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Workplaces of the Future

April 15, 2016 | Jennifer Goodwyn

Looking forward twenty years, the workplace will evolve into so much more than the office we know today. Cubicles will be replaced with more open spaces, offices will be filled with natural light, and there will plenty of seating where teams and groups can collaborate on projects and meet with other colleagues.  No longer constricted by the confines of the traditional cubicle, employees will be able to discuss projects more freely and therefore increase productivity. Because of the budding social club atmosphere of the office, employees will find themselves wanting to spend more time at the workplace, and will look at a day at the office as more of a treat than a chore.  

Virtual Reality

Technology used in the workplace will be equally as focused on collaboration and teamwork.  With so much of work being completed in virtual spaces, technology will be more important than ever to foster and maintain meaningful business relationships and connections between people even though they do not see them in the flesh every day.  Virtual reality, while now seen primarily as a tool for gamers and high end marketing campaigns will be making its way into the office as a replacement for video conferences.  

Using virtual reality video conferencing will not only provide extreme cost cutting as it dramatically reduces if not eliminates the need for travel, but it will also boost productivity and morale, as people will be able to experience the different branches of a company on a more personal level.

Focus on Balance

As more and more people get facetime with more and more of the company, the corporate power structure will begin to shift from one of dominance and aggression to one of comradery and guidance, which will also go a long way in boosting office morale and therefore increase the productivity of the average worker.  

Although the workplace will be a considerably more productive place, there will also be a stronger focus on balance.  Current generations already demand more amenities from the workplace and a greater focus on packages and perks such as health care, gym memberships, vacation packages, and a general respect for the limitations of the human calendar; so, we can expect in the next twenty years that these challenges will be met and exceeded by workplaces in the ever growing competition to keep younger talent on hand.

Nature of the Work

Additionally, there will be a shift in the nature of work. Employees will shift from having a specific job and staying at a company permanently, as we see so frequently now, to more consulting based work and employment for specific jobs rather than simply having a salaried position and sticking with one place for an extended period of time. This type of employment is made easier by the virtual workspace and the shift to more mobile and on the go work platforms and dynamics. 

More Diversity

Finally, the current push for a focus on diversity and inclusiveness will result in a much more representative workplace, with respectful hiring and more genuine understandings of different lifestyles, cultures, genders, and world views.  As comprehensive diversity hiring becomes standard in workplaces, there will emerge a new culture of appreciation for the necessity of diversity in the workplace.