The workplace has evolved dramatically in the past 100, 50, even 10 years; but to the futurists whose job it is to consider where all these changes are taking us, we’re only just beginning a revolution that will completely redefine why, where, when, and how we work.
The workforce of the future will use these tools to automate the vast majority of business processes that do not need immediate human attention. This can include everything from logistics to scheduling; artificially intelligent digital assistants will perform mundane tasks and even resolve issues on their own when possible. It seems like the workforce of the future may consist of two broad categories of workers: Those who tell software what to do, and those who are told what to do by software.
Will technology kill jobs and exacerbate inequality, or usher in a utopia of more meaningful work and healthier societies?
While it is impossible to know what tomorrow holds, research by global professional services company PwC explores four possible futures – or “worlds” – driven by the “mega trends” of technological breakthroughs, rapid urbanization, ageing populations, shifting global economic power, resource scarcity and climate change.
By 2025, roughly 75% of the global workforce will be millennials. The corporate cultures of most large organizations will be directly shaped by this generation’s habits and expectations. Providing an environment where people feel valued, independent and part of a team will be more important than ever.
While office perks and eccentric benefits were once considered a priority for millennials, recent data shows that other facets of work can matter more. A collaborative and inclusive workplace where groups of people regularly work together to solve problems and set strategies is one example. The physical manifestation of this could be an open office layout where colleagues interact easily and frequently.
Furthermore, in the future, some millennials expect today’s software tools to evolve into more intuitive devices, like the ones they use at home. For example, workplace devices that leverage voice control would make some jobs easier. Imagine an office where meetings don’t require written notes. It doesn’t seem that far off.