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The Future of Work / The Future of the Workplace May 27, 2009

Posted by Bob Cook in Alternative Workplace Strategies.
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office_cubicles_01 latest issue talks about “The Future of Work”.  Time points to ten trends that will change the way we work.   Here they are – along with questions  prompted in my mind about how “the future of work” will affect “the future of the workplace“.Time’s

1. “High Tech, High Touch, High Growth” means that high tech industries are likely to continue to be where the growth is and where corporate real estate investments will be made.  But what and where will be the high tech areas of tomorrow?

2. “Training Managers to Behave” is gaining ground a legitimate corporate sensibility and forcing a “rethinking of the balance between doing well and doing good”.  As “doing good” becomes an accepted corporate goal,  how will this affect corporate real estate decisions that  impact things like the environment or workers’ (physical and mental) health?

3. “The Search for the Next Perk” talks about diminishing benefits, e.g. employer contribution to health insurance.  How does one reconcile this decline of one type of benefit in at least some places with the increase in some types of benefits elsewhere, e.g. free lunch at Google?   (Interestingly, both health benefits and free food emerged as a way to recruit during worker shortages — Kaiser Shipyard giving health benefits during WWII and Google giving free food during dot.com boom.  Is there a  lesson to be learned there?)

4. “We’re Getting Off the Ladder” and onto the “lattice”, Deloitte’s metaphor for how one’s career and life should be planned in conjuction with each other.  The concept: you can go sideways sometimes, like when you have small kids, then go up the corporate hierarchy later.  Implications? More teleworking?  More satellite offices?

5. “Why Boomers Can’t Quit” is that they don’t have enough retirement savings, but what kind of workplaces are going to be needed for seniors and where do they need to be?

6. ” Women Will Rule Business” and that means a lot more for our workplaces than just pink walls.  Women are consensus builders; what sort of collaborative teaming spaces might they demand?

7. “It Will Pay to Save the Planet” and the jobs thus created could alter the geography of corporations.  Will sun power make Nevada boom?

8. “When GenX Runs the Show”, owing to the baby bust of 1965 to 1978,  there’re not going to be a lot of them to go around.  Companies are going to compete fiercely for capable GenX’ers once the Boomers start retiring.  How can workplace geography and character help attract and retain them.?

9. “Yes, We’ll Still Make Stuff” and America will still need places to make it, but what kind of stuff will it be, where will it be made, and what kind of buildings will we need?

10. “The Last Days of Cubicle Life” It could have been entitled “The Last Days of Going to the Office” — or at least the office as we’ve known it.  Will the cube really die?  How about any type of “office”?  Or is that just wishful thinking?

Pictured above is one of 3,000 submittals to The Office.

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