Crazy (Or Not-So-Crazy) Predictions for the Future of Work

Guest post by James Ski, Enterprise Relationship Manager at Linkedin & IncuBus Future of Work workshop leader


The industrial revolution was the precursor for the modern workplace. Men and women were sat next to each other on factory lines in extremely difficult working conditions. People started and finished at the same time and often worked 7 days a week.

It wasn’t until 1929 that workers’ rights were introduced and worker conditions began to improve. This was a result of Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America Union demanding a five-day workweek and receiving it. After that, the rest of the United States slowly followed. And this continued to develop over the 20th century. This was the advent of the 9 – 5 workday that is well known in developed economies around the world today. 

Today the competition for talent is so fierce that in a knowledge economy employers understand the real importance of providing a work environment that promotes positive and mental wellbeing as well as having a clear vision to provide a purpose for its employees.

What is the workplace like today

Linkedin, Facebook, Google are all great examples of this coming into play. Here at Linkedin our offices are designed to promote collaboration. We have rooms themed on things like Harry Potter, Games of Thrones or a London Bus. They are light and fun. All rooms are connected to VC equipment that means meetings can take place all over the world.

Each floor has its own kitchen area where healthy snacks, drinks and the mandatory coffee machine are based. We have a whole floor dedicated to food – where we gather for breakfast and lunch. All food is freshly delivered by local restaurants and all paid for by Linkedin. Eating together means we share stories and knowledge between different departments. We also make new connections and build stronger relationships.We also have own onsite gym and encourage mindfulness. 

I can attest the above makes Linkedin an attractive place to work and they will only become more important in the future. Now coming back to the title of this post and based on me spending some time pondering the question of ‘What would our future workplace look like?' Below I've set out the my own predictions:

10 Predictions for the future of our workplace


1.All employees will be connected up to the company database:

A future of the workplace report by Unum highlights the need to keep an ageing workforce in the workplace. To ensure all workers are fit, healthy and productive all employees will have their health and productivity monitored in real time. Wearables are being taken up swiftly and everyone already has a smartphone. Check out this matrix style brain connected device.

2. The mind will share equal parity with physical well being in the workplace

A recent report by Mind in the UK highlighted that stress related mental illness is estimated to cost the economy £105 billion a year – roughly the cost of the entire NHS. Employee’s moods will be monitored; feedback and thoughts will be captured by companies in real time. Employees will be able to submit anonymously their worries and concerns leading to companies having in place onsite counsellors, life coaches and mindfulness coaches. Available during the workday.

3. Employees will take their kids to work

One of the biggest challenges of a parent is how to juggle the kiddicare. Companies will remove this stress by creating schools onsite. More parents will be brought back into work. Parents will be able to spend time with their children during the day and companies will invest in schools so that they have curriculum that provide employees children with the academic and practical skills for the future. Elon Musk has already done this stating with the creation of a school for his own children stating. "It makes more sense to cater the education to match their aptitudes and abilities."

4. Employees will be able to take mini holidays every day of the week

An hour lunch break will turn into a trip to the Moon, a surfing session in Hawaii or climbing Everest. The introduction of Virtual Reality will mean you can instantly escape the work day. Mark Zuckerberg's appearance at Mobile World last week marks a serious step in the direction of this happening.

5. Learning will be automatic, constant and always on

Learning would be ongoing – morning, lunchtime and evening classes would be made available to all employees. Employees will be able to continually get access to education always. Every employee will develop skills and be taught via digital platforms. I have no doubt that our brains will always be connected to computers that enhance our ability to make good decisions. Feedback will be replayed back and new behaviours programmed automatically.

6. Robots will become the norm and most administrative tasks will be automated.

All administrative tasks will be covered by robot personal assistants; AI will take away all repetitive tasks. Salespeople for example will only focus on developing personal relationships and recruiters will no longer review CVs or read and respond to emails or manage a calendar – they will just need to focus on the human interaction and all the rest will be taken care of. A study by Oxford University in the Guardian states that 47% of US jobs might be at risk within the next two decades due to advances in computers, automation and artificial intelligence.

7. Employees will give back more than 10% of their time to their community

A stronger reliance on networks will ensure organizations can grow rapidly in new markets. This was highlighted in a future of the workplace report by New Statesman. Salesforce has already been a trailblazer in this space with its 1% pledge initiative and its CEO Marc Benioff mantra "The business of business is improving the state of the world." However, in the future employees will be encouraged to do much more in their community and give back to their world.

The business of business is improving the state of the world.
— Marc Benioff

8. Offices will have all the facilities of a luxury spa and holiday resort

Flexible working will be the norm but companies will look after their employees so well that they will prefer to be in the office where they can enjoy a happy social life and relaxing environment where negative stress in minimalized. Sleeping pods will be available for afternoon naps. Pets will be allowed to roam. All sports will be enjoyed. Offices will be designed for comfort and collaboration. All this will be required as the commuting becomes even more unbearable.

 9. Companies will not focus on profit but creating harmony in the world

One of the most exciting projects I have seen in the world right now is The Venus Project. “The plans of The Venus Project offer society a broader spectrum of choices based on the scientific possibilities directed toward a new era of peace and sustainability for all. Through the implementation of a global Resourced Based Economy, and a multitude of innovative and environmentally friendly technologies directly applied to the social system, The Venus Project proposals will dramatically reduce crime, poverty, hunger, homelessness, and many other pressing problems that are common throughout the world today.” I recommend you go check it out now.

 10. I left this one for you the reader.....................................

These are just some of my ideas and thoughts for what the future of the workplace might look like – many were things I’d like to see in my future workplace. I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments section.

Thank you to Helen O’Shea who via a chance meeting on a 2 hour delayed train from Newcastle to London provided me with many sources of inspiration and references for this piece.

About the Author

James Ski works for Linkedin. Every day he encourages his customers to be more social and lead with interesting content. Please follow him on Linkedin or on Twitter @jamesas 


Originally posted on LinkedIn Pulse.


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