The future of work – Part 1/3: The trends

Table of contents

The future of work

Part 1/3 The trends

“Mom, you are the last generation that MUST die…”
That’s what my son, 20 years old, said recently. He is interested in the future and developments. And perhaps this is such a development: we could be one of the last generation that cannot yet decide whether to extend its life – perhaps even into infinity.
We cannot yet say whether this is the case or not. What we can say is that the future will bring major changes.

What trends and developments can we expect?

In the first part of our series
“The future of work”
we show general trends and technical developments that are already emerging. In the second part, we look at the changing world of work – and the third part is dedicated to the changing labor market and recruiting of the future. With this and the other contributions, we are taking part in the blog parade The Future of Work of the Bitcom Knowtech blog.

Rapid changes

One development is already chasing the next. But that’s not all: researchers have calculated that the speed at which fundamental changes take place doubles every two years. There are more and more innovations that are changing the world for good. A look into the past shows that our world has already changed a lot in the last 20 years: It wasn’t so long ago that the first cell phones were available – huge, heavy blocks that cost DM 10,000 back then. Even primary school children now have a miniature mobile computer in their school bags.
And that’s not all – the Internet and mobile devices have completely changed our lives. If we look today at how many developments there have been in the last two decades alone and what impact they have had on our everyday lives – what will things look like in 20 years’ time? In ten years’ time, our world could be very different from today.


Digitization is certainly one of the most important topics. Computers and screens will increasingly be part of our lives. It is to be expected that screens will find their way into all areas of life, for example in the form of walls converted into screens. These can be entire house walls, but also the walls in the living room.
However, there will not only be large screens, but also very small ones. One of our customers, Bechtle, is already working with virtual glasses in its warehouses: The warehouse employee wears a pair of glasses on whose screen he is navigated by arrows to the place where he is to place the parcel. Once the parcel code has been scanned, everything runs automatically; the customer doesn’t have to think or orient himself. The computer knows the hall and makes the arrows appear virtually in the room using glasses.
Another possible development – after digital glasses – is a contact lens that functions as a screen and can be controlled by looking or thinking. So you could always make inquiries via Google on the side. Or you would be able to furnish your future home virtually with your own furniture during the house viewing.

Artificial intelligence

This development has already begun: Machines are starting to communicate with each other. One example of how this can be used in everyday life is the coffee machine, which triggers an order as soon as it detects that the coffee pods are running low. Other machines receive this order, pack and dispatch it and issue the invoice. People are no longer needed in these processes.

Big data – networking information

Computers collect huge amounts of data about us and our consumer behavior.
In future, we can assume that everyone knows everything about us or can at least find out in seconds. Data search programs are able to collect our preferences, statements and images in the background and make them available to others. So the company that might want to hire us already knows everything about us before they ever get to know us. The supermarket knows what we like to buy, even if we’ve never set foot in it. The TV can calculate which show we want to watch next because it has analyzed our behavior over the past few years. The radio only plays the music we like to listen to. When we are on the street, we are shown the advertisements that interest us. Screen walls can use chips or other data carriers to determine who is passing by and tailor their advertising offer to this person. Computer programs can read our facial expressions and thus draw conclusions about our emotions and thoughts. Among other things, this gives companies the opportunity to recognize the wishes and thoughts of their customers and fulfil them in a more targeted manner.
This development is certainly not all positive. The boundaries between observation and surveillance are fluid and it can be assumed that this data can also be misused. However, you probably have to ask yourself how you want to handle your own data. This development can probably no longer be prevented.


The fact is that a major demographic change will take place in the western world over the next few years. In around ten years’ time, 6.5 million more people will leave the labor market than will enter it. Against this backdrop, Michael Carl, futurologist at the think tank 2beahead, commented at our last Leadership Lounge: “The refugees coming to our country are the best thing that could have happened to us!” Because even if we assume that a large number of refugees will come to work here, that the retirement age will be set higher, that more and more women will work and that the health of employees can be stabilized, there will still be a shortage of 3 million workers in 10 years’ time. If a company does not succeed in recruiting workers, it cannot produce, it cannot offer. Employee recruiting is therefore one of the key success factors for companies of the future.
This is such a fundamental change in the labor market that we have dedicated an entire article to this topic. You can read more about this in part 3 of this series.

>>> Read here:
7 success factors for cultural change


The trend is towards acquiring rights of use rather than buying things. Companies like Spotify are leading the way: You no longer own a CD, but have the right to listen to the music. Similar concepts can be expected for cars, tools and computers. This trend will intensify. As things change quickly, it is less and less worth buying. The right to use the latest technology is becoming more interesting. One example is car-sharing companies, which enable their customers to use good, new cars at all times without having to struggle with the obligations that would arise from ownership.
It will also be easier to change things at will. It is already possible to print houses with a 3D printer – and at a fraction of the cost of a stone-on-stone house. It is conceivable that a family will go on vacation in the future and a new house will be printed for them in the meantime.
In the next article, “Part 2 – The impact on the way we work”, we describe how these trends will have a concrete impact on the working and professional world.

The future of work – Part 1/3: The trends

The future of work – Part 2/3: How we will work

The future of work – Part 3/3: The labor market of the future

The authors

Oliver Grätsch
Michelle 550
Michelle Templin
Christian Grätsch
Matthias Beikert
Susanne Grätsch
Monika Bt 550x550
Monika Steininger
Kai Hübner
Philipp Andresen 500x550
Philipp Andresen
Anna Isabell Arendt
Dr. Claudia Schmidt
Inga Kühn
Kassandra Knebel
Claudia Lehmann
Komplettes Team
Berliner Team