How will we work in the future? The analyst firm Gartner outlined six planning assumptions that will characterize work in the next decade and offered advice for chief information officers (CIOs) on how to use those assertions for greater success.
Read the full report, “How We Will Work in 2028.”
Assumption 1: “We Working” will eliminate much of middle management.
The number of middle manager roles will be reduced or eliminated by algorithms and the “We Working” philosophy — a work system that depends on ensembles of autonomous and high-performing teams delivering crucial outcomes. It will become the de facto organizational operating model, tapping both internal and external talent. The rise of algorithmic management — manifest in what Gartner calls “robobosses” — will challenge expectations about what human managers should do.
Assumption 2: Constant upskilling and employee digital dexterity will outweigh tenure and experience.
Employees will be challenged to constantly upgrade their digital dexterity to keep pace with always-evolving software as a service (SaaS) applications, the rapid diffusion of artificial intelligence (AI) services and a strong need for complex problem solving in nonroutine work. With nonroutine work, your job is to come in every day and figure out what your job is and how to do it. It will require extensive data literacy, algorithmic thinking and real-time collaborative skills. Leadership must therefore embrace and require a continuous learning climate.
Assumption 3: Extreme work choices will blur boundaries, businesses and buddies.
Digital businesses, built on vast networks, will increase the distribution of work. We could possibly work with teams across languages, borders and cultures, using avatars, language software, conversational interfaces, and real-time dialect translation to translate and interpret with almost no loss of meaning. Ratings will serve as a proxy for trust and competence in a system where people may not know one another. We will rate our colleagues much as people rate buyers and sellers on purchasing platforms.
Assumption 4: Smart machines will be our coworkers.
Consumer technology, AI, internet-based applications and tons of computing power in smaller devices will change where and how we work. Many of us will recognize that we can achieve more by distributing our tasks among the smart machines, software, apps and avatars in our personal portfolios. Personal infrastructures will enable us to carry our personal workplaces with us by using cloud communities, open applications and personal virtual assistants.
Assumption 5: We will work for purpose and passion, not just money.
We will seek work that challenges us and purpose that drives us. Our social graphs — which represent our relationships in online social networks — will encourage our contributions to social innovation. Because personal tech toolkits are within reach of our personal wallets, we will use them to apply our energy earlier in our lives toward things that matter. Businesses will make themselves attractive not solely by money, but by offering opportunities to make a meaningful impact through our work.
Assumption 6: Work-life challenges will reveal a dark side.
To fuel our upskilling and accept grander assignments, we will feel as if we are working 24×7. Technology will monitor when we have worked too much and need to recharge. Tension will grow as businesses use personal information to issue mandates on aspects of life once considered private. Health, fitness and weight will become proxies for people’s value, commitment and qualifications. Our digital reputation and social graphs will become a prerequisite for employment, again eroding our privacy.
CIOs seeking to master leadership during the next decade must anticipate how these trends will converge to change where, when, why and with whom we will work. To find out more, read the full Gartner report.