When Margaret Regan from the FutureWork Institute took us on a visual tour through the future workplace, it felt (To Be Honest) like being on the one and only high tech roller coaster in the world. Talking about four different generations who will be populating the workforce pretty soon is the gentle, first part of the ride. The wind is in your hair and you still have a smile on your face.
But then … you see the steep hill before all the loops, twists and turns. You can hardly breathe and there’s no way back. There it comes. Anybots, Avatars, Androids, Drones, Holodecks and ESI’s: Enhanced Singular Individuals who will have the ability to take complex data and process it millions of times faster than a normal human because they have nanobots in their blood stream. Or simply take a smart pill (you didn’t hear that from me). When do you think we will have brain chips? It will be common in 2030. Whaaah!
Thank goodness there are a few more gentle parts in this ride to recover for a moment. Project teams will work like movie production teams based on negotiated talent. The “Third workspace” allows everyone to work anytime, anywhere beyond the office or at home. Telepresence makes you want to shake hands with your colleagues on screen from the other side of the world, so utterly realistic it is. And, of course, you arrange for a crowd-sourced performance appraisal to get immediate feedback on how you did. Technology will allow for having everything on demand and the future workforce expects to get things instantly.
All of a sudden, the ride is over. I feel totally disoriented but thrilled at the same time. I heard from my friend sitting next to me that I screamed. I didn’t even realize it.
So there is only one question left to you as an OD /Change Management practitioner:
What will you do to persuade the executives in your organization to go on that same ride, widen their vision and take action?
Enjoy, wonder and scream. After all, it is almost Halloween.
Anita van Burken
Co-Chair OD & Change SIG, New York City SHRM
Workplace of the Future was a program offered by our NEW Special Interest Group on Organizatinal Development and Change. Stay tuned for more exciting programming. We hope you will join us!