What social, economic, political and technological trends will shape the way we work in the next 10-15 years?
To find out, The Economist Intelligence Unit interviewed ten experts in fields ranging from architecture to ergonomics, in a research project sponsored by Ricoh Europe. In the coming weeks we will publish the ten interviews, in which the experts explain what they believe to be the most important trend.
The growing insecurity of jobs will damage the well-being of workers. Faced with continued globalisation and rapid technological innovation, businesses are under intense pressure to improve their ability to adapt. It is widely believed that this pressure will force many companies to pursue more variable staffing costs by making greater use of temporary or freelance workers.
The future is networks
Professor Henrich Greve from INSEAD believes that companies will need to collaborate with networks of partners to gain access to new knowledge. Customers over the world are becoming more sophisticated and, as a result, so too are the products and services they require. That means that in order to bring new and innovative offerings to market, companies must draw on a wider base of knowledge than ever before.
An uncertain future
As companies seek greater cost variability, jobs will become less secure and companies more transient. In the face of rapid technological change and a globalised economy that allows new entrants to disrupt markets at the drop of a hat, businesses increasingly crave agility. In many cases, companies will seek to achieve that agility by growing the section of their workforce that consists of temporary, part-time or freelance workers.
The future of business organisations lies with fluid alliances of semi-autonomous units. For the last century or more, the business landscape has been dominated by a small number of very large corporations. The consensus has been that managing these organisations in effect meant controlling them tightly from the centre.
Ian Stewart, chief economist at Deloitte, believes the accelerating pace of technology innovation will have the biggest impact on work in the coming decades. The nature and organisation of work will be shaped by a multitude of factors - including economic, technological and demographic - in the coming decades.