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5 ways work culture will change in the next decade

The way we work will look very different in ten years’ time. <em>(Photo: Getty)</em>
The way we work will look very different in ten years’ time. (Photo: Getty)

The way people work these days is essentially unrecognisable from the days of their parents’ generation.

Gone are the days that employees would be perfectly content with a 9-5 job at the same company on the same salary over years and decades.

Several shifts are happening at the same time to change the nature of work. A new, younger generation of workers is entering the workforce, and they’re bringing with them their environmental and social values and an expectation of benefits like flexible work.

At the same time, successful tech companies like Apple, Amazon and our homegrown Atlassian are putting the spotlight on their quirky workspaces and work culture, and rapidly evolving tech means the demand to attract and retain talent has never been so cut-throat.

On the flipside, the maturity of artificial intelligence and automation technology has seen workers fear for their job stability.

But employees are finding ways to combat this already, turning to the gig economy to supplement their income and finding ways to stay relevant.

Here’s a glimpse of what the world of work might look like by 2030, according to FastCompany:

1. Teams will be more colourful than ever

Increasingly, organisations are forced to cast their net wider than ever before. This will see HR departments take steps to facilitate a more inclusive, harmonious work culture to accommodate for more diverse workforces as employees may come from different backgrounds or have disabilities.

Virtual reality and gamification is also being utilised to help employees and leaders alike better understand the underlying biases they have, and to challenge them to think differently and work more cohesively together to fix problems.

2. Good communication skills will decline

There are two things to blame for this. Firstly, technology is getting in the way, and it’s playing out in the fact that we’re more willing to text, message or email someone than speak to them in person – even if you’re sitting right by them. Plus there are advances in virtual reality, which are seeing customer service desks slowly replaced.

The second is open-plan offices: rather than facilitating more collaboration, the hubbub is proving disruptive to workflow and forcing people to turn to noise-cancelling headphones, cutting off interpersonal modes of communication.

Good communicators in the future will be masters of several multimedia platforms, according to Jeanne Meister, the founding partner of HR advisory firm Future Workplace.

3. Customers will be less trusting

Employers will have more data about employees and their productivity and work patterns – but such access will spark concerns for privacy and trust, HR consulting firm and Wayne State University academic Steve Weingarden told FastCompany.

First of all, data will need to be analysed and checked for its accuracy, and then employers will have to do everything they can to ensure they’re trusted by their employees to safeguard their data. Doing this will require transparency.

4. Upskilling is the name of the game

Workers will need to act fast if they want to stay relevant in a world where automation and AI is automating rote tasks. In such an environment, employees and employers will both have to act: workers will have to go out of their way to add or strengthen skills to their inventory, and HR officers will need to assure talented employees that they’re valued.

According to the World Economic Forum, critical, creative, analytic, design and communication skills will be in high demand in three years, while manual labour skills and skills such as financial management or technological maintenance will be on the decline.

Keen to upskill, but not sure where to start? Warren Buffett reckons this one skill will increase your worth by 50 per cent.

5. Private workspaces will make a comeback

Architects and designers are learning from the lessons of poorly planned open-plan office spaces. Instead, flexible and thoughtfully designed workplaces will see private spaces that will facilitate concentration and ‘deep work’.

The workspaces will be ‘smart’, too, with lighting, noise levels, temperature levels all adjustable for employee comfort. Beautiful workspaces could also attract remote workers back to the workplace, too, as companies double down on collaboration and relationship-building.

Used properly, technology doesn’t have to drive people apart, but bring them together in a way that creates deeper connection.

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