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

Table of contents

The future of work

Part 2/3 How we will work.

In Part 1, we described general trends for the next two decades. In this section, we take a closer look at the changes we can expect to see in our working environments. With this and the other contributions, we are taking part in the blog parade The Future of Work of the Bitcom Knowtech blog.
Artificial intelligence: computers take over work completely.
Full automation instead of assembly line work. In the future, machines will take over more and more work completely. Human labor will no longer be necessary in many processes, meaning that many professions will be eliminated. This has already begun in retail and production and will spread to other professional fields. Take the profession of driver, for example. This will probably be taken over by computers in the future. This could go so far that one day people will no longer be allowed to drive vehicles themselves because computers are safer.
Researchers assume that the concept of the car will change. For example, there could be sleeping cars, i.e. cars that you get into to sleep and wake up the next day at the desired location. Or even dining cars, where you can eat your lunch while it takes you to your next appointment.
The fields in which machines work are becoming larger. – Thinking computers can even decide things for themselves. This enables them to act relatively flexibly.
There are already robots that can communicate or even converse. Siri, the Apple iPhone’s voice assistant, gives us a foretaste of this. For example, ask Siri what any number divided by 0 is – you will get a wide variety of answers…
Big Data – Networking of information in the company.
In the first part, we described some of the effects of large data collections: A company knows its customers before it has ever seen them. And the customer also knows everything about the company before they get in touch. The same applies to applicants. Companies and applicants of the future are already informed about each other down to the smallest detail long before they schedule an interview. We will live in a transparent world.
Information about employees is also used within the company. It becomes possible to draw on all the knowledge in the company: The computer can determine at lightning speed who has what knowledge and skills and who is suitable for the new project. IBM is already working with such a method today. So far, only content-related skills have been processed. However, it is very likely that social skills, soft skills and emotional skills will also be analyzed in the near future and that the computer will provide information about them.
The expert is abolished.
Existing knowledge is made available – this means that everyone has access to all information. This will permanently change many job profiles, for example the profession of travel guide. The tourist of the future will have all the information they need at their fingertips: Data on the sights, such as historical background and anecdotes, admission prices and opening times, but also which restaurant is nearby, how it was voted and what tastes particularly good there. If the tourist already knows everything, what will the profession of tour guide look like in the future? Will it still exist at all?
Professions based on knowledge will no longer be in demand to the same extent. Experts are no longer needed. The knowledge is available elsewhere. This can be the knowledge of lawyers, but also of doctors.
If people wear a chip under their skin that records and collects all their physical data and sends it online to a health center, it may no longer be necessary to visit the doctor at all. You might automatically receive a message telling you which medication you should take.
For working life, this means that job profiles are changing. Huge accumulations of knowledge will be worth less and less. On the other hand, things that are difficult for computers are of great value, for example, the interaction between people or “common sense”. Soft skills are becoming increasingly important, as computers will not be able to replace them in the foreseeable future.
In the future, change will determine life. This will also be the case in the world of work. It is unlikely that an employee will stay in the same job for 30 years. He can change his job every few years. Demographic change is creating the conditions for this: as there will be more jobs than workers, employees will have a choice.
Even the tasks within a job do not remain the same, but will change again and again. There is no longer a specific job description that precisely defines the tasks; instead, the employee should fit into the company based on their soft skills. More on this in the third part of our series.
Changing values of the new generations.
The younger generation thinks completely differently from people who are in their forties today. When this generation takes the helm one day, completely different values will prevail in management. A career is no longer necessarily the focus, at least not if you have to sacrifice yourself for your company or boss. The work-life balance must be given.
The issues of status and hierarchies and the associated status symbols such as company cars and the size of the office are no longer attractive to today’s young people. On the contrary: flat or no hierarchies, similar offices for everyone and additional amenities offered by the employer are more important to young employees than rapid promotion to the upper echelons. Taking on leadership is perceived as rather unattractive, because you have more work and more pressure, but not necessarily much more money. Overtime is preferably only worked when it makes sense – but not because it is ordered. Leadership through fear and obedience is already ineffective in most contexts, but will produce even fewer results in the future.
Workplace design.
What will workplace design look like in the future? We can expect more open-plan concepts, more open space and individual corners and rooms that employees can use for discussions or meetings. It is foreseeable that there will be fewer individual offices and also fewer hierarchically defined offices. One concept for the future is for employees to roll their mobile pedestal to a free desk and then work there if they happen to be in the office. Flexible workplaces are the trend. Home office concepts will increase. Instead of meetings, there will be more video conferences.
Sterile office design is exchanged for workplaces where people feel comfortable, e.g. colorful room concepts that stimulate creativity.
The house, the building itself as an expression of a corporate culture is also a trend. We are moving away from the standard office building towards an open, lively office concept. The corporate culture is reflected not only in the functionality, but also in the design of the building.
Revolutionary changes are to be expected in the labor market and in recruiting. Read more in the third part: The future of work – Part 3/3: The labor market of the future

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

What is your concept for the future? Discuss your future with us! Please feel free to contact us:

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
Dr. Claudia Schmidt
Inga Kühn
Kassandra Knebel
Claudia Lehmann
Anna Isabell Arendt
Komplettes Team

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Berliner Team