AI, the Gig Economy and the Virtual Office will reshape how we do business and if your company is still relying on top-down, military-style hierarchies, you’re doomed. Drawing on our vast intelligence network, we’ve gathered facts and gleaned inspiration to give you a picture of what’s next in the world of work. A seismic shift is coming, and you need to act now to keep your business viable. Otherwise, there won’t be anyone for HR to recruit and retain; there won’t be the jobs we enjoy today—and no one will be buying the products you make.
A CHANGE OF SPACE
Millennials have already shown they don’t want to work for dinosaurs that shove them into high-density, cube-stuffed buildings. Gen Z will demand even more flexibility in workstyles and sentient environments. But the changes in the workplace of tomorrow will go way beyond the physical space. Increasingly, AI and emotional surveillance tools will track productivity, job-match, and provide constant feedback loops to keep employees efficiency and satisfaction in top form. This is an expression of the 99 Lives Trend, in which technology speeds up and alters our daily life. Tools like Humanyze—trackers that evaluate how much time workers are spending solo, in meetings, or elsewhere, and how that impacts productivity—are just the start of this process.
DIVERSITY UP AND DOWN THE LADDER
Monocultures are history. If your middle management looks exactly the same - from similar backgrounds, schools and employment histories - you’re solidifying unquestionable bias, shutting out brilliance from unexplored quarters of society, and you will become rapidly stale, regurgitating tired ideas. Diversifying teams will unlock intelligence and forge ahead into the future. This is a major workplace trend you won’t want to miss.
FROM OFFICE SPACE TO THIRD SPACE
Gen Z is visually motivated so ensure that, if you have a homebase space, it’s a 24/7 scene. Work hours are expanding, morphing and social bonding rituals will become paramount in securing staff loyalties. No fixed desks; flexible pods, please, and a liberal policy about working remotely is a must. Sponsor a membership at a coworking space, and you’ll be golden: 22% of Millennials say they would be willing to work more hours and 82% would be more loyal to their employers if they had flexible work options. Increasingly, coworking spaces are becoming a way for young workers to connect with their squad—evidence of the Clanning Trend, in which belonging to a group validates one's belief system. Soon enough, working “off-campus” will be the norm, as tech platforms like Vntana and Mimesys already allow remote holographic collaboration.
AI will become part of the team, with Oxford University forecasting that up to 47% of U.S. workers would be automated out of their jobs In the next 15 years, with many of them being replaced by robots. Expect a rise in biohacking as humans try to stay competitive with machines and machine learning. Your workers will take cognitive enhancers—also known as nootropics or "smart drugs”—to enhance performance. Perhaps you’ll go a step further and provide these meds…or do what 3 Market Square did, and ask workers if they’d like a tiny chip to be implanted in their hand, to help them speed their way through their work days.
Tomorrow’s top employers will also recognize how intensely stressed their workers are (anxiety has recently soared to the top mental-health issue on college campuses, and those students will soon be your workers). Provide mindfulness training for stress reduction or AI “buddies” as virtual coaches to keep everyone motivated, relaxed and rewarded.
To recruit and retain the employees of tomorrow, you’ll need to overhaul your benefits packages. Take a look at real-life concerns and alleviate anxiety through picking up the slack on paid parental leave, egg-freezing, and relatives’ cancer care. Nurture entrepreneurial passion projects and set up student loan early-repayment schedules—the most enticing new lure to get young people to join big corporations.
These are just a few of the trends we’re forecasting to take your company, and brand, into the future of work. There’s a vast generational attitudinal shift happening about how we spend our waking hours - be ready to embrace these new flexible, increasingly freelance, smart workers and forge ahead in the competitive stakes to success. Also recognize that AI is arriving and won’t ever leave us. Get on board early to deal with both its integration and ramifications.