Whenever I read an article or a blog post under the theme “Future of Work” (and due to the nature of my responsibilities, I read a lot of them), I can’t help but imagine what my life will be like when this future finally arrives. Whenever I come across an article on workplace design, I mentally select my work space. I can’t be the only one to do this, right? So, here is the vision I have of what my day will look like in 2025.
- Wake up to a fridge that gives me the protein/vitamin/carbohydrate count of food, a touch-screen mirror on the wall that gives me a report on the weather, news headlines and wishes me a good day as I take my travel mug of coffee, some things will never change!, and head out to work with a fitness band on my wrist and an app on my phone telling me exactly how much exercise I get during the day. While an increasing number of employees telecommute to work, I still see myself working at least 3-4 times a week in an office environment, interacting with my colleagues.
- I get to work either in a driverless car that I share with other commuters or by bike – whichever way, it will be green, efficient and high-tech.
- Since the work schedule will be flexible, I’ll arrive at the office sometime around 10-10:30, to a workplace that looks a lot like this:
…OK, perhaps, not exactly like that, I’m not sure why there would be a peacock, but it will be in a building that runs in part at least on renewable energy and provides a relaxing environment for employees.
- During the day, I use diverse social collaboration tools to connect with various members of my team – whether they are present in the office or work remotely. Speaking of which, my team is not static. It is fluid and team members change depending on the project I am working on.
- There are no managers, but rather ‘team’ or ‘project leaders’. While not yet obsolete, the traditional workplace hierarchy of the 20th century is gone from a lot of organisations including mine. The organisation runs as a ‘flat army’ – a term coined by Dan Pontefract. While there are still ‘senior executives’ within a company, their role is re-defined from that of a ‘commander’ to a ‘leader’ or ‘People Empowerment Person’, if you will.
- During the day I make time to log into the online learning system – a gamified place, where each member of the organisation can upload information that benefits the rest of the team. I pass a few levels, earn a few points, learn something new for the day over a cup of coffee as I sit in a cozy lounge-type of a nook, and move on to the next task.
- I then use a cloud-based system to notify the office and the HR department of my upcoming vacation – 7 days in Bora Bora, where my phone and other technologies will remain turned off and not a single person will expect me to respond to their e-mails when seeing the ‘Out of Office’ response. Did I mention that my organisation offers unlimited holidays?
- By the way, the system mentioned above has a lot more than vacation requests. You can check the feedback you receive from your team members and other colleagues as part of a continuous performance evaluation. This single sign-on system gives me access to all social media platforms, every collaborative tool used in the company, and provides me with analytics on the performance of my team as well as my network.
- Everything is digitised – no paper is used whatsoever.
- Submitting new ideas and getting a green light on their implementation is as easy as posting pictures of your lunch on Instagram! All you need is two colleagues to second your motion and you are guaranteed a response within 48 hours from the Senior Decision Makers in the company, at which point you can assemble a team and create a project plan that would outline the time-frame, resources needed and final results.
- We are fast moving toward a workplace where at least half of the employees in the IT department are women, and so are half of the world leaders, entrepreneurs and board members.
- I greet my colleague who has just returned from his paternity leave, which, at this point, is the standard in most countries.
- My work station is mobile. I can work in one of the specially designated closed-off spots if I need some peace and quiet, I can work standing up or while burning calories on a treadmill.
- The environment in the office is upbeat and energetic. We have solved employee engagement problems, and my colleagues and I are 120% committed to our work and our organisation. We feel appreciated, challenged, resourceful, and creative. We see the value in our work not only to the organisation but to a bigger mission.
- I spend 30 minutes with my mentee / protégé, who I took under my wing to pass on my knowledge and wisdom. I also have a coach and mentor, who took me under his/her wing to teach me things outside of my area of expertise.
- As I finish my work at 5:30-6 PM I make a to-do list for the next couple of days, based on which I decide I will be more efficient working from home for a day or two, put all my energy in one element of the project and deliver on my part of the job on time, to ensure my team members can easily proceed with theirs. I know it will be absolutely no hassle working from home because everything is on the cloud. Cyber security problems are so 2015! Everyone in our organisation understands the importance of data security and follows policy guidelines to ensure it remains that way.
- Having left the office I may still spend an hour or so in the evening working on my project, but it is neither mandatory nor expected. My time is valued only as far as my contribution to the business line goes.
So, what do you think? Is this picture that I’ve painted in my head too unrealistic, or is it the reality of a not-so-far-off future?