Welcome to the New Era of Work
In today’s world, the global business landscape is rapidly changing every day. From upcoming workplace trends on the impact of artificial intelligence, technology has never been a more significant challenge – or offered such big opportunities for companies and workers. So, what does this new era of work look like?
Imagining the office of the future
Before the industrial revolution, success in the workplace was judged on tangible outcomes rather than the amount of time people spent working. As a result, static workplaces weren’t so prevalent in the past; in fact, many people’s work took place in their own home or across multiple different locations. As technology continues to advance at an exponential rate, this approach to work is beginning to resurface.
“Over the next decade, we’ll see the demise of the traditional office. In fact, workspaces are already becoming more fluid,” says Barnaby Lashbrooke, founder of virtual assistant platform Time etc. “Hot desking, remote working, working from home – these are all concepts that come under the flexible working umbrella. There’s a growing consensus that people perform well when they are trusted to manage their time and productivity. Technology and management will have to support this change.”
As the offices of previous generations of workers become obsolete, new solutions are appearing to replace them. In particular, coworking and shared office spaces have become much more widespread. Global workplace provider WeWork, for example, now has more than 110 locations and 80,000 members worldwide.
It’s not just startups either; big businesses are moving their operations to more flexible office arrangements too. KPMG, General Electric’s clean energy spinoff Current and Silicon Valley Bank are just a few that have transferred staff to new types of workspace over the past year.
“Flexible working practices – in terms of both time and location – will become the norm, rather than a privilege,” says Nigel Davies, founder of digital workplace software Claromentis. “Technology will have to evolve to facilitate this. There will be greater demand for intranet-based software that businesses can use to connect every person in the company.”
Artificial intelligence and the automation of jobs
While many are still issuing doomsday warnings about robots coming to take jobs away from humans, the reality is a little different. Automation doesn’t necessarily mean fewer jobs for humans and inferior quality of life but is likely to result in people taking on different and more meaningful roles in the workplace instead.
According to research by the World Economic Forum, the need for skilled workers will emerge in specialized fields such as nanotechnology and robotics over the coming years, as well as more broadly across science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. New types of salespeople will also be in demand, helping businesses with access to new markets and communicating products to customers effectively.