Our Changing Workplace

Fanny Tham

Fanny Tham

by Fanny Tham of CreativePeople@Work

There is no better time to say that we are in an Era of Change. From the comeback of Apple in the 90s to the evolution of Internet led by Facebook, our World is rapidly transforming. Ever year we witness changes that make impacts on the way we live, play and work. Here are ways on how our work will change in the next couple of years. In fact, for some, it already has.

1)      Information Technology is still King

The superior performance of the US economy in the late 1990s has led many to believe that a New Economy with heavy investment in Information Technology has open up a new economic era. As IT becomes an integral part of modern life, every industry is adopting technology in their processes. Demand for jobs in the IT sector is expected to increase into the next decade. No matter which area of work you cover, it is essential to understand and keep abreast of the technology advances and stay afloat from the pack.

2)      Reactive Work is Essential

The key to finding opportunities of the future will lie in understanding the needs and patterns of the community. Sensitivity to the emergence of new patterns is key. Workplaces will need people who are specifically responsible with detecting emerging patterns, evaluating them and developing various solutions and scenarios.  Therefore, the skills of researching, interpreting, solving and capitalizing on patterns will be important skillset for the Workplace of the future.

3)      Telecommuting is Norm

The Workplace will no longer be defined by geographical locations.  Powered by Internet connectivity, companies can hire staff who are based anywhere in the world. The workplace is becoming more and more virtual. Meetings occur across time zones with colleagues of different geographical locations working on the same project. This will lead to reduced overheads for companies, better work-life balance for staff, increased income-flow to workers from developing countries (as more work are being outsourced) and better productivity.

4)      New industries are Formed

With the increased ease of starting a company, a lot more new companies are formed. As traditional industries are economically saturated, what remains for new companies are new industries catering niche products and services. The new era will see new industries creating new demands and needs and catering to a global customer base.

5)      New Generation of Bosses

Generation X will be our bosses, for some of us, they are already. By 2019, Generation X, the cohort born from 1965 to 1978, will have spent nearly two decades working their way up replacing the baby boomers in senior decision-making jobs. By then, they will finally be in charge and many expect big changes from different generation of the new leaders. One of the most expected changes is how the Gen X, the relatively higher educated and widely travelled cohort, will lead organizations into more international groundings.

6)      New Generation of Middle Management

Generation Y, the individualistic bunch born from 1979 to 2000, will form an important part of the workforce as middle management. This new generation of middle management is generally identifiable by their perspective that putting in long years of effort at any one company in exchange for a series of raises and promotions is pointless. Bruce Tulgan, head of the consulting firm Rainmaker Thinking, based in New Haven, Conn., and author of a new book about managing Gen Y called Not Everyone Gets a Trophy, states, “…success will be defined not by rank or seniority but by getting what matters to you personally,”.  Tulgan adds, “Companies already want more short-term independent contractors and consultants and fewer traditional employees because contractors are cheaper. And seniority matters less and less as time goes on, because it’s about the past, not the future.” The Gen Y is hence expected to lead the revolution of lesser organizational hierarchy. People will be hired to work on projects, instead for the company.

7)      Specialized Work

The changes in the above points all lead to the one fact that there is going to be a huge focus on finding the essential people and outsourcing the rest. Companies begin to breakdown into collaborative network of smaller organizations; specialization dominates the world economy.

8)      Organizational structures will change

A pattern arising out of all the changes is the propable demise of rigid organizational structure. There will be looser hierarchies, democracies, external markets, and internal markets. There will be a shift from command-and-control management to coordinate-and-cultivate system. There will be no more workers in organizational but more project teams. The long-term impact of this trend may yield a more knowledgeable workforce constantly aggregating and fine tuning skills.

9)      Changing Organizational Community Committee

It is more important than ever for organizations to contribute back to the society. Social responsibility dominates the corporate agenda with concerns about demographic changes, climate and sustainability becoming the key drivers of business

10)     Importance of Connectivity

Technology and connectivity will lead to a push for more work to occur in both formal and informal relationships across enterprise boundaries. Virtual conferencing technology, automated business process management and collaborative software will streamline the process by which teams work together on projects. Everyone in everywhere in the world will have to be connected.

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