Globalisation, diversity, an aging workforce and changes in technology are just some of the many changes that have already affected the way we work. In this article we take a look at what the workplace of the future may look like.
There have been many studies on productivity and work patterns. Alex Bryson and John Forth, from the London School of Economics, looked at how productivity at work varied depending on the day of the week and there is much in the recent press about the negative impact of night working on our ability to think logically. There are, however, three factors that affect how we all work. These are:
1. Workplaces are already moving towards an environment where cross-functional team working is the norm with staff routinely working across a number of teams and projects simultaneously.
2. Women are increasingly taking on more senior roles and this is having an influence on the office culture, which as a result is becoming more empathic, flexible, open and collaborative.
3. Changes in the way new businesses ideas are funded (such as crowd funding) mean that everyone now has the opportunity to transform their ideas into a business venture.
The Impact of these three drivers on the work place of the future will be:
1. Initiatives that increase flexibility will become more widely used. Hot-desking and matrix management will be routine business practices.
2. Empathy workshops will become a compulsory part of every employees induction. Managers and staff will receive regular training on communication skills and relationship skills in order to foster team work and promote openness in the work place.
3. Innovation sabbaticals will be provided to high-achieving workers so that these employees (who work best when given a degree of self-determination) can take time out from their day to day job and spend time developing their own pet work-based projects. The company will provide them with the emotional and financial support to do this.
4. All forms of competition will be discouraged and companies will instead reward people for collaboration and networking.
OK, so this article on what the workplace may become is “tongue-in-cheek” but the drivers are really out there and whilst I can not predict what the workplace of the future will be like, I can be certain that it will be very different to the workplace of today!