The “Future of Work” was a hot topic at our Digital Workplace Summit last week in sunny Orlando (sunny, hot Orlando). I spoke during the conference on “The Workplace of the Future” and Jeff Mann closed out the conference with it for Thursday’s keynote.
And this time, instead of just talking I had a chance to listen too. I hosted a roundtable session on the Future of Work and started by asking each of the fifteen attendees to introduce themselves and make one prediction about the future of work (10 years out).
Predictions for how we will work in 10 years mostly involved flexibility over where employees work and which devices they use. I would like that one to come true as much for the benefit to the employers as the work/life balance of the employees (if handled properly) and benefits to the environment.
Another theme was around automation, whether AI, RPA, autonomous systems, or robotics. The outlook of the attendees was more positive than we normally read about in the press.
I enjoyed hearing some of the more extreme predictions. One was the end of IT as we know it. IT becomes one with the business, with lots of citizen developers and data scientists helping out. Another was the watch being the computer – we may not need much more of a form factor than that if you can connect to fixed screens and input devices. And a tip of the hat to “working in self-driving airplanes.” Those planes had better have more space than the one I flew to Orlando in if that’s going to work out.
At the end was a higher level discussion about why we’d be working. Would our need to work or motivations change? The attendees talked about culture, trust, and pride of ownership. In other words, we’ll still be humans in the future. Our skills and curiosity are what will create a future work working in, but our inherent tendencies and desires will keep it solidly anchored to reality.
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