What Will the Workplace of the Future Look Like?

A storm of changes is transforming work as we know it, from traditional workplace concepts to how workforce policies and processes are shaped. Constantly expanding technology and the disruptions to supply and value chains caused by the pandemic are precipitating the future of work.

Organizations that fail to recognize and adapt to these changes will be unable to compete successfully with their agile counterparts. As such, reconfiguring workplaces and work arrangements is a major step towards setting employees up for success and preparing your business for what is to come.

The workplace of the future is an ecosystem specifically designed to drive business value by empowering and inspiring employees to do their best work. It leverages tools like progressive workforce strategies and innovative technologies to spur productivity, deepen engagement, and facilitate seamless communication and collaboration.

While it’s impossible to predict the exact nature of the future workplace and every company’s approach must be tailored to their own specific needs and business contexts, the following trends paint a vivid picture of the possibilities ahead.

Human-Centric Skillset

Once-elusive things like AI or automation technologies are no longer reserved for enterprises, cutting-edge applications, and industrial manufacturing use cases. These technologies are now being leveraged by even the smallest businesses to efficiently complete mundane or repetitive processes, which in turn has created increased opportunities and demand for people skills and knowledge workers.

This has once again brought the importance of building on human skills and competencies such as emotional intelligence, creativity, and initiative to the fore. As such, reskilling employees to tackle strategic, higher-value tasks and new responsibilities will be a top priority of organizations in the future workplace.

The modern workplace will integrate emergent technology and leverage new digital products, platforms, and services. However, supporting such an advanced digital landscape will necessitate the creation of new roles, processes, systems, and personas. The future workplace will no longer contain process-driven “corporate drones” that are adept at executing tasks that can be automated. Instead, it will feature happy, engaged, and trusted employees who leverage human competencies to drive productivity for their organizations.

Flexible Office Setups

In the post-pandemic workplace, many organizations will adopt what design experts refer to as “hoteling” when structuring their office layouts. Employees may no longer be assigned permanent seating since a hybrid work arrangement means that physical office spaces will be idle at least some of the time. Some sections will be designated for quiet work, while others will be earmarked for collaborative work and group discussions.

Making this work will require a structured strategy to make the most out of operations and workplace data that takes into account the needs and preferences of multi-generational employees, whether freelance, temporary, permanent, or remote.

Virtual and Augmented Reality

Fast forward a few years, virtual and augmented reality may become as ubiquitous as video-conferencing tools in the modern workplace. These technologies are set to improve and take communication to a whole new level…one that goes beyond video and voice. Projects such as Facebook’s Infinite Office and Oculus Rift are using VR to create immersive virtual office setups.

Together with augmented reality, VR can also facilitate socially distanced meetings by creating virtual conference table setups to facilitate a sense of proximity and collaborative mindset. This will go a long way in replicating human connection remotely by helping employees better read facial cues and body language for more personalized interaction with remote teammates.

The Right Mix of People and Technology

In response to the pandemic, many businesses were forced to adopt more digital technology and automation tools overnight without much opportunity to assess how well they fit into their work processes and culture. This is about to change.

One of the hallmarks of the future workplace is the continued adoption and use of advanced tech and analytics. As these technologies become more refined and accessible to all, the demand for certain jobs and new skill sets will evolve. To retain their competitive edge in a post-pandemic marketplace and prepare for the future of work, businesses need the right mix of people, technology, and machines in their workforce.

Getting the right mix requires intelligent insights into the dynamics of the workplace and how well human employees will respond to the adoption of robotics, machine learning, and other advanced technology…insights that objective data alone can provide. By equipping business leaders with the capabilities of workforce analytics, organizations can leverage these insights to prepare for that eventuality and successfully navigate change.

Wrapping Up

The way organizations respond to the happenings defining the future workplace will determine those who would fail to keep up, those who survive, and those who will thrive. Putting in place systems that build on human skills and promote business agility is one way to prepare for the wave of emergent technology and disruptive changes that will define the future workplace.

Forward-looking organizations looking to thrive in the new economy can leverage Humanyze’s expertise and experience in workplace analytics to build intelligent workplaces of the future. Our workforce analytics solution will help you integrate data into the decision-making process and bridge physical and digital workspaces. Use your data to transform your organization into an intelligent enterprise that is fully prepared for the future of work.

Last Updated 29 April 2021