How will your job change by 2030?

06 January 2020

As we enter the 2020s, we’re looking to the future; not next year, but to ten years’ time. What will the world be like in 2030? 

For the final piece in this series, we’re considering what our work lives could look like in ten years. With the next generation of workers demanding more flexibility and better work/life balance, how will companies respond? And can technology help us stay connected to our colleagues? We asked our People Director, Kirstie Hawton, to tell us what she thinks will  change about work by 2030. 

Virtual Reality “Offices”

Increasingly, people are after flexibility from their jobs. Work is an important part of our lives, but we’re realising it’s just that: a part of our lives. Our work needs to flex to suit other areas that are important to us, much like sometimes other bits of our lives flex to fit around our work.

For some of us, flexibility could mean remote working. We’re already seeing more remote working now, either with work from home days or fully remote positions. Yet one of the main problems with remote working is how we interact with our colleagues. Humans are inherently social creatures. We need to be around people in order to be happy, but remote working can be isolating. 

Here’s where technology could really help us out by 2030. By the next decade, we could see virtual office campuses, allowing us to show up to the office from any location. Immersion in the VR world could see employees from all over the globe connected in a single, virtual office, sitting at virtual desks next to virtual versions of their colleagues, as they would if they were together physically. Jobs would automatically become accessible regardless of location, removing barriers for those who cannot or don’t want to relocate. At the same time, you would still get the same social, collaborative feel of working in a team environment.

Going further, interviews conducted over VR could remove unconscious biases; candidates could all be assigned an identical, androgynous, virtual persona and voice during the process, so they would be assessed purely based on the answers they give and their experience. 

Offices of the future 

Despite the move towards greater flexibility and more remote working, there will always be a need for offices. There is only so far technology can go when it comes to fulfilling our need for interaction, so companies will always need a central point to gather at. And there will always be people who work best when they have a reason to put on clothes, leave the house and sit at a desk. But the offices of 2030 could look quite different from those of today. 

With more of the workforce working remotely, there will be less need for fixed desks. Offices will therefore likely have many more hotdesk stations for employees to take advantage of if and when they come into the office. There will be more open areas for collaboration within offices and very little place for cubicles or closed off, individual offices. 

Technology will change in offices, too. If we spend more time working between home and the office, we won’t want to carry heavy laptops around. Instead, we may begin to use tech-enabled glasses to work. Any desk (or coffee shop table) could quickly become a workstation, tailored to your individual needs. That way, you won’t mess up your posture by hunching over a tiny screen.

Companies will likely continue to offer an increasingly wide range of facilities to their employees to improve work/life balance too. We’ll probably see more offices with gyms, pool tables, cafes, creches, and so on, in 2030.

Robot assistants

Who can honestly say that the best part of your day is replying to emails, prioritising or organising your to-do list? Very few of us. But unfortunately, we’re not all in a position to have an assistant help with these tasks. Fast forward to 2030, though, and technology could take these duties off our hands. By then, we could see robot assistants taking control and automating processes like this, freeing up our time to work on other things. 

This doesn’t mean robots will be taking over our jobs. We’ll always need face to face, human interaction for some duties, like creative work and customer-facing jobs, so humans will never be entirely replaced by machines. But some processes would be optimised by tech taking over, so a lot of our jobs are likely to change over the next ten years. We’ll all need to adapt to work with new technology. A couple of great ways to learn more about how to do this are to listen to podcasts or go to events and find out more about the future of AI in the workplace. 

But it won’t just be about us working with technology. New technology will also work for us. We’ll be able to customise our tech to suit our individual needs. Our relationship with technology, like robot assistants, in 2030 will collaborative. 

More than a meal ticket

We strongly believe every business has a responsibility to its employees that goes beyond paying their wages. This means a company looks after its peoples’ mental, physical and financial wellbeing. It means lifting stigma surrounding mental health and offering support through services like Sanctus and Headspace. It means encouraging a healthy work/life balance and trusting people to manage their own schedule and workload. It means building time into the work schedule for volunteering, wellness activities and clubs. By 2030 this view will need to become the norm for employers to find the best talent, and for them to give their employees the best possible experience at work. 

Alongside this, employees will continue to hold their companies’ to higher standards when it comes to business contributions to wider society. People won’t be satisfied working for corporations who don’t care about their impact on the world around them. Because of this, we’ll see more and more businesses working to improve the world we live in, rather than just chasing profit. Companies who fail to do this won’t last long. 

As we conclude our 2030 series, what do you think the future holds? Will we be living in space huts on the moon “commuting” to work using VR in ten years’ time? Or will the world be much the same except the iPhones will be bigger? Tweet us at @OisforOctopus to let us know your thoughts.