Change is inevitable, as mentioned in previous blogs; because of this, it makes predicting the future workforce that much more challenging. By reviewing some of the changes already happening, perhaps we can predict some things about what the future workplace will look like and how leaders and managers can prepare themselves for this new workplace landscape.
One of the major trends impacting on businesses today and continue to impact them, is globalisation. Globalisation is all about embracing diversity. While there is benefit to an organisation in embracing diversity it is also difficult to manage a diverse workforce with different cultural backgrounds, thoughts, interpretations and perceptions; all of this can make communication extremely challenging. Leaders are thinking of this all the time and we can see how technology helps to manage this. It allows employees to operate anywhere and anytime; changing the need for physical workplaces and organisational hierarchies. But one mustn’t forget the feeling of community and culture. It is a question of how can our digital worlds be used to enhance our physical ones.
Top Emerging Technologies in the Workplace
In the Office of the Future: 2020 Survey and Report, staffing agency “OfficeTeam” identified several technologies that have changed the workplace and the way work is conducted in the coming years, including:
Sensory-recognition software. Computers in the future will be able to respond to voice, handwriting, fingerprint and optical inputs.
Smart devices. Computers will use algorithm-based programs to learn the relationships between words and phrases, creating a smoother interface and enabling users to conduct more effective information searches.
Wireless everywhere. Users can connect to the office while in taxis, buses, on planes, in parks, in building lobbies or even on beaches.
Virtual conferencing technology. Offices may be equipped with walk-in facilities outfitted with wall-sized screens that project 360-degree views of videoconference participants.
Automated business process management. Collaborative software will streamline the process by which teams work together on documents, eliminating the need for email as the means of document transmission and sharing, we are already seeing this in cloud technology.
To forecast your future workforce needs:
Analytics. What data can you collect and how can it be harvested to help make better decisions. For example, ask how much space do we actually need both now and in the future? What do our business units need? How should we utilise our limited real-estate resources to make the biggest impact?
Know what tools to do something about it, tools to execute. Communication and collaboration with your business units and employees should be easy - if isn’t, look at your process and also at potential solutions to streamline these.
Your people. How can technology improve the customer experience for all your employees and stakeholders of your organisation? Especially as we move towards more modern, flexible, collaborative work environments, how can technology improve productivity and also take away the ‘fear factor’ that’s often associated with losing one’s desk? As leaders, you need to think of other ways to encourage interaction with employees and other stakeholders even with the extra distance.
Take home message:
The workplace is already a chaotic place to be in. Technology is an inevitable development in the working environment, figure out what you need and what you want. Change is inevitable, learn to adapt and overcome fears to ensure you stay relevant and successful.