How Technology Will Change The Future Of Work

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Ever think about how technology will change the future of work?

Way back in 2001, Ray Kurzweil, Futurist and Chief Engineer at Google, wrote an essay titled “The Law of Accelerating Returns.” He said, “We won’t experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century — it will be more like 20,000 years of progress [*].”

And in a PwC survey of 10,000 people in China, Germany, India, the UK, and the US, 59% believed technology breakthroughs will “significantly transform” how people work in the next five to 10 years [*].

Many of us have witnessed incredible advancements first-hand in our careers. Just think about the tech stack you were using 20, 10, or even just five years ago. You’ve probably upgraded nearly every aspect of your digital life since then.

So in this post, we’ll explore how technology may change the future of work. We’ll also share a few tips about what you can do to get ahead of these predictions before you’re left behind. 

How Technology Will Change the Future of Work: 4 Predictions To Prepare For Today

When it comes to hiring, stats show that 69% of of the world’s most admired companies value curious, fast learners more than those with an impressive career history [*].  

So if you want to future-proof your career, start upskilling or even reskilling based on these emerging trends. Then you’ll stand out to hiring teams and thrive in any workplace.

Here’s how we predict technology will change the future of work:

We’ll Enter the Hybrid Work Era and Use Virtual Spaces to Connect

According to Microsoft’s Future of Work Report, we’re “entering a new era in the geography of work: the Hybrid Work Era [*].”

Digital technologies will shape the Hybrid Work Era like the rise of steel-frame construction supported the Skyscraper Era and access to cars furthered the work commute in the Suburbs Era before.

We saw the rapid adoption of remote work during the Covid-19 pandemic thanks to cloud-based software. As organizations and employees realize the benefits of working remotely, few are willing to return to the office full-time.

Experts say the desire for workplace flexibility will continue for the foreseeable future.

So hybrid work models will become the norm, and employees will split their time between on-site and WFH locations. Even greater numbers will become 100% remote, working on fully-distributed global teams.

Improvements in WFH technologies will focus on fostering collaboration, team connections, and communication. And this tech will become just as revolutionary as video calls and cloud file-sharing once were:

The Digital Workspace and Virtual HQs

Remote workers often struggle with loneliness, isolation, and awkward online social gatherings with their coworkers. But forward-thinking startups are tackling these issues with bespoke virtual spaces for every kind of interaction.

Once an organization creates its digital headquarters, employees can virtually gather, work, and socialize together. Employees can customize their virtual desk, walk in and out of conversations with coworkers, attend meetings, and more. 

This technology makes it easier to bring distributed teams together in one space and makes those interactions more human, spontaneous, and engaging. Real-time collaboration and connection will flourish here, just like in a traditional office setting.

Anyone can log in to these virtual spaces without a virtual reality (VR) headset, so they’re super accessible. Since many remote teams are experimenting with virtual HQs, we predict their widespread adoption very soon. 

Brainstorming, Training, and Working in the Metaverse

Extended reality, which includes VR, augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR), promises to simulate our 3D world in a digital setting. With the help of a VR headset, your personal avatar can walk around, hang out, and interact with people and objects in this virtual space known as the metaverse.

According to research presented in Microsoft’s Future of Work Report, meetings in the metaverse may boost entitativity, or the feeling of being part of a group. While this prerequisite for positive team meetings is limited in Zoom calls, it skyrockets in the metaverse. So team dynamics there may be equal to face-to-face interactions [*].

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. 

💫 Check out our guide on How Remote Working Will Change with the Metaverse for more exciting possibilities

We’ll Welcome the Rise of Human-Machine BFFs

When you think about why jobs of the future won’t feel like work, you have to thank advancements in robotic process automation (RBA), artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML). This tech won’t be used to take our jobs but to improve our work lives.

Automate the 80%

The 80-20 rule is a principle that says 20% of what you do results in 80% of your outcomes. In other words, people only spend about 20% of their work day on tasks that yield the best results [*]. But what if we could improve that ratio with automation?

Researchers from McKinsey say 60% of roles can be partially automated [*]. RBA software automates repetitive chores and puts an end to monotonous, tedious work. This then frees up human brains for more creative thinking, strategizing, coworker engagement, and other tasks that move the needle.

From higher productivity rates to happier employees, hyperautomation will see a huge uptick in the next few years. Organizations will deploy this “business-driven, disciplined approach to rapidly identify, vet, and automate as many business and IT processes as possible [*].”

Throw in a bit of AI, and you get intelligent process automation (IPA). This might mean more Siri or Alexa-like AI assistants to take over and improve the efficiency of time-wasting work chores.

Besides giving us more time to crush tasks that matter, automation should also create a healthier work-life balance and lower stress levels. We know 89% of professionals admit to suffering from burnout, so this would be an ideal way for companies to support mental health in the workplace [*]. 

