The future of work trends looks promising: Staff, managers, executives and the companies they serve will benefit from both emerging technologies and a greater emphasis on personal health and well-being. But reaping the fullest rewards of these benefits will require a balance.
Artificial intelligence as seen in large language models such as ChatGPT will increase productivity, but lightening the workload on employees doesn’t make wellness obsolete. Likewise, companies will be greener, more diverse and decentralized, but that may not happen without ambitious upskilling. Let’s look at seven major future of work trends set to accelerate over the next 10 years.
1. The future of work will include rapid AI integration.
Integration of recent AI tech advances in the workplace has just begun. From biological and chemical industries to marketing endeavors such as graphic design and marketing, AI has the potential to continue to enhance the workplace by adding value through increased efficiency and productivity.
Still, the developments bring concerns for some. Employees in traditional industries such as customer service are concerned about job displacement. A widely-cited report by Goldman Sachs indicates that as many as 300 million full-time jobs globally could be affected by job modification or loss. For instance, Wendy’s has begun testing utilizing Google Cloud-developed chatbots for drive-thru orders. Some analysts, however, see AI as enhancing rather than displacing customer service positions.
2. Expect greater emphasis on upskilling and reskilling.
As emergent AI technology changes to the way we work, employees will need to learn new skills to maintain productivity for their employers while finding fulfillment for themselves. This will require a positive growth mindset and a commitment to constant, never-ending improvement.
But the responsibility will not lie entirely with employees. Top companies must consider including upskilling and reskilling programs to help their organizations and employees thrive. With some people even questioning whether college is worth the cost, companies may look at other means of workforce development to meet their evolving needs, including apprenticeships, expanded public-private partnerships and tuition assistance or reimbursement programs.
3. Remote and hybrid work models will remain resilient in the future.
COVID-19 led to a heightened adoption of remote work in 2020. Today, however, many major companies have begun requiring employees to return to the office. Still, hybrid and remote work remain a positive sentiment among employees. In fact, 98% of remote workers “would like to work remotely, at least some of the time, for the rest of their careers,” according to Buffer’s 2023 “State Of Remote Work” report. Rather than see this development as a conflict, consider it an opportunity.
Remote work provides too many benefits to ignore. Hybrid models allow for reduced and/or redesigned office spaces. Remote workers also offer greater regional diversity and choice in hiring. Teletherapy may be revolutionizing patient care, and remote technologies such as virtual reality and augmented reality will further enhance remote collaboration.
4. Forward-looking companies will emphasize employee mental health and well-being.
The future of work is not all technical. The careful balancing act companies face depends on a company’s focus on its employees’ health and well-being. For instance, employee retention challenges will require emphasis on a healthy work-life balance. Greater productivity relies on putting the well-being of employees first.
Sadly, at some levels, the need to improve workplace health and well-being can be critical rather than simply beneficial. Workplace violence, substance misuse and rates of suicide each have the potential to create traumatic disruptions in the work and personal lives of employees. At a more routine level, physical and mental health challenges lead to higher medical costs, absenteeism and poorer overall performance. For overall job satisfaction, health and well-being programs will play an increasing role in the future of work.
5. Work environments will continue to grow in diversity.
Companies and other institutions will further expand their role in fostering more inclusive work environments. This will come in part through efforts to bring more diversity, equity and inclusion to the workplace, the benefits of which include greater employee creativity and innovation.
Strength in diverse workforces will also arrive through natural processes. Changing demographics, including trends in age, ethnicity, sexual identity and other factors, will help foster greater workplace diversity, further necessitating inclusion. Similarly, hybrid and remote work will bring together teams from across regions both rural and urban, potentially enhancing equitable outcomes.
6. Expect greener, more sustainable work environments in the future.
With greater emphasis on environmental, social and governance investment, sustainability-focused companies will lead the way toward a greener future. The adoption at the corporate end will include changes such as the use of renewable energy and more energy-efficient microprocessors. These course corrections for sustainability will potentially impact the future of work through opportunities and innovation in green technology sectors.
Green careers may include bio and chemical engineering and nanotechnology for the creation of biofuels, lighter materials and more sustainable and efficient solar and battery solutions. They may also include mechanical and electrical engineers to design more efficient motors, turbines and electrical transfers. For outdoor lovers, land and water management scientists will have roles to play, too. In fact, green career opportunities will continue to expand in fields ranging from environmental sciences to wind turbine technicians for the foreseeable future.
7. Dynamic, growth-focused organizations will decentralize.
Traditionally, companies have relied on a centralized structure of top-down decision-making. However, decentralized systems have begun to expand in recent years.
In 2023, the emergence of the gig economy and solopreneurship have enticed many ambitious and creative workers away from corporate environments. Organizations may want to consider helping their employees determine what they want in their own future of work: While specialists may enjoy greater autonomy in decision-making, generalists willing to learn new skills and ask for help may benefit through expanded leadership roles. In each case, the organization wins.
Business leaders don’t need to navigate these future of work trends on their own.
Top event speakers and executive coaches specialize in staying informed on the topics that matter most today. That includes guiding you and your teams to take the fullest advantage of the transformations taking place.
Contact the SUCCESS Speakers Bureau to learn more about how our speaker talent team can assist you during this time of rapid growth and opportunity.
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