1. Artificial Intelligence will transform the jobs we do and how we do them.
Virtual and robotic contributors have the potential to boost operational excellence in many industries–rapidly analyzing vast troves of data, facilitating evidence-based strategic decisions, and taking over repetitive routine tasks to free humans up to create.
The trick lies in implementing AI productively to support the creative work that can’t be outsourced to a machine.
2. Virtual and Augmented Reality in the Workplace
Virtual Reality (VR) has mostly been relegated to the entertainment sphere, but its potential uses for immersive training and data-visualization offers exciting possibilities – imagine walking through a virtual building before it is built or being able to treat a patient for fear of heights without the liability of taking them to the top of a skyscraper.
Augmented reality (AR) brings two worlds together adding virtual elements into the physical world that have applications far broader than the Pokemon Go craze. It can simulate face-to-face meetings for participants who are around the globe or allow access to just-in-time information anytime, anywhere, allowing an unparalleled level of engagement.
3. Learning is the new working.
1% of jobs created each year did not exist the year before. By 2029, 10% of all jobs do not exist today.
While not every job will be replaced by AI, many will require some adaptation. Current studies show 50% of companies are willing to retrain a significant portion of their workforce.
Being able to learn and apply a new skill, will be critical to success. Encouraging employees to focus on learning new skills will take up more of the work day.
To accommodate more learning, workplaces might look more like classrooms or creative play zones than rigid office space.
4. Compression fatigue.
Over the past decade, office space has become more dense, less segmented, and more collaborative, in many cases shrinking down to only 100 square feet per employee.
Maybe we have reached the limit of how many people we can assign to an office and compression will stabilize or trend in the opposite direction.
Whether that trend remains at current levels or reverses with companies expanding office footprints, the new mix of space that has emerged through years of compression has become the new standard.
5. Co-working is here to stay.
The rise in co-working's popularity has brought it into the mainstream as part of nearly every real estate strategy.
Bringing people together in new spaces is driving nearby retail foot traffic and accelerating the adoption of technologies that allow professional interactions from disparate locales.
If co-working wasn't part of your strategy in 2018, you bet it will be in 2019!
6. Experiences over possessions.
There is cultural shift towards valuing experiences over stuff.
This trend is seen in the increase in travel and dining, the attractiveness of living downtown, and the rise of the sharing economy.
Employers are responding to this value shift by offering schedule and location flexibility to employees and incorporating experiences into office amenities.
This could play out by trading an experience in the building or space, like a high-end coffee bar or golf simulator, to be more valuable to employees than owning an assigned seat or office.
7. Home away from home.
A new IKEA study shows that people are feeling less "at home" in their homes and more "at home" in their car or elsewhere.
Perhaps this stems from the recent adoption of residential design elements (cozy, comfort, and color) in workplace interiors.
Moving away from utilitarian and minimalist design, many companies are bringing upholstered chairs, indirect lighting, and occasional tables into communal spaces to foster comfortable collaboration and offer employees the warmth and coziness they aren’t feeling at home. Expect this trend to continue and our workspaces to get even homier.
8. Personal device integration.
As more people adopt smart speakers and appliances in their homes, similar technologies are making their way into the office as well.
Company-branded apps can become a one-stop shop to support the workplace experience – allowing employees to reserve a parking spot, locate an open conference room, log an IT ticket, or update HR information from within the same portal.
Ubiquitous devices may enable new integration as well—automatically pulling up meeting information or dialing into a video conference as you enter the room, helping you navigate when you’re visiting a new office campus, or updating headcounts for office events based on how many phones are in proximity.
With these possibilities come potential pitfalls as well, requiring conscious attention to privacy concerns and balancing convenience with important security precautions.