The Future of Work is almost here!
Last night, I had a really interesting dream about the workplace of the future. Are you ready? Because the future of work is almost here!
It was 2030. I arrived at the shared office space in a driverless Uber. I’d booked it the night before and it got up our narrow Cornish lane, like a dream.
On my way to the office in the driverless Uber, I used my Smart Visor to book a Smart Train (individual pods/car joined together to form a train) for an upcoming face to face business trip to the South East.
If I’d have told you that back in 2022 – you would have raised your eyebrows. Those mechanisms didn’t exist back then, but are common place in 2030. The world is constantly transforming.
When I arrived at the workplace, I unlocked the doors using an access control on my visor. I said hello to Ronnie the Robot on Reception and he helped me to sign in. He was built a little like Buzz Lightyear. But, astonishingly, when I peered closer, I could see that behind the visor, he had a definite look of Ronnie O’Sullivan. No wonder he was called Ronnie, I mused and I wondered whether he had a good snooker arm?
Once inside, I noted that the office seemed to look different every time I visited it. On days when more people wanted to be on-site, there were more individual smart stations that had been set up, ready and available. These work stations set themselves up automatically, depending on how many people registered to work in the office that day.
It seemed that I had my own profile that tracked my work preferences and that was really handy, given I am disabled. The furniture had built itself overnight – dependant on how the employees needed to use the workplace. The mechanical facilities also created socially-distanced floor plans and Smart Technology telegraphed digitally which areas of the workplace had been sanitised and when. I found the smart desk that I’d reserved the night before really easily.
It was flashing my favourite colour and gently played the first few bars of my welcome tune – ‘I’m in the mood for dancing’, by the Nolan Sisters!
At 10am, I made my way to the onsite Recording Room and recorded our latest podcast with Olly, who was in his home office in Hertfordshire.
When I felt I needed privacy, Ronnie the Robot pumped up a temporary wall, made of balloons that looked a bit like bricks. He did this in 60 seconds flat. It became a lovely pop up meeting space.
Next a Teams notification to my visor alerted me that my guest had arrived in Ronnie the Robots Reception and I messaged back to Ronnie and my Guest to say, ‘I am on my way’.
I lead my guest to the private pop up balloon space for the meeting. In the room was a ‘wormhole’……a TV camera as big as the wall. It was life size.
My guest and I had a meeting with a colleague from our Nottingham office. It was as if we were in the same room! My colleague is 6 ft and I am 5ft 2. When we stood against the screen – she towered over me as she would do face to face. We were there for some time and a voice, that sounded a bit like Ronnie the Robot’s little sister, reminded us to take a short break. How thoughtful these robots are.
I wanted to find another colleague to have a meeting in the on-site Tea Room. Monitors on the wall showed me who was in the building that day and which floor they were working on. I found Sam and we sipped Assam Tea, in the busy but relaxing space, while we collaborated on a proposal for a new client.
Truro – The Smart Capital of the UK
The proposal was for the people who manage the driverless car network that is new to Truro. They want to introduce some customer focus language using NLP into their announcements.
Truro is now known as the Smart Capital of the UK. It has more remote and hybrid workers per capita than any other part of the UK. The Future of Work is here!
After hours those monitors that guided me to find my colleague, became portals. Other members of the workforce joined the company Pilates session from the comfort of their own home. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed Ronnie the Robot had converted the Board Room table into…..yes, you’ve got it – a full size snooker table!
Post Pilates, I left for home. Ronnie said good evening and helped me sign out. I asked him if he was staying overnight at the office. He said he was and pointed to a little green box on the wall. ‘That’s where I will recharge for another busy day. G’night my lovely’.
What a lovely robot, I thought.
As I travelled home to St Agnes in my driverless Uber, I reflected on my day. It’s not about the office, it’s about belonging. To retain employees, Leaders must build community, cohesion, a sense of affinity and fellowship. And they must start now, because the future of work is almost here!
Dreams do come true. If I had told you that I was in an Uber, booking an Airbnb on my smart phone just 13 years ago – you’d have thought I’d lost it! Now it’s part of everyday life thanks to some forward thinking entrepreneurs.