How technology will impact the workplace in 2017 and beyond

What will work—and the workplace—look like in 2, 5, 10 or even 20 years?

While we can’t know for sure exactly where we’re going, we can explore the possibilities. Each month we’re sharing a few of the latest workplace trends to keep you informed on the ever-changing world of work.

This month we’re talking about workplace disruption. Experts predict that the Fourth Industrial Revolution will change literally everything about how we operate as human beings—including with our colleagues, companies and (physical and virtual) work environments.

Below, see six stories on the future of workplace innovation, and how technology and new strategy are disrupting the status quo.

Coworking is the new networking for big business

Companies like KPMG and Microsoft are turning to coworking as one way to spur innovation, says Natasha Stokes. By sending employees to shared offices, they’re exposed to new people, new thinking and chance encounters that just may spark that next big idea. And it’s not just companies going outside—some are starting to bring space-seeking innovators into their corporate offices to produce a similarly serendipitous effect.

Physical spaces should be designed to support the digital workplace

It’s official: organizations that prioritize connectivity and collaboration from anywhere outperform their peers. That’s according to research from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and MIT’s Center for Information Systems, as reported by Sara Bean. Notably, beyond simply having the tools to enable seamless workshifting, companies in which managers trust their employees to work where, when and how is best for them came out on top.

The new age of the tech-enabled workplace

“Millennials and today’s technology are reshaping and humanizing tomorrow’s world of work,” say Tom Carroll and Dr. Marie Puybaraud. How? Smart buildings not only enable us to customize our environments, but also improve our workplace quality, and thus wellness/wellbeing, and in turn productivity. Paired with the right design, employees are empowered to craft an environment that best supports them and their work, fueling innovation. And we’re only at the beginning.

The future is automated. Here’s how we can prepare for it.

For the World Economic Forum, Peter Miscovich explores many facets of the future of work, from robot receptionists to cognitive computing, and how these and other technologies will impact the very form and function of work. Peter predicts a world that shifts the majority of society from a mass of 9-to-5-ers to a more on-demand, “human cloud” of freelancers.

Smart buildings and workplace-as-a-service will disrupt the commercial real estate sector

User demand for building features and amenities will disrupt CRE strategy as we know it. The next generation of smart buildings will be built with advanced sensors and extreme mobile device connectivity, moving closer toward the Internet of Things (IoT). Environments will effortlessly adjust to suit the desires and preferences of the people within them. Tom Carroll (once again) cautions that businesses that fall behind on this risk falling behind, period.

What the companies on the right side of the digital business divide have in common

Everything we’re talking about here requires a shift in mindset, which is where this research from Robert Bock, Marco Iansiti and Karim R. Lahkani comes in. Digital leaders—companies in the top quartile of a 344-company sample—outperform in gross margins, earnings and net income. How? The authors dove into the data to ferret out what digital leaders do differently.

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About the author


About the author

Laurel Miltner, Senior Manager, Content Strategy and Development
Bringing our visionaries thoughts to life by developing, managing and executing integrated marketing programs.

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