Predictions of the future are tricky to make, but luckily by the time the year comes around, people have either forgotten about it or laugh at the inaccuracy (see: Back to the Future). People currently in employment – or looking to get into it – are already seeing things changing, and here are ten other ways things might evolve:
See also: Best Jobs of the Future
1. More remote working
This will have two implications; the good is that you could choose to work from home if family, a broken-down car or lack of transport links cause you problems. You will even be able to work in your dream country without actually having to move there (providing you’re a lot better with understanding time zones than I am). The bad is that you can work from home and it’ll be harder to pull a sickie unless you genuinely are sick.
2. (More) paperless environments
It’s not uncommon for emails to have a warning at the bottom asking "Do you really need to print this?" At the moment, it’s because they’re considering the environment – which might be an even bigger issue in ten years – but in the future you won’t need to print. Almost Human thought that by 2048 we’d be using paper-thin iPad-like sheets of plastic.
3. Fewer jobs
Between smarter robots and employers wanting either smarter people or people willing to get better, some jobs and some people will be left by the wayside: why hire three people to do it when one can? Answer: because that one person will then be under such incredible stress, they’ll solve the fewer jobs problem by burning out much faster and leaving the position open for someone else. Forget ten years from now, it’s already starting.
4. Better (or no) commute
Flying cars! Or if that still(!) hasn’t happened, then maybe they’ll have spent the time working on teleportation instead. Surely we won’t still be squeezing onto overcrowded buses and trains, or sitting in rush hour traffic jams... please?
5. Switching off will be even harder
It’s already harder with the invention of emails, personal computers and mobile phones. Even after regular work hours or when you know your ‘Out of Office’ email notice is on, it’s hard to ignore an email that comes in. In the future, you can definitely say goodbye to your personal time, and possibly even say hello to working on your commute. If your car can drive itself, then why are you sitting there doing nothing? France and Sweden are already trying to tackle the issue with laws banning work after 6pm and a trial in reducing the hours of the work week.
6. Health issues
The more people work and the more that work is on screens, the more they’re going to suffer from weight problems, eye problems or repetitive strain injury which is already not uncommon. One of the downsides of being able to look at a screen instead of drive, or teleport instead of going outside, is that we’ll be getting out even less than we already do and it won’t be until it’s too late that we’ll realize just how good that little change of scenery used to be.
Why make your client come all the way to your office when they can use a hologram? Why stop at Facetime and Skype to check in at work when you can attend that big meeting as a hologram? To every pro (no more dealing with annoying coworkers!) there is a con, however – such as no more slacking off at work when your boss might hologram in at any given moment to make sure you’re there and keeping busy.
8. Workers without borders
Have you ever wished you worked in another country but haven’t been able to go there or you’re not a fan of travelling? Now you don’t need to! It’s already possible thanks to the Internet, but in the future there might be fewer offices and people in more countries working together.
9. Freelance will be the new 9-5
Good news for people who don’t like getting up early! Rather than being chained to a desk for eight hours, you will be able to work for as long as you need to do what is needed. On the downside, however, your employer might still expect you to be available if something comes up, but at least you can be available while doing something more interesting than sitting in one place seeing how far back you can get on Facebook before you’re interrupted. Dan Schawbel is already making a call for the end of the 9 to 5 workday and thinks that if work can infringe on personal out-of-office time, then it should be acceptable to do personal things at work.
10. Jobs will get even less stable
You think it’s tough to get and keep a job now? Wait until your competition is global and there are thousands lining up to take your place armed with the best in education that can be offered by more online universities. That’s even before you take into account the robots that might replace you or you might soon be working alongside them... though never fear, there is only so much a robot can actually do. For now.
Where do you see yourself in ten years? Not your ambitions, but where do you see yourself in the different workplace we’ll have by then? Do you think you will have been replaced by a robot? Perhaps you wouldn’t mind a robot assistant that could take over from you every now and then? Tell us your predictions and hopes!