Digitization is increasingly changing our professional life, and with it, the demands of employees in the future workplace are also growing. But how will we work in the future? We have dealt with this question and – primarily based on the study carried out by IDG Research 2017 on the topic of “Workplace of the Future” – put forward five theses on what the future of work will look like.
Five Trends And Developments
Less Presence In The Office
Thanks to the ever-advancing digitization, working from the home office has long been possible without any problems. With cloud computing and laptops, workers can efficiently complete most tasks from home. And availability by phone is no longer a problem these days because, through cloud telephone systems, employees can be reached worldwide on their mobile phone or another IP device under their office number for customers, colleagues, and partners.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be the office. This is also possible from the car or the home office.
Companies are already increasingly offering home offices to increase employee satisfaction and create incentives for potential employees. Almost 60% of the more than 1000 companies surveyed stated that working from home is already possible or should be implemented shortly. We at Placetel also see an increase in terms of a home office. 20% of employees now work from home regularly. Thanks to our cloud solution, even colleagues from the sales and support area can work from the home office with a call center function and always remain available via the hotline. Other colleagues even work temporarily as “digital nomads” from Berlin and Malta and, thanks to the virtual telephone system, always remain networked with all colleagues.
For employees, working from home means more flexibility and a better work-life balance. Of the more than 400 employees surveyed, around 50% said they would like less compulsory presence in the office and more home office. Since the future workplace is linked to the competition for the best-skilled workers, mandatory attendance at the workplace will become less critical, and mobility will become more and more urgent.
More Flexible Working Time Models
According to the IDG Research study, two-thirds of employees would like more flexible working hours, which means a better work-life balance for them. From a company perspective, 44% of those surveyed stated that they either already offer flexible working hours or will soon be able to do so. In our company, this aspect is solved with the help of trust-based working hours. This means that getting the job done is more important than the time the individual employees are present. Therefore, depending on the department, we have flexitime and only certain core working hours, which means that we can start our working day flexibly. The traditional working time model from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. could become less critical in the future.
New Forms Of Cooperation
Good cooperation is essential for the success of a company. For this reason, for almost 44% of the companies surveyed, new forms of collaboration are also part of the working world of the future. These primarily include file sharing, instant messaging, workgroup tools, and web and video conference systems. Conference calls are the most commonly used. More than half of the companies stated that they had already used them.
Since collaboration tools can improve communication and teamwork, we at Placetel trust our UC-One solution. With Placetel UC-One, we have all collaboration tools in just one application. This dramatically simplifies collaboration with BroadSoft teams from other countries. Even if you have never seen each other or don’t know each other at all, you can quickly write to someone via the UC Communicator, call or even start a video conference in HD quality if necessary.
More Frequent Use Of Cloud Solutions
The majority of employees would like to have access to all of the company’s data regardless of location to work from home or on the move and act more flexibly, for example. For this reason, cloud solutions are being used more and more frequently in companies, as the IT infrastructure is provided via the Internet, and employees have access to all the required data wherever there is an Internet connection. As we are a cloud provider ourselves, cloud solutions are part of our corporate DNA. All of the tools we use come from the cloud.
Thomas Gierich, Head of International Solution Sales at T-System, assumes that the use of cloud solutions will increase enormously in the future:
In the future, 85 to 90 percent of corporate IT will come from the cloud. (Thomas Gierich)
Cloud Telephone Systems
Almost 50% of the companies surveyed stated that they already have an IP / cloud-based telephone system in use. Using a cloud telephone system, employees from several locations, field staff, and employees in the home office can be integrated into the same telephone system. In the interview, 28% of the surveyed companies stated that they still have an ISDN telephone system in use, but cloud telephone systems will gradually be replaced. The reason for this is, on the one hand, Telekom’s IP changeover, which should be completed by 2018, and, on the other hand, virtual telephone systems offer many advantages over ISDN telephone systems: More functions, lower connection fees, worldwide accessibility, and much more
Creation Of New Jobs
Many economists are currently involved in a heated discussion. How will robots, computers, and artificial intelligence affect the future of work? Many researchers at Oxford University fear that Industry 4.0 could lead to mass unemployment. They think that around half of all jobs could become superfluous through the use of machines.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) was able to put this statement into perspective. Accordingly, only individual activities, mainly routine activities, could be automated. The OECD analysis showed that in all 21 OECD countries, only an average of 9% of all jobs is threatened by digitization.
However, many experts agree that new inventions often create new jobs. This has been proven to us several times in the past. However, many traditional professions were replaced by industrial production methods during the industrial revolution in the 19th century; industrialization created more jobs than it displaced. And the spread of computers in the 80s also had positive effects on the labor market, so that it can be assumed that this will also be repeated today:
When automation began in the 1980s, it was considered a work destroyer. Nevertheless, there are more employees in Germany today than back then. Industry 4.0 can also bring such great growth impulses that the loss is overcompensated for. In many professions, people will hand over routine tasks to automated systems and use the time for more demanding tasks. When software programs take care of administrative tasks for doctors and nurses, they have more time to talk to patients. So the digital change does not lead to mass unemployment but instead shifts the division of labor and creates new jobs. Because technological progress always results in entirely new needs of people, and this is how jobs arise that you might not even know yesterday that they existed. Professor Kagermann is confident that in the future, more jobs will be created in the areas of IT security, data analysis, and the configuration of robots, which could then primarily take on administrative tasks.
Everyday office life has changed enormously in the last few decades and will continue to do so. The hierarchies are becoming flattered, and the working conditions are becoming more flexible. Companies have recognized the need to accommodate their employees when working from home and flexible working hours to retain them in the long term. Implementation means that the use of cloud solutions and collaboration tools is becoming more and more critical. This means that employees can access the data they need from home or when they are on the move, and they always remain networked with one another.
There is disagreement about whether digitization will result in mass unemployment or pave the way for new jobs. However, the past has shown that technological change is more likely to create new jobs than destroy old ones. In the future, robots will probably not take our jobs away from us but rather support us with some tasks, e.g., in administration, so that we have more time for more critical studies.