With growing opportunities to work remotely, change in values that are blurring the lines between “boss” and “employee”, and overall emphasis on teamwork and inclusiveness, in a way, the world is becoming smaller and closer. Fast forward to ten years from now and here’s six characteristics you may see in the future workplace:
In regards to the growing scare that robots and artificial intelligence will make human labor futile, Stephane Kasriel, CEO of Upwork, said, “I predict there will not be a shortage of jobs in the future, but rather a shortage of skills to fill the jobs.” People must be willing and proactive in learning the skills they need to adapt to a technology-driven workplace. This not only means developing a knowledge-base of the technology, but also the soft skills that cannot be provided by it.
2. Increased learning opportunities
To help with the development and maintenance of the upskilling required to be adaptable, more employers will offer continuing professional development opportunities. The education and skill development will be built into the company culture through coaching and mentorship. Dr. Steve Hunt even goes as far as to say that “Forcing someone to work full-time in a job that does not enable them to learn new skills may soon be viewed as labor exploitation since it is setting them up for eventual unemployability.”
3. Sense of team and community
There is a growing emphasis on “project-based” learning. This means that a purpose is defined and a team of workers, possibly of different skills sets and expertise, work together towards that purpose. The education curriculum in schools is shifting to incorporate project-based learning to reflect, adapt, and prepare for the shifts in the workplace. Additionally, as a way of developing a sense of community, the boundaries between various levels of management in a typical hierarchy will increasingly blur, such as in an arrangement called, “’weworking”.
4. External workers
According to a report from Upwork, by 2027, the majority of the workforce in the US will be made up of freelancers. With the rise of remote work, the search for newly needed skills, and the ease of online recruitment, more companies are developing a workforce of contractors to work alongside or replace their in-house staff.
5. Meaning and social engagement
The current and future generations are passionate about social causes. Many workplaces have started incorporating community volunteer hours as part of their culture. The future workplace will continue to see more companies provide employees opportunities to get engaged with their local communities and make a social impact.
6. Work life balance
A realization has struck that there is a correlation between an employee’s wellness and his productivity. Due to various factors, such as the rise of remote work, working moms, and aged employees who continue working beyond traditional retirement ages- all candidates who can provide excellent results if they are accommodated- more companies are willing to work with employees to ensure their health and well-being are catered to so they can be at their peak performance.
As societal values change so does the work culture. The workplace, in essence, is a reflection of society. Therefore, as we see changes in values, such as emphasis on freedom and flexibility and teamwork and inclusiveness, we will see those changes roll out in the workplace, as well. Companies should acknowledge that a happy, satisfied employee will bring the best results and be prepared to create a conducive environment. Employees will also realize that they will need to be in a constant mode of learning to keep up with ever-changing technology and due to an emphasis on teamwork and collaboration, they will also need to be sociable and cooperative. When both parties understand the paradigm shifts in the broader societal picture, and their respective roles in it, then they will be ready to embrace and thrive in the future world of work.