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Upwork’s weekly column brings you the latest news on hiring and working with freelancers, freelancing, and the future of work.

Harvard Business Review | How Gaming is Shaping the Future of Work

In the not-so-distant future, companies may very well take cues from today’s innovations in the video game industry, predicts author and consultant Katy Tynan.

“It’s video games that are driving much of the innovation in video, virtual reality, and collaboration technologies today—something that has important implications for how we work, especially with far-flung colleagues,” she said.

The practical applications of technologies and practices pioneered in the gaming industry run a wide gamut—from allowing companies to build and test products in a simulated virtual space before creating physical prototypes, to bridging the gap across long distances for remote workers. Some of these practices are already in use across numerous industries, and Tynan suggests the future of work could look a lot different depending on the need.

“Imagine joining a meeting that exists in virtual space – a conference room rendered in 3-D, complete with chairs, a table, a whiteboard, and coffee,” writes Tynan. “As your colleagues join, you see their avatars enter the room and sit around the table. The meeting is an immersive simulation of an in-person meeting, created with the help of motion sensors that track physical movement or gloves equipped to capture hand movements and body language. Audio is a live feed from each participant….people playing immersive 3-D games are already using this technology.” | Study: You Should Only Work Three Days A Week

The concept of a four-day weekend might sound heavenly to some and nightmarish to others, but a new study suggests the traditional five-day, 40-hour workweek is less than ideal for the way the human brain operates.

“Working more than three days, or 25 hours, per week is bad for cognitive function,” reported tech writer Conor Cawley, citing a recent study published by the University of Melbourne. “In fact, cognitive abilities were dramatically improved in both males and females when working up to three days or 25 hours. But once they pass the threshold, a steep decline in cognition was found.”

The caveat? The study only focused on people over the age of 40, Cawley said, adding it’s hard to say whether this might extend to younger workers without further study. Still, with more of America’s workforce shifting to contract and freelance roles, the possibility of a more flexible three-day work week isn’t unheard of.

What business trends have caught your attention recently? Tell us about them in the comments below!

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