We all know it’s not possible to accurately predict the future, but there are some key trends apparent that give us a few clues as to what lies ahead. So, what is the workforce of the future going to like? Will humans be replaced with robots? Are we going to see more automation and augmented reality? Well, in this article we undertake some crystal ball gazing and suggest what the workforce of the future might look like.

The impact of technology

There’s no doubt that the pace of technological change will continue unabated. In fact, recent research suggests that by 2025 up to 40 per cent of jobs will be affected or changed by automation.  And whilst productivity gains from technology won’t necessarily mean less human jobs, what it does mean is that those people will need new tasks, and the incentive to do them.

In addition, we’re likely to see tremendous growth in the use of artificial intelligence, chatbots, intelligent services, machine learning, mobile solutions, and social platforms within the workplace.

So, while the advances in technology are exciting, quite what the full implications will be for humans remains to be seen.

New ways of working

The days of the office as a central hub with employees working 9-5 are numbered. We’re already seeing it to some extent, but it’s likely that there will be a massive rise in contract work and freelancers within an increasingly virtual and global office set up. This means that employers need to be ready for the challenges ahead in terms of workforce planning, recruitment and management in this complex new labour market.

More emphasis on employee wellbeing

It’s already apparent that being connected 24/7 is not good for the long-term mental wellbeing of employees. Burn out is a very real problem that will only become an even bigger issue. The workplace of the future will require staff to be engaged and creative and that’s impossible if your job is making you stressed and distracted. Successful employers of the future will be those that make work enjoyable and engaging and who make that work-life balance a reality for their workforce.

Flexible approach to retirement

The workforce is healthier and living longer, and this trend is only going to continue. Nowadays individuals are also working longer, well into their 60s and often into their 70s and even 80s. Forward-thinking companies are already looking at ways to keep this skilled talent in their workforces, particularly as many industries face increasing skills shortages.  However, the sheer numbers involved mean that companies in the future will need to rethink jobs. For example, many more positions that used to be full time will become part time, and flexible working arrangements as well as remote working will become standard.

The only thing that’s certain is the workforce of the future will be very different from today. While we can’t foresee everything, the business that prepares for the future is likely to be the one that is successful. Make sure your workforce planning takes account of the trends we’ve identified here.