Work Smarter with Your AI Assistant

Forrester researchers forecast that AI software will grow 50% faster than the overall software market over the next two years [*]. Though AI has been a trending buzzword for a while, we’re still only at the beginning of its capabilities. 

You’re probably using AI text completion and summarization on Google Docs and formula prediction on Sheets, for example. But AI is getting better at understanding us, performing more complex tasks, and informing better decisions. 

AI-driven tools can help us [*][*]:

  • Analyze mountains of data to find valuable connections and insights.

  • Predict resource utilization and changing patterns in customer or employee behavior.

  • Track early warning signs of interpersonal issues on teams based on their communication.

  • Automatically flesh out ideas into presentations, whitepapers, email responses, data-driven strategies, etc.

  • Utilize AI-based coaches to teach employees new skills, walk them through training processes, follow up on performance, etc.

AI summarization may even open the door for asynchronous meetings. If you can’t make that Zoom call, an AI-powered bot can capture a full rundown of highlights and talking points. Then it may use everyone’s suggestions and pull in your company’s data to suggest intelligent action plans [*].

A Flat Hierarchy Will Turn Managers Into Career Coaches

“Up to 65% of the tasks a manager currently does has the potential to be automated by 2025,” according to data from the Harvard Business Review [*]. As managerial tasks are automated away, we’ll see AI take over duties like approving expense reports, setting employee performance goals, managing the workflow, and more. 

We’ll need to completely redefine the role and expectations of a manager in the future. These roles may become more like internal career coaches to:

Technology will allow future managers to make a more personal impact and empower their teams rather than simply “managing” what they’re doing.

Demand for People with Tech Skills
and Soft Skills Will Spike

Advances in tech will mean candidates with a combination of tech skills for remote work and soft skills will gain a competitive advantage. So to upskill for the future:

Keep Your Tech Skills Sharp, No Matter Your Role

Workers with tech backgrounds are in high demand now and will be even more sought after in the next few years. Programmers, engineers, developers, data scientists, IT experts, etc., all have bright futures. 

Bonus: Most of the best paying remote jobs are and will be in technology.

So what if you’re not a tech worker? You’ll need to show future employers that you score high in:

1. Digital literacy, which is how easily, confidently, and successfully you navigate current and emerging technology. To boost your digital literacy:

  • Keep up with the latest features and upgrades across all the digital tools, apps, and software people in your field use.

  • Learn how to automate tasks and use shortcuts to improve your efficiency.

  • Master remote communication and collaboration in different messaging platforms, project managers, etc.

  • Secure all your files, devices, and workstations with the newest cybersecurity tips. 

2. Data literacy, which is how well you work with, understand, and leverage data. Organizations collect so much valuable intel, but they need employees to discover and put those insights to good use. People with high data literacy skills challenge assumptions and ask questions, then use data to strategize a game plan.

Level Up Your Emotional Intelligence and Soft Skills 

AI doesn’t have the interpersonal or “social skills” required in the workplace. So emotional intelligence and various soft skills may keep humans employable in the future. 

Emotional intelligence refers to your ability to identify and manage your emotions and recognize the feelings of others. Skills like self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, and empathy fall under this category.

🙌 Related: Learn How To Score High Emotional Intelligence In The Workplace

Hard skills demonstrate your proficiency in a specific discipline (such as a coding language or certification). But soft skills embody your personality, traits, and work style. Some of the most in-demand soft skills are time management, leadership, and communication.

💡Related: All The Skills To Put On A Resume To Land Your Dream Remote Job

Start improving those human talents, and you’ll be a standout candidate for hiring teams now and in the years to come.

Technology Will Create New Roles of the Future

A 2020 report revealed that “85% of jobs that will exist in 2030 have not been invented yet [*].” Based on the trends we highlighted in this post, we can predict the top remote companies will start adding these positions to their ranks:

  • Extended Reality Architect
  • Virtual Architect
  • AR/VR Support Engineer
  • Director of Metaverse Engineering
  • Avatar Creator
  • Human-Technology Liaison
  • AI Research Scientist
  • AI or Coding Ethics Specialist
  • AI Engineer
  • AI Architect
  • Machine Learning Engineer
  • Automation Recruiter
  • Automation Specialist
  • Automation Engineer
  • Robot Monitoring Professional
  • RPA Developer
  • RPA Analyst
  • RPA Architect

The good news is you can teach yourself many of the fundamentals these roles require today.

Are You Ready for How Technology Will Change the Future of Work? 🚀

Technology’s moving at the speed of light, and it has the potential to transform the future workplace into a more efficient, enjoyable place to be. So consider brushing up on all the skills we discussed in this post to stay one step ahead of this rapid progress. 

Psst! If you want to jump into the Hybrid Work Era, you’ll find the best remote jobs on We Work Remotely. See what’s out there now!

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