Work 2028: Trends, Dilemmas and Opportunities

Flexible working hours, open-plan offices, home offices and agile methods already characterize the way we work today. Artificial intelligence and underlying algorithms indicate what's to come. Over the next ten years, the workplace will see significant changes, surpassing everything that happened in the last decade. What's coming, what's on its way out and what will remain? The study "Work 2028: Trends, dilemmas and opportunities" offers an outlook and some thought-provoking theses.

The future is difficult to describe or predict. Only vague ideas and cloudy terms for future concepts exist. On the eve of the launch of the iPhone nobody had the slightest idea that social networks, platform economics or digital ethics would emerge and play a critical role.

What will work look like in ten years’ time? Although we do not have an answer to this question yet, we shall explore some possible scenarios today. In a joint study with consulting firm Detecon International and Henley Business School, we take a glimpse at future HR trends and concepts such as "man-machine management," "gig leadership," "holacracy," "hybrid unit," "fluid organization," "co-creation" and "wireless ad-hoc network." After all, one thing is certain: new technologies will lead to changes in the workplace and thus the working culture. Employee expectations will change – the generation "Alpha" will be technology-savvy, and unafraid to make decisions. Employers seeking to recruit and retain such young employees have to offer them attractive conditions and packages and be willing to adapt to their employees’ needs.

16 Theses on the Future of Work

Such trends are forcing companies to make some key decisions. On introducing new technologies, for example: Which ones? When? Where should they be used? More generally, what skills and character traits will tomorrow's employees and leaders have to bring to the workplace? How do leadership and collaboration change? Our study “Work 2028: Trends, dilemmas and opportunities" surveyed 50 managers regarding these challenges – and a number of others in the areas of society, organizations, work and leadership. The study highlights key trends and presents plausible relevant scenarios. With the 16 theses we aim to stimulate discussion, set impulses and raise awareness about the changes heading our way.

ubiquitous digitalisation
Informed disorientation
Need for belonging
a cry for societal purpose
Size does not matter
Srewed-up failure culture
Analog as twin of digital
Work is all or nothing
Tech-driven radical transparency
Episodic loyalty
The good, the bad and the ugly of leadership
Leading hybrid work forces
Top management as central hub
Leading for radical human centricity
Leadership development unlearned

The complete study is available here: Work 2028

Invention will become the norm

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.

(Henry Ford)

Since well before the industrial revolution, it has been obvious that innovation happens only when people think out of the box. And it is clear that the new tools on which long-term success now depends are openness, creativity and flexibility. Our study shows that those who would shape change have to learn to accept change as a constant companion – and to use it, rather than fight it. This applies equally to companies, to our society as a whole and to each one of us.

More facts and figures on the future of work

Link for PDF download: INFOGRAPHIC


What do you think?

Are you excited about work in 2028? With which theses do you agree or disagree and why?

Share your opinion on Twitter and LinkedIn!


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