Fast Forward 2030: The Future of Work and the Workplace

People seek a holistic life: they want to work with intelligent people on exciting and rewarding projects where they can be creative and left alone to get the job done; values and purpose are as important as money; working for social good is an option; and they want to be a part of ‘the next big thing’. Not only are youth seeking happiness over money, but study participants reported that a majority of parents now aspire for their children to have happiness over money. Companies that fail to respond to these trends will do so at their peril.

With some notable exceptions, the vast majority of workplaces in the past 30 years have been dull, demotivating and incapable of effectively supporting collaborative or concentrated knowledge work. In an attempt to create ‘one size fits all’ what resulted was ‘one size fits nobody’.

The high performance workplaces that are beginning to be developed today are deliberately conceived to align with business objectives, work practices and optimise the ability of people to ‘get the job done’.

In 2030, traditional workplaces will be in the minority. Young workers in our focus groups were able to clearly articulate concepts for future workplaces that would help them perform better. These concepts look nothing like the typical workplace of today. There was a wide variety of quiet retreat and collaborative settings with the flexibility to choose a setting that is best suited their work at that particular moment.

Conspicuously absent were rows of cubicles or bench desks. Notably present was the concept of a communal workspace as the primary place of work. The workplace industry calls this type of workplace Activity Based Working (ABW). ABW is all about ‘places to work’ not ‘work places’. Some young workers in the study even suggested mood based working – pick the place to work that supports how you feel today – happy, excited, creative, or calm…