The way in which we work has made notable changes in recent years, but maybe the biggest changes are yet to come.
We have all seen the rise of the computer within the workplace, never has the direct replacement of a human been more mainstream than at the supermarket checkout. But have we been fooled… is it the case that staff have been replaced, or simply that as the customer we are expected to become the staff ourselves. Loading, scanning and packing are not automatic – in fact for the most part the process is the same as it always has been.
That said artificial intelligence and the rise of the super computer is always upon us, assisting in our day to day roles, after all it does not seem that long ago that the suggestion of a voice activated mobile phone would have been laughed out of the room. Certainly we anticipate the intelligence to grow and the reliance on us, as humans to diminish. Whether it puts us out of a job, or simply allows us to perform our work more effectively remains to be seen.
Health conscious companies
Companies are finally getting wise to the fact that happy staff make for a more productive workplace. Ergonomic office furniture and adjustable desks are just the beginning to ensure you are comfortable. Free fruit, time for social activities within the working day and work exercise schemes have all seen a rise. What does the near future hold, a gym membership within your work benefits and time given to attend seem likely options. Free health trackers for employees are also on the increase – but maybe this seems a little too much like big brother is watching you?
Being able to work when and how it suits you is the key to future working. With an expanding network of freelancers, more and more companies are outsourcing work to those who work for themselves. Whether it is from their own homes or a collaborative office space, fewer people are facing the daily commute. Flexible hours are a huge benefit to those with children or other commitment and companies have been encouraged to embrace this. For those that do still travel to the office on a daily basis, active work stations have seen a rapid increase in popularity. Work desks that transform at the touch of a button for a height suitable to sit at, to a standing position. Sit stand desks and flexibility promotes innovation and that is exactly what is needed as we look forward.
With the downturn of newspaper sales and circulation, the rise of new media continues. What will be the next big social media craze and what will be its focus? The world is still stuck on the selfie, but for how much longer can that sustain its grasp. Certainly the trend for online media continues to grow and will take us into the future, leaving paper copies of media in its wake.
One thing is for certain, to stay one step of the game seems key. The new generation are being encouraged to learn to code and understand the digital world, but with the retirement age increasing, maybe getting a grasp of the future of work shouldn’t just be left to the young ones?