The Worker of the Future: How technology will change the way we work
Imagine if you could scan yourself into the office using a chip implanted in your hand. Your robot colleague would greet you and inform you of your first appointment – a virtual call with your counterpart in another country, who would appear in your office as a hologram. Sensing your feelings as you start the working day, the lights and temperature are adjusted to improve your mood. This might sound like science fiction, but these innovations could be introduced sooner than you think… Here, I look at what the office of the future might look like, how we will engage with our employers and develop new skills.
Technological change has already created new mindsets and altered the way we interact with each other at work and at home. As our Future of Work report highlights, 41% of millennial workers prefer to communicate electronically at work than face-to-face or over the phone. This has also had an impact on our preferences for personal development, with future workers opting for more immediate performance-based feedback. Companies like Adobe, General Electric and Juniper Systems are setting paths for their peers by abandoning traditional annual performance reviews already.
Multi-disciplinary teams and robot colleagues
Strict hierarchical structures and out-of-date skills won’t hold currency in tomorrow’s modern working environment. As repetitive white-collar tasks become more automated, soft skills will become more valuable for our future worker. Robot colleagues will take over more manual tasks, complemented by their human counterparts’ abilities to problem solve – critical thinking skills will be the most in demand by 2020. Teams will also become far more multi-disciplinary, driven from bottom-up leadership to encourage innovation.
Accessibility and learning
Technology will become increasingly integrated with everyday processes. For example, access to the office will become more secure through fingerprint scanning. Employees may even opt to have chip implants for identification or to enable payments with a simple swipe of their arm. Micro-chips can even be inserted to help us store more knowledge or develop new skills. Emerging technology is also impacting the way we learn, with virtual reality offering an alternative to traditional classroom-based training to increase employee engagement.
The annual cost of work-related depression in Europe is already estimated to be €16.1billion, which will put wellbeing and vitality firmly on the business agenda. Companies are looking for new ways to develop this, for example, placing more plants in the office has proven to increase happiness and productivity. In fact, employees who already work in green spaces have a 15% higher level of wellbeing, are 6% more productive and 15% more creative overall. Inspired by nature, new offices will be green, using natural and artificial light that alters dependent on the mood of the employees, encouraging them to de-stress.
End of the traditional 9-5
63% of workers believe that the eight-hour day will soon become obsolete. Tomorrow’s workers will be more flexible and have greater control over their time. Employees will also have more freedom to wear what they want. One in three companies already allow casual dress every day and this figure is only set to rise in the years ahead.
Whatever the future has in store, employers will need to learn to adapt to survive in the changing world of work. Take a look at our graphic below to show you our vision for what The Future of Work might look like…