As you can imagine, fifteen to twenty years back, the workplace environment was not anything close to what we have today. See, even though computers were already being used, technology adoption in the office was quite insignificant. Case in point, there were no touch screen devices, no smartphones, and online professional networking was still a distant dream, if not at its infancy. And when it comes to robots, the best the workplace of the past could offer was a rudimentary machine, incapable of today’s sophisticated functions and processes.
But even with that said, the modern-day workplace differs from that of the past in many other ways. For instance, there are more women in the workplace today, thanks to efforts aimed at boosting gender diversity in companies and other organizations. Already, significant gains have been made in social work, where women now make up 82% of all professionals.
Today’s workplace also differs from that of the past int that it presents more dignified work, more freedom to negotiate job contracts, better on-the-job education opportunities, among other impressive benefits.
With that being said, just as there are differences between the workplace of the past and that of the present, we can certainly count on notable differences between today’s workplace and tomorrow’s. In this article, we examine the workplace trends that are sure to draw the lines between employment today and in the future.
The Rise of Self-Employment and Freelancing
Going into the future, we can expect a significant drop in the number of permanent contracts, thanks to the ever-rising number of self-employed and freelancer workers. According to a report by the Pew Research Center, three-in-ten occupations in America are held by self-employed people and the workers under them.
As the future dawns steadily by the day, we can expect the number of self-employed workers and freelancers to rise, thanks to the allure of the flexibility provided by these gigs. This claim is supported by a recent report by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to this report, self-employed people are expected to hit 10.3 million by 2026, up from 9.6 million in 2016. This rise translates to a 7.9-percent growth rate.
Adoption of Functional Artificial Intelligence
AI in the workplace is an issue that gains attention with each passing day. Already, this tech has proven to increase productivity at workplace. According to an Accenture report, AI is projected to increase labor productivity by up to 40%, enabling workers to make efficient use of the time on their hands. And while many people opine that AI is here to replace humans, so far, this tech has created more jobs than destroyed. It has introduced new sources of growth, and by 2035, it will be in a position to double annual economic growth rates.
What occupations will AI create? Here are some of the hyped AI and machine learning jobs already making waves.
Office-Less Companies and Remote Workers
Thanks to the ever-changing face of technology, we can count on the steady increase of digital nomads and telecommuters. Technologies such as cloud storage, VPN, videoconferencing, and messaging applications will continue disrupting the workplace, making it possible for workplaces to exist outside of physical premises. Already, this has been pioneered by firms such as Buffer and Basecamp, which do not have headquarters. Instead, they only have remote workers.
As we head into the future, firms will continue challenging traditional organizational strategies and departmental structures. All this is in a bid to foster non-hierarchical management that favors collaboration, flexibility, and creativity among employees. This form of leadership achieves this easily since it eliminates senior figures at work, who, at times, hinder workers from attaining their full potential. Nonetheless, note that organizations with non-hierarchical management are not totally devoid of leadership. Instead, they have way fewer levels of management need to be involved in decision making when compared to typical companies.
Companies will continue embracing practices aimed at prioritizing the needs of the employee. It is essential to do this if a business is to navigate the workplace of the future. Already, the employment world has started welcoming concepts and ideas aimed at empowering workers, giving them the freedom to work according to their capabilities.
With the empowering of employees inevitable in the future workplace, we can expect people to work without the fear of losing their occupations out of the blue. Furthermore, there’ll be a reduction in what many workers call “undignified” responsibilities at work, especially since the adoption AI will address such tasks. On a related note, here is how to survive a job search in the age of AI.
The IoT has changed people’s abodes and offices, particularly in the last five years. Going into the future, we can expect more extensive interaction with IoT/ data-driven offices which assist organization executives in leveraging the operational space that is necessary. So, by working with only so much space to allow for daily functions, companies will boost productivity, efficiency, and sustainability.
Companies will continue to opt for sizeable office spaces, where workers will meet and work together on various projects occasionally. As such, there will be no need for employees to be allocated several rows of work areas in big offices.
Come 2030; we can expect the occupancy rates of physical offices to reduce significantly. Apart from that, we can count on more flexible work styles that call for sizeable offices where workers report to when there is a need.
New Types of Professions
While many people fear that technological advancements that will be realized in the coming days will take up their occupations, the opposite is true. Case in point, according to an article in Forbes, AI alone will create 133 million occupations by 2022. And when we consider the fact that there are many other emerging technologies and developments in the world of employment, it is safe to conclude that there are bound to be many more roles for people.
Going back to technologies, some of the trends that will create occupations for people include the IoT, cybersecurity, robotics, self-driving cars, programming, social media, and so forth.
While companies across the planet have embraced digitization, many organizational leaders are beginning to realize that digitizing everything is not the way forward. There’s a need to adopt this approach in specific scenarios and for particular firms. Case in point, while digitization has proven to be an excellent way of storing information, there are still cases when paper documents rule the day. Medical practitioners have been increasingly leaning back to writing physical reports, records, and prescriptions since they yield way higher attendance rates.
In light of such occurrences, we can expect that while people will continue embracing digitization, there will always be a need to assess the existing situation first. Consequently, we can count on the continued demand for commercial and industrial printing services, at least up to 2030.
Universal Basic Income
While the premise of getting money without having to work a single day in your life seems like the best idea ever, it is important to understand that this concept extends way beyond that. The administrations of different countries have been considering this approach since it ensures that people live quality lives. Moreover, it helps address underlying social issues such as disease, poverty, famine, and so forth.
These are some of the notable trends we can look forward to in the world of employment. While each is distinct from the other, all serve to make the workplace environment better for us. Do you have an idea about other trends that will impact the future workplace? Feel free to share your thoughts below.