What Work May Be Like 15 Years from Now
2030 isn’t that far off. Just ask Prince if he wishes he’d post-dated “1999,” or consider how Back to the Future traveled forward to what’s now our past? Huh? Time flies for sure.
The video below imagines what office life will be like in 2030. Some things are unlikely to change. Hang on to that org chart: You’ll still have a boss. And people will still have to do things together to achieve what can’t be done alone. Beyond that, some of the elements of the future are here already.
Companies have been investing in workers by encouraging them to devote serious—or really, playful—chunks of workweek time to “unofficial” projects that excite them. The hope is that setting employees’ minds free of day-to-day problems feeds their overall productivity and makes them happier. (While many companies continue to experiment with this idea, Google, an early adopter, has ended their unofficial-project program.)
Teleconferencing may be just an early step toward a more virtual workplace. There are companies already working to free the videoconference from the boardroom through the use of “telepresence robots” that move around the office. Already companies are experimenting with letting employees work from wherever they want—instead of being stuck to a permanently assigned workspace—or at home.
How about a workday that begins with a greeting from your 3D holographic boss? This would be a boss who “watches” you throughout the day using tracking software to monitor your work through your computer and your health through sensors. Yes, the company may be able to helpfully suggest personalized physical activities and breaks, but let’s hope micro-managing doesn’t devolve into nano-managing, with paranoid bosses free to roam your synapses and bloodstream instead of today’s hallways.
Of course, it’ll still be up to you to stay awake during the 2030 equivalent of PowerPoint presentations that hopefully won’t be broadcast directly into our brains. But while work will always be work, the hope is that new technologies will help it become more rewarding, enjoyable, and productive.