Technology, attitudes and demographics have dramatically altered our working environment over the years. A new conceptual age is upon us which requires working practices based on engagement. Information Technology research and advisory company Gartner has highlighted 10 trends that will shape our working environment in eight years time that will be discussed at a technology summit in London this September. Here are 10 trends that will dominate the workplace by 2020.
De-routinization of Work – It is expected that by the year 2020 a lot of routine work will be automated with non routine tasks such as selling of an insurance policy left for people to do.
Work Swarms – Work swarms are a new way to describe team activity that involves bursts of collective activity by any individual who is able to add value. Such teams will be ad hoc and informal in nature. The notion of a swarm is that these teams will quickly form, deal with problem and then disband.
Weak Links – Weak links are indirect indicators that rely on the confidence others have in the knowledge of people. The main feature of work swarms is that not everybody will know each other well. Instead, there will be more focus on the part of the individual to utilize their own personal, professional and social networks to develop and exploit both strong and weak links that will be used.
Working With the Collective – This is where social networking will come into its own. People will connect with other informal groups outside their organization bound by a common interest or goal to accomplish projects, and to gather market intelligence.
Work Sketch-Ups – The word ‘informal’ will increasingly define the pattern of work in eight years time. Process models for most non-routine work will be created on demand.
Spontaneous Work – Working practices will be less structured and more receptive to innovation in identifying new opportunities and creating new designs and models.
Simulation and Experimentation – People will be able to actively engage with simulated environments (virtual environments) similar to technologies depicted in movies such as Minority Report. This will add a new meaning to the concept of modeling where people will be able to interact with the data and manipulate its various parameters to gauge the response before using that data to formulate policy.
Pattern Sensitivity – This can be described as something that takes place within predictive analytics software. This will allow organizations to create specific groups that can detect emerging patterns by evaluating them to develop scenarios that will assist executives in corporate strategy and planning.
Hyperconnected – Hyperconnectivity relates to social networking and cloud computing that have created networks within networks. An increased emphasis on these networks will mean more work occurs in both formal and informal relationships across the organisation with implications for the way people work and how IT supports their input.
My Place – Technology has created virtual working environments where meetings take place across different time zones, and organizations with people who are complete strangers to each other who work in swarms to attack problems and devise solutions. The 9 to 5 job will be a rarity as more people work flexible hours and away from their desk making the lines between personal, professional, social, family and organizational matters disappear.
Gartner’s 10 work trends provide an interesting insight into what we can expect from workplaces in the future. As we exit the information age and enter a new conceptual age we will witness more practices based on engagement where individuals have more autonomy, more control and less routinisation in their work.