What will the workplace look like in 2026?The way we work has changed significantly in the past 10 years. In 2006 few people had smartphones and people were much more tied to traditional, physical workplaces. So what will happen in the next 10 years? We take a look at what the workplace could look like in 2026.
As property costs rise and technology makes remote working easier, work will increasingly be something we do, rather than somewhere we go. Research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development showed that 70 per cent of managers believe it will be the main way of working by 2020.1
The internet of things
We are already surrounded by intelligent, data-driven devices that help us with many aspects of work, bur smartphones, tablets and wearable technology are just the beginning. We’re set to see digitally connected technology controlling a lot more of our working environments, from security and meeting room booking to climate control and even ordering supplies for the office kitchen.
To help connect an increasingly flexible workforce, we’ll continue to see improvements in video communication tools. Telepresence robots are already here, allowing people such as consultants, experts or team leaders to move around a space and interact virtually wherever they might be located.
Goldman Sachs predicts that VR will be an $80 million market by 2025 2, and applications in the workplace are sure to follow. Virtual workspaces could allow a geographically distributed team to collaborate in the same way they would if they were sitting around the same boardroom table or bank of desks.
Expectations of millennial workers
According to a PwC report, by 2020, those born between 1980 and 2000 will make up 50 per cent of the global workforce. The research found that ‘digital native’ generation, which grew up with smartphones and social media, tend to be uncomfortable with rigid corporate structures, are turned off by information silos and want regular feedback and encouragement. This will have a major impact on the management styles required from leaders.
Rewards, recognition and healthy competition are powerful motivators in the workforce. As employers introduce systems to automate the process and make it fair and efficient, working lives for many people will begin to feel more akin to computer games.
To some, AI may still sound like science fiction. But from email spam filtering and search predictions to weather reports and voice recognition technology, most of us are now benefitting from it every day. In the workplace, machine learning has the potential to automate a huge number of tasks. In fact, about 35 per cent of current jobs in the UK are at high risk of computerisation over the following 20 years, according to a study by researchers at Oxford University and Deloitte3.