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What will our working life look like twenty years from now?

How will see our working life look like twenty years on?

One thing is certain: robots are taking over a large part of our current work. 

In  20 years, the Office Tiger with one job in one location will be extinct. The new employee is an independent professional or an agile worker. Working from nine to five wil be obsolete and the traditional hierarchical management system is no more. Also, we will get a lot of new colleagues: robots are taking a large part of our current work.

Working less

Steve Haldane, Professor of foresight and futures research at the University of Edinburgh: ‘ We will all be working less in the future, artificial intelligence will be stronger than the human intelligence, think of the supercomputer Watson. Standardized work is therefore in the hands of the robot. For us other work a five-day work week in an office space doesn’t get filled anymore.’
The vision of Haldane: Watson, who in the American play ‘ Jeopardy ‘ outperformed the human being, is already operational in the health care and advises lung doctors in making diagnoses and treatment plans. Also in the banking industry Watson competes with the financial professional at advising clients. In about five to ten years the super computer is in our mobile phones, cars and surveillance cameras.

Shorter working weeks mean, that we do not get bored. The exponential growth in future technology also mean that we need to stay up to speed with things and keep up developing ourselves. Haldane: ‘education gets a new function. The focus is on shifting of educating the new generation to the lifelong learning of all generations. The tech shops in America are a good example of how, in the future, at universities and colleges are breeding grounds for anyone who want to come into contact with new technology.’

The Office of the future 

‘The Office of the future is not a building, but a concept’, says Andrew Robertson, journalist and writer in the field of technology and information. “With the tremendous compaction in the cities, flexible working, 24/7 and agile working from different locations, will be a must. So don’t just choose a mix of home and office, but also the let go of fixed working or office hours. A continuous fighting against morning and evening rush hour will not continue for another 20 years.
According to Mark Jansen, Communications & Public Affairs Manager at Google, we will all work in the Cloud: ‘ the advantage of the Cloud is that in fact you can work anywhere, regardless of your location. The only thing that you need is a smartphone, tablet or laptop. And through, for example, Google Hangouts you can meet with nine people at the same time from different locations. I have now been in face to face contact with some of my colleagues on the other side of the ocean more than with colleagues in Amsterdam.’ 

Professor Haldane believes that the office is a meeting place. A great tool that has recently been introduced to help office workers to plan their day, reserve a workplace and find co-workers is iOtPlace, an agile working app marketed by workplace consultants Amos Beech. The new motto: the best people do not work with us, but for us. ‘Crowdsourcing is where, we all go. Companies are like chameleons. Because not the strongest or smartest organisation survives, only the organisation that constantly keeps changing and new knowledge knows, has right to exist. ‘
Google is a company that according to the Haldane already understood. “They shoot at everything and then hope that a great new business will arise from the ashes. The company has no idea if it’s about five years in electric cars or in health care. Also makes them not matter, they fit like a chameleon to, ‘ he says in an article in Kluwer management.

It’s all about empowerment. The employee is Director of his own employability. Each person should be working from the beginning of his or her working life to be aware of the fact that he or she needs to work on that. Develop knowledge and skills so stay!’ It is no longer sufficient to only accomplish your own tasks, you need to think and work as a team. Control on presence is replaced by control on output; not the process how to work on a solution os important, but rhe actual  solution is. Robertson: ‘We will increasingly work together in ways that are more appropriate to the situation. ‘Cooperation, communication and team spirit are key words.’