Social change and the future of work.

Workplace technologies are evolving at a rapid pace. Emerging technologies allow people to work smarter and be more productive. These include:

  • AI (Artificial Intelligence)
  • Wearable Technology
  • Smarter Phones
  • The Internet of things (IoT)
  • The Internet of People (Wearable Technology)
  • Video Conferencing

To fully take advantage of new technology, businesses need to start thinking about how they will be working in the future.   

Fujitsu, in tandem with Microsoft, Citrix and PAC have commissioned a report on key trends that are impacting on the future of work. One of the key areas investigated was social change and the shift towards flexible working. 

Flexible Working

By the year 2025, workplace allegiances are expected to shift from the traditional employer model to a looser gig economy, where there is a mixture of freelancers and permanent employees within organisations. The report predicts that by  "more than half of the workforce in major economies will be working in a freelance capacity by 2025" and that "more than one-third of organisations will have more than 50% of staff working remotely".

One of the key things that millennials look for in employers is the potential for work-life balance. Employers that recognise this, and create systems that enable workplace flexibility will have far greater success at attracting and retaining top talent than companies who don't. 

The transition towards flexible working can be made smoother through:

  • Digital talent management platforms that help with recruiting top talent. 
  • Rewarding and recognising employees based on outcomes, not the length of time they have been in a position for a set length of time.
  • Having the IT infrastructure in place that allows for remote, real-time collaboration and access to key business data. 

Transforming Workspaces

Flexible working also brings with it changing corporate real estate demands. Our offices will be smaller, especially in government and professional services firms. Surprisingly,  the physical workplace becomes more important than ever before, despite being smaller. 

This is due to a need for organisations needing to do more with less. These smaller workplaces will need to be modular and flexible enough to accommodate the needs of various workers and departments.  Gig based workers need spaces fit for rapid collaboration, and this can be enhanced through technology including:

  • Projection based technology that turns any surface into an interactive screen.
  • Biophilic design (bringing nature into the workplace) which can increase cognition by 26% and reduce employee sick days by as much as 30% (Harvard Business Review)
  • Technology that delivers communications at the optimal time, allowing employees to be less distracted and more productive for chunks of high intensity focused working. 

Employee Experience

Forward-thinking organisations will be focusing on the holistic employee experience, which takes into account:

  • HR - Staff/ Onboarding/ Training
  • Management - Performance/ Career Path
  • Workplace Environment - Wellness and Fitness

For this to happen, workplaces can no longer afford to be siloed, and disciplines like HR, Facilities Management and IT need to be in constant communication with each other. 

The full report looks into other trends including Technology Change, Environmental Change, Business & Industry Change and Demographic Change. You can read the full report here.