Planning for the Workforce of the Future

Future-proofing your business is challenging, particularly when you consider the rate at which business and tech are evolving in the 21st century. While it may be a challenge, there is, of course, still plenty you can do to prepare for what lies ahead, with your workforce being one key aspect.

By taking the time to identify your future employees’ must-have skills and qualities, identifying their values and finding innovative ways to improve productivity and morale, you can futureproof your workforce and company.

Read on to discover what may turn out to become some of the most important changes for the workforce of the future.


An Adaptable Workforce

One of the most important traits employees must possess is in the modern workforce is adaptability. Today, more so than ever, it’s impossible to predict how organisations and the surrounding business landscape will evolve. Because of this, it’s important that a company’s workforce has the personality to navigate the ever-changing needs of an organisation with ease.

Strict job descriptions will become a thing of the past, with businesses instead supporting flexibility within roles. Ongoing learning and an entrepreneurial spirit will be actively encouraged, as companies seek to stay on top of developments and emerging trends.

To ensure the longevity and profitability of your business, organisations should actively encourage and reward ongoing learning or retraining within the company. By incentivising adaptability and opening up routes to continuous learning and education, you’ll safeguard the future of your workforce and business.

Confident mature businessman giving a presentation to his team


Innovative Office Design

Practises such as hot desking were meant to improve teamwork and knock down the barriers built by the dreaded office cubicle. However, research has shown that this wasn’t necessarily the case in reality.

While shared-desk policies were beneficial for some highly mobile and autonomous workers, the majority of employees found it distracting and counter-productive. With this in mind, companies may find the need to look beyond an open office plan and a shared desk space to secure the long-term productivity of their workforce.

The same way employers expect their staff to be adaptable, businesses must be adaptable to suit their employees. This means, giving them the working environment that lets them work productively.

A one-size-fits-all working environment simply doesn’t work and innovative employers are realising this and taking action.

The Palette of Places is the office design of the future, and is about creating multiple different working spaces to suit each individual’s working style. Are you productive in a busy cafe-style environment or do you need complete silence to focus? Whatever your style, the office of the future will be able to accommodate each employee and ensure organisations get the best out of their staff.

Millennial Values

35% of American labour force participants are now Millennials, making them the largest generation in the U.S. labour force, according to research by Pew Research Center. That means Millennial values, such as finding meaning in work, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and work-life balance, will need to be central pillars of future corporate culture.

Young business team discussing


Millennial employees place greater importance on flexible working options than any other perk. The desire to achieve the ideal work-life balance fuels the need for a more flexible work environment. In a recent survey by Comparably, 34% of Millennials responded that they prioritise work-life balance over career advancement.

Businesses need to take heed of this trend, and make sure their workplace is geared towards a flexible working environment. By encouraging this, organisations are prioritising the happiness of their employees, which in turn can influence a low staff turnover and increased productivity.

As Richard Branson said, “Don’t be doing all the time, put time aside to just be. All work and no play is a sure-fire path to fatigue.”

Artificial Intelligence and Smart Technology

Another undeniable influence on the workforce of the future, will be the continuing march of technology, automation and artificial intelligence (AI). The rise of smart technology isn’t something that should feared, but in fact embraced by employees and businesses alike.

By embracing technology, and encouraging its use within the workplace, businesses will have the power to increase productivity and boost efficiencies. Something as simple as a virtual assistant, has the power to seamlessly organise your day and tasks, meaning you’ll never miss a meeting again.

While assisted intelligence, in the form of virtual assistance and chatbots, are already a mainstay of the modern office, augmented intelligence is a future technology that businesses can prepare for now. Augmented intelligence reinforces the role of human intelligence instead of replacing it with robotic learning.

Augmented Intelligence will process data extremely efficiently and present it in such a way to allow humans to make the best possible decision. Employees and organisations who embrace AI will benefit in untold quantities and ensure their organisation is positioned for ongoing success.


Read more about AI and other key tech trends that Irish businesses need to prepare for in our blog ‘7 Trends Irish Businesses Need to Prepare for in 2018’ or visit the Virgin Media Business blog for more of the latest business insights.