The Future of Work: Remote Working
Virtual and physical workplaces
The impact of technology on the future workplace doesn’t just affect the people at work, it affects where they work too. Millennials see two types of workplace in the future: virtual and physical. The virtual space is all about remote working. With the development of tools that allow for virtual face-to-face meetings, like Windows collaboration display from Sharp, there’s no need to have to be in the office every day. Cloud based technologies also mean you can share documents with anyone, anywhere in the world instantly. The next generation are extremely comfortable using this remote technology and working in the virtual office.
Their idea of the physical space is more traditional, but still not conventional. They told us that physical workspaces and the smart office should include a meeting point or a community space for social interaction and developing ideas. It could involve a mix of open, semi-private and private spaces in which to enable employees to meet where they are, in the moment, not forcing workers to accomplish their tasks in a specific non-ideal space. In this scenario, workers still retain their own private desk but also have the option to move freely between their personal workspace, a private conference room or more casual spaces as needed.
Technology has transformed the business world by unleashing unprecedented levels of productivity and enabling communication across the globe. But for many, technology has also weakened those interpersonal connections which can only really be created through face-to-face interaction. This has led to increased levels of workplace isolation. The workforce of the future may well be comfortable using email, text, social media and instant messaging to communicate but they told us they feel the lack of face-to-face communication.
Our participants also told us they felt it was important for businesses to create shared spaces such as office cafes/snack bars, lounges and recreational rooms. When people are given a chance to talk freely in a more casual setting, they become more likely to bond, despite the barriers of age, hierarchical level and gender.
Creating community in the workplace is important
Millennials expect the workplace to remind them of home, so it should be an informal and comfortable place. They also want to feel more connection with nature, either by working in places that bring nature into the office with plants or by working more outside.
Young professionals believe companies require an innovative workplace environment to produce innovative work. They see technology as key to creating a better working environment.
This generation says that technology helps them learn more effectively, simplifies the learning process, and assists creativity. Technology, they feel, helps them share and improve their knowledge, and makes them feel connected to people and the wider world. They use technology for fast access to information, entertainment, communication, learning and improving their skills.
The Future of Work Report: Latest Findings
The Future of Work Report: Infographic
The Future of Work Report: Initial Findings