Timeline of modern work

The information revolution is a discontinuity in economic history

James Plunkett

Modern work is in a state of flux as part of the discontinuous change brought on by the information revolution. Perhaps, by considering the factors that shaped the ways we work today we can better understand what its future might look like and whether a dominant design will emerge or whether work will continue changing.

The cultural changes and technological inventions that created modern work

2021
May 1

Great Resignation

2020
April 9

National lockdowns and enforced working from home

2012
April 13

Union membership in the UK drops below 6 million for the first time since the 1940s

2009
April 23

Tina Brown coins the term ‘Gig economy’

2007
April 13

First iPhone and the start of the smart phone revolution

2001
September 12

Agile manifesto created

April 19

FANUC, a Japanese robotics company, begins operating as a ‘lights-out’ factory where robots build other robots

1998
September 4

Google incorporated

1991
April 18

Invention of WiFi

1985
April 5

Symbolics Computer Company is the first business to register a commercial dot-com domain name

1980
April 10

First laptop

1975
April 4

Microsoft founded

1973
April 20

First portable cell phone

1972
April 20

The term “telecommuting” was coined

1970
April 10

Equal Pay Act in the U.K.

1963
April 11

Equal Pay Act in the U.S.

1960
April 21

Open plan office layout widely adopted

1950
April 11

Cross-functional teams

Although we call this the timeline of ‘modern’ work, it actually refers to the postmodern era from the end of the second world war to the present day.