This blog post is part of the ‘Think Further’ series sponsored by Fred Alger Management. For more “Think Further” content, please visit www.thinkfurtheralger.com.
Work just isn’t what it used to be. The idea that employees are cogs, managers are slave drivers, and that work itself is drudgery is becoming obsolete. Many organizations around the world are starting to explore and examine what the workplace of the future is going to look like. Of course conversations around millennials, culture, management, workplace design, and the like are common. However, technology is actually the central nervous system that holds everything together. As such, there are three technologies that I believe are going to significantly disrupt the workplace.
AI and Smart Assistants
In the coming years we will see smart technologies that will guide and help us get our jobs done. Think Siri, Cortana, and IBM’s Watson. These are all pieces of software that will “know” how we work, what we are working on, who we should be collaborating with, what makes us more productive, and how we should approach certain projects. These technologies will always be on and behind the scenes yet they will measure, track, analyze, and report on everything we do. Imagine actually being able to talk to a piece of software that can help you work and recommend how and why you should do certain things.
Internet of things
Anything with an on and off switch will eventually be connected to the web. This includes washers, tooth-brushes, printers, cars, lights, toasters, refrigerators, and anything else you can think of. This concept of a truly connected world means dramatic improvements in productivity and efficiency. These devices will all run on their own and “talk” to each other without human involvement. Your alarm will notify your coffee maker when you wake up which will in turn get your car ready to pick you up. The best routes will be calculated for you and your appointment waiting for you at the office will be notified of your arrival time without you having to do a single thing. All of the little inefficiencies in our work and personal lives will disappear.
Today, wearable devices can already measure everything from steps and heart rate to sleep activity and in some cases stress levels and brain activity. Imagine an organization where every employee is equipped with wearable devices ranging from eyewear to clothing to watches to headgear. Our bodies produce a lot of information and with wearable devices we can learn when we are stressed, what causes stress, when we are most productive or sluggish, when we should take a break, if our posture needs improvement, if the food we are eating is negatively impacting us, what we need to do focus more effectively, and much more. This means that organization will be able to better design and create environments for employees to be more engaged, productive, and healthy.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. We are going to see many technological innovations impact the workplace over the coming years. Organizations must start thinking about these new technologies and experimenting with them.
Check out the video below to see TED Speaker Juan Enríquez also look at something interesting called Life Code.