The Workplace of the Future – The New Work Environment

Robots. Automation. Artificial Intelligence. 

In any conversation about the future of work, you’ll hear those three terms. I’d hazard a guess that in most of our minds, we immediately visualise a bad sci-fi movie – I Robot or, heaven forbid, Terminator.

But the future of work isn’t all about robots. There’s a lot of human in the future. And probably – for us – just as well!

Given the changes that are predicted, it’s interesting to think about what the future workplace might look like – and we architect them for this very different future.

Changing Work Requirements Mean a More Mixed Group of People

In a nutshell, we can expect that the “traditional” workplace model is being shattered. What we know now won’t be “typical” in the future. We’re already seeing changes at the top end of town, large advisory firms and banks are loosening their hiring criteria – no longer looking for certain qualifications – instead they’re looking for the right people – ones who are problem solvers, innovators and critical thinkers. That means that workplaces will change from a people perspective, particularly around skill sets. Expect workplaces to have a variety of people both in age and in skills, rather than people who have traditionally been specialists working in team.

Mixing Machine Doing and Human Thinking

Moving forward, we also need to consider how people and automation will co-exist and work together. While the workplace will be very much technology driven, it will require human thinking – underlining the need for people who are empathic, able to build relationships and think critically. This means that workplaces will see even closer melding of human and machine relationships, and careers moving into the “feeling” space rather than the “doing” space. 

Training Becomes Part of the Job

With new skills being required and an already defined rising skills gap, we’ll see employers realise the need for ongoing training and a lot of it will be delivered as part of work. That means that employers will build continuous training grounds into their workplaces. 

The Trend Towards Flexibility Increases

The workplace will continue it’s trend towards flexibility – job seekers and employees are demanding it – so the workplace will increasing become have a “come and go” environment. In fact, the workplace will also include the home as we see the trend to telecommuting increase. 

Social Benefits To Be Part of the Job Mix

We also predict that there will be blurring of the lines between the economic and social benefits that an employer provides versus what we’ve expected in the past. Due to the rise of casualization and the more project based style of work, we might see employers offer their people social benefits like sponsored mortgages and loans – given that these have traditionally relied on long term employment. 

New Types of Jobs

There’s no doubt that technology will impact the style of workplaces we have too. While it’s now commonplace to have computers everywhere and technology powered business machines, technology will become more predictive and will be able to make decisions without human intervention, much like the way manufacturing plants have been re-engineered. But this will see the rise of workplace departments that have never existed before. Artificial intelligence-related jobs, such as monitoring bias tendencies that machines have, will become commonplace as will teams who look after cyber-security. 

While these changes are fairly much certain, what is uncertain is the extent to which changes we can’t anticipate will affect the workplace of the future. As Bill Gates famously said “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten.” While we don’t see any evidence that R2D2 or C3PO will become a fixture in the office in the next few years, who knows what the longer term will bring. 

Leave a Comment