Ever Wonder How the Work Environment of the Future Will Look Like? These Experts Do.
See what changes the future might bring.
“The definition of an employee is on the cusp of a transformation”. (Intel Corporation Study, 2012). Flexibility regarding working hours, global employees, and the development of technology will surely have a strong impact on the working environment as we know it.
A PwC study about the future of the working environment found a number of trends that will transform the way people work over the next 5 to 10 years. These are: technology breakthroughs, resource scarcity, climate change, shifts in global economic power and in demographics and rapid urbanization.
These trends will make physical travel even more time-consuming and expensive than it is now. Big urban areas will be challenged by the huge increase in population, and the infrastructure cannot keep up with this pace. Together with environmental concerns, this represents a call for a dramatic change in the way people work.
In other words, the physical shared space we are used to might soon be outdated. This will be replaced by video conferences, online sharing platforms or internal social media. As more and more companies will switch from their permanent employees to external, project-based workers, the need for travel will be even higher than it is now, and this signifies a huge increase in costs. To avoid this, they will start using technology instead.
Of course, this development will bring its own set of challenges, as Karalyn Brown from InterviewIQ points out. Local employees may feel threatened by the online workers, while the latter may feel less connected to the team. A good manager needs to work on keeping the employees motivated and loyal.
In their study of 480 HR professionals from around the globe, PwC revealed that 46% of them expect at least 20% of their workforce to be made up of contractors or temporary workers by 2022. In addition, there are some HR experts, like Matthew Redwood, from NGA HR, predicting the revolutionary impact of technology in their field. Moving HR services into the cloud is expected to save the companies both time and money and, at the same time, help employees be compliant without spending time in an office.
Another important change brought by the rise of technology is the development of new machinery and robots that will slowly take over many jobs previously performed by humans. This will increase productivity and speed, bringing about great changes in the work environment.
What is then in the future for us humans? More than being knowledge-based, we need to focus on human-skills, like relationship building, creative thinking and problem solving. While robots can perform task with a very low error margin, and the information is often just a click away, the way we think will become much more important than what we know.
As the world is in continuous change, many jobs in the future will be involving tasks we don’t even know about now. The most important characteristic of the new employee will be that of learning new skills. Constant development, keeping up with technology and successfully complementing it will become very important in the following years.
Flexibilityin the workplace is something most of the experts we consulted with agreed is a must in the future. Although some companies are already implementing this trend, offering their employees the option of remote work, not all of them are embracing this change.
As the teams become more international, working remotely might become ‘the new black’. As mentioned above, technology can already enable this type of communication across the globe, and as more and more people will embrace it, we will witness an increase in the number of employees working whenever it suits their schedule.
This will bring great value for the personal lives of employees worldwide, as it will lead to more flexibility around the house, balancing gender roles and making it easier to share household chores among household members.
Another interesting development some experts mentioned is the shift towards a results-oriented job environment.
On the one hand, various research studies have concluded that productivity levels increase when working from home, as people are less often interrupted and they can better focus on the tasks. Moreover, no commuting time decreases stress and costs.
On the other hand, as more and more people will be working flexible hours, it will become more difficult to monitor their activity and efficiency. In order to make sure the results an employer pays for are delivered, we may start noticing a shift from hourly pay-checks to results-oriented salaries. As flexibility increases, an employee will not be required to spend 8 h per day in front of his/her laptop, but it is likely he/she will be rewarded based on what they deliver.
The chance to take control of their career, what they do and when, is what 29% of people around the world most want from a job.(Pwc study) It seems that the results-driven work environment is starting to appeal to more and more people, as independence is becoming a prerequisite for productivity. It seems like a victory on both sides. Employees are happy to take control over their work, they feel motivated and they become more productive. Companies see their goals being accomplished and they also contribute to the social welfare of their employees. And, in the end, this is what companies should care about most: creating a ‘happy’ environment.
Article created by: Oana & Diana