Posted on: Wednesday May 16, 2018
A few insights into the changing workplace.
Predicting the future has never been an easy job. It seems to have been much easier for science fiction writers than academics; it was Arthur C Clarke who predicted GPS; Gene Roddenberry who brought tablet computers to Star Trek, and HG Wells described wireless telephones in The Shape of Things to Come.
However, of all the areas of futurology, ‘work’ has been hardest to predict. For example; fifties polymath Herbert Simon wrote: “Machines will be capable, within 20 years, of doing any work a man can do.” And cognitive scientist Marvin Minsky said: “Within a generation the problem of creating AI (Artificial Intelligence) will substantially be solved.” These predictions have fortunately (or unfortunately depending on your stance) not yet come to pass.
But what will the world of work look like in 2060? And how will this affect the methods we use to recruit, engage and retain staff?
The Three-Day Week
In 1972 Geoffrey Hoyle, in his book 2010: Living in the Future, saw a world dominated by leisure, with just a three-day week to interfere with this. But it is simply the location work that is changing, as employees seem to be working more hours per week, often using their free time to catch up, check emails or finish their work.
Flexible and remote working has seen a huge increase in popularity in recent years, with 35% of employees saying that they would change jobs for the ability to work remotely full time, and 24% saying they would do so for the opportunity of part-time remote working.
With these stats in mind, the 2060 workplace is likely more dispersed, with much of the workforce working remotely or choosing flexible hours meaning there will be little reason for the traditional office environment.
An Aging Workforce
Graeme Codrington, disruptive futurist at TomorrowToday is ‘convinced that in the next 50 years living to 120-140 will be normal. He believes that ‘what motivates this cohort won’t be money, or training, but flexibility or healthcare.’
It has been projected that by mid-2039 the number of people aged 75 and over will rise by 89.3%, which means that our current multigenerational work environment will continue. The implications are two-fold, there will be an increase in demand for healthcare related workers to help aid this aging workforce as well as an increasing demand for healthcare and wellbeing related benefits for staff working across all industries.
There will be a huge shift in how people view career progression and company reward systems will have to work out how to motivate and engage staff in a world where moving up the traditional corporate ladder is becoming extinct. By 2060 it’s entirely more likely we’ll see someone becoming a CEO aged 35 because that’s the job that best suits their energy and creativity at that moment in their life, but by 40, or 50 they’re doing administration because it offers the flexibility and opportunity to work remotely.
People will have multiple careers during their working life and will be more open to complete career switches. Rohit Talwar, a global futurist, entrepreneur and specialist advisor on business transformation, predicted that today’s school children will likely be working until the age of 100, will have as many as 40 different jobs and move through 10 different careers. Companies will have to work out how to ‘buy exclusivity’, something which could be achieved by the implementation of voluntary benefits that suit each employee at that particular moment in their life. HR will need to entice workers to stay loyal to the organisation, or risk losing them.
As Angus Knowles Cutler, research partner and senior partner Deloitte says: “What’s is still to be written is the extent to which new jobs will be needed. […] tasks that took […] twelve hours can now be done in 40 minutes by […] graduates.” However, this doesn’t mean that companies will need to recruit fewer staff, as an increase in technology leads to an increased need for those able to understand and interpret the results.
If you’re looking to future proof your benefits in the present, check out our benefits audit checklist or get in touch with us today to discuss how we can help you embrace the technology and change that the future will bring.