The Future of Work: Predictions & Trends

September 20, 2022 Mihaela Lica Butler

How do you imagine the workplace of the future? Will we still follow the traditional nine-to-five, 5 days a week pattern, or will we adopt the four-day-week model? Perhaps remote or hybrid working will become the norm. Will machines replace human talent in the workplace?

To answer the last question, the following are some eye-opening predictions from Dell Technologies:

  • By 2030, 67% of business leaders expect human and machine partnerships to create more equitable and inclusive workplaces by evaluating candidates based on their capabilities rather than gender, age, etc.
  • 86% of business leaders will implement emerging technologies to improve workplace productivity.
  • 70% of business leaders will embrace AI to augment human capabilities. As a result, AI-fluency will be a mandatory skill for the worker of the future.

According to Dell Technologies, "Human-machine partnerships will power the future of work if humans lead with caution."

Still, the relationship between humans and machines is not the only thing shaping the future of work.

"We're only going to get things done if we have the right people, the right talent in the right functions with the right goals," says Stephane Kasriel, Chief Executive Officer, Upwork.

Per "The Future Chief People Officer: Imagine. Invent. Ignite." paper by SHRM, the global talent shortage will lead to the displacement of circa 75 million jobs by the end of 2022. On the other hand, technological advances and new ways of working will create 133 million new roles worldwide, and "85 percent of jobs that will exist in 2030 have not been invented yet." These predictions may be conflicting but are indicative of new realities that will influence the future of work.

We already know that employees favour flexible working hours over other incentives. The nine-to-five schedule no longer holds in 2022. Will the working week get shorter too? There is a high likelihood it will as employees seek a better work/life balance for improved mental health and lesser burnout issues.

Employee burnout is a global concern, according to research conducted by Deloitte. For example, 91% of employees say unmanageable stress impacts the quality of their work, while 83% blame burnout for low-quality work and even issues in their relationships. Also, burnout and stress cause close to 120,000 deaths a year worldwide and $190 billion worth of healthcare costs: you can expect employers to take active steps to prevent these issues in the future. Workforce wellbeing will become normative in all fields of activity.

Employees will also favour recognition more than other incentives. As the Achievers Workforce Institute reveals in the 2022 State of Recognition Report, recognition is one of the top three reasons people stay in their jobs. Moreover, integrating purpose and recognizing individual contributions will help many organizations thrive in the future.

The Future of Work - 2022 State of Recognition Report

Credit: Achievers Workforce Institute

With greater flexibility in time management, it is only logical for employers to allow and enable location flexibility. As a result, the coworking space industry will thrive to accommodate remote workers while also offering significant benefits to employers. Platforms like Book a Space, where people can find office and meeting spaces to rent per hour or long-term, will become indispensable. Venue owners (hotels, restaurants, and even shops) will use such smart digital platforms to generate ancillary revenues from areas and slots that would otherwise remain unused.

Companies must adapt to change quickly to attract talent in the future. As a result, workforce planning will become a mainstream field within HR departments: the discipline will assist organizations in identifying the types of workers best fit for a position. Some workforce planning strategies include:

  • Hire tech-savvy staff: most employers will hire people with basic concepts of AI and related technological skills. Alternatively, they will train their staff to stay current with tech trends that are critical in a future-oriented work environment.
  • Employers will adopt emerging technologies and adapt to new business realities. Identify the right technology to improve productivity and lessen the stress and burdens of daily routines.
  • They will keep employees engaged and motivated while supporting creativity and encouraging a better work-life balance.
  • The employers of the future will perform regular job audits to understand employees' pain points, performance, and other issues. Then, take proactive steps to improve working conditions and employee wellbeing. 73% of employees want an organization to promote healthy lifestyles and wellbeing (JLL).
  • They will promote a corporate culture that values individual recognition and rewards employees accordingly. In addition, they will also retain talent through incentives, training, etc.
  • In the future, employers will offer staff opportunities for personal growth, training, talent development, promotions, and so on.
  • They will agree to a flexible work schedule where possible. 82% of employers already expect staff to work remotely in the future, and 88% want to choose their working hours (JLL).
  • And finally, they will offer equal, non-gender, or age-biased pay.

These are just some of the issues that will shape the future of work. Many companies are already workforce planning along these guidelines.

"By seeing the trends shaping the future of work, organisations can be more confident in creating the right strategy for their business and the workforce they depend on," said Mark Caskey, Work Dynamics CEO, EMEA - JLL.