out more evenly the benefits of the technological revolution.

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In other news:

Why We Need More Women at Work

In the photo, the Springfield Symphony Orchestra. (Photo: Courtesy Springfield Symphony Orchestra)

While in the last few decades women have made significant strides in every field, equal opportunity is still proving elusive. This will benefit society at large. Since we mentioned Covid in the story above, it is worth noting that countries led by women, including Denmark, Finland, Germany, while Angela Merkel was Chancellor, and New Zealand, have coped better with the pandemic.

Verb takes pride on working with Pro Mujer, a nonprofit that over three decades has empowered women across Latin America. Now led by Carmen Correa, Pro Mujer engages the most vulnerable women, whose access to financial services and healthcare is often limited.

Ai Weiwei Makes Art out of Assange’s Treadmill

Ai Weiwei shows a copy of “Treadmill.” (Photo: Courtesy of Damocle Edizioni)

“Julian Assange’s treadmill, which he sent to Ai Weiwei in October 2016 while he was still at the Embassy of Ecuador in London, four years after taking refuge there, is the subject of a new and intriguing print edition by the artist,” writes Verb’s Avedis Hadjian in an article for art news site Hyperallergic. “Printed on glossy aluminum by Damocle Edizioni, a publishing house in Venice, ‘Treadmill’ depicts Assange’s token of appreciation for Ai’s outspoken support of him.”