The year 2025 might seem a long way off, but the sheer scale of transformation that will take place in the workplace between now and then requires organisations to start preparing today if they want to keep pace with the change.
What does the workforce of 2025 look like?
Born between 1980 and 2000, Millennials are the generation that will make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2025. Millennials are known, generally speaking, as having a number of outstanding characteristics from which an organisation can benefit. These include being confident, open-minded, team oriented, and technologically advanced. Millennials are known to have the facility to seamlessly use technology to communicate, brainstorm, plan, and execute tasks more than any other generation before them. This is due to the fact they grew up in an era when technology was readily accessible and, in some instances, even shaped their life experiences growing up. 1
In a whitepaper titled Workplace 20252, published by the global information and communication technology (ICT) company, Fujitsu Australia, five major developments are described that will take place in the run up to 2025. These five developments are:
- The lifestyle workplace (social change)
- The intelligent workplace (technological change)
- The low-impact workplace (business and industry change)
- The boundary-less workplace (business and industry change)
- The cross-generational workplace (demographic change)
The outworking of these developments, in summary, are:
- The lifestyle workplace
For decades the reality of a ‘nine-to-five’ office job, five days a week has been the norm, but by 2025 this concept will be far less prevalent – along with the idea of spending one’s whole working life in the same profession. The stability that employees once sought will be replaced by their desire for flexibility, with more individuals opting for freelance contracts than ever before. No longer will workers desire to be bound to one company or even one geographical location. The physical nature of the office will change too, to favour health and wellness, while wearable technology will help employees manage workloads and stress levels.
Most importantly, however, the employee experience will become the benchmark of a successful workplace. More holistic in approach, the aim will be to achieve an integrated view of everything that impacts an employee’s working life – from on-boarding and training to performance and wellness.
- The intelligent workplace
The changes we’ll see in the workplace by 2025 will have been predominantly driven and enabled by technology. Soon technology will be embedded into every aspect of employee’s working lives.
- AI-powered (Artificial Intelligence) automation will completely reshape the way organisations do business.
- Certain human roles will diminish or disappear, while many new ones will be created.
- With less time spent on arduous administrative tasks, employees will be freed-up to focus on strategic thinking.
- Cyber-security will evolve to the point where it becomes non-intrusive – unobtrusively authenticating our movements within the workplace at every stage of our working day.
- The low-impact workplace
Sweeping advances in workplace technology will have a positive impact on the environment. Technology will allow less of a need to be in a specific location to collaborate and be productive. Virtual meetings will replace face-to-face ones. With fewer people being expected to commute to their workplace every day the workforce’s overall carbon footprint will reduce considerably. Coupled with smart buildings that help companies use energy more efficiently, workplace technology has the power to have a dramatic impact on the wider environment.
- The boundary-less workplace
To survive, a much more fluid approach to business will be necessary. The days of organisations operating in isolation are on the decline. In future we will experience far more open collaboration across organisations and industries. Brands and maybe even competitors will increasingly look beyond the confines of their own organisation in order to innovate. This will give rise to more of a global talent pool, with firms reaching across the world to crowd-source skills they need, regardless of location.
- The cross-generational workplace
The demographic makeup of the workforce will evolve significantly. By 2025 an unprecedented cross-section of generations will inhabit the workplace simultaneously. Millennials and Generation Z will dominate, and corporate culture will have to transform to meet their needs and working styles. At the other end of the age spectrum a significant number people will be working into their late 60s or even 70s. Organisations are going to have to find a way of not alienating their older employees.
Organisations need to start building their vision of how the new world of work may look for them. This would benefit from being informed by what is happening internally in each organisation, what other organisations are discussing and what trends are influencing people in their business sector. Based on this intelligence, companies ought to build a number of possible future scenarios. For example, what if only a small proportion of their employees will work full-time? What if 50% of their current jobs will be automated within five to ten years? What if they have a need to share a large percentage of their talent with other organisations? Organisations will need to discuss the possible implications and create a step-by-step roadmap for the future of its workforce.4