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Look to the future now - it's only just begun ...

Our predictions for the world of work in 2016

As usual at this time of year, we've been peering at the tea leaves, examining the runes, and scattering the bones.  Here are our own Top Twelve predictions for the coming year, for the future workforce, future working practices, and the changing shape of work.

  1. Apple will scale down its plans for their new self-indulgent status HQ, as costs spiral out of control. And they will discover that people can actually collaborate and innovate when they are not locked in the same building. E.g. by using new-fangled technologies like iPhones, iPads and MacBooks. Funny that.
  2. There will be a strong focus on ergonomics and acoustics in the modern smart office, with new products and techniques coming to the fore.
    This will in part be necessary as new entrants enter the workforce already suffering from RSI, terrible posture and tinnitus from their use of high tech devices since birth.
  3. The first business lounge-style government workhub shared by all central government departments (and maybe a local council or two) will move beyond the drawing board around October in the UK. By the following year we’ll be wondering why it’s only shared between government departments, and not shared with everyone else.
  4. Meanwhile the workhub/coworking explosion will continue, with many new entrants to the market. Expect one in a High Street near you soon, and many more at airports, service stations etc. Some new coworking chains will appear. Expect a major shakeup in the sector in 2017-18 as the weaker / poorly located ones collapse and the industry consolidates around stronger business models.
  5. As the European Union goes through another series of existential crises, almost unnoticed will be the beginning of efficiency measures in the bureaucracy, and the tentative introduction of genuine Smart Working in EU institutions.
  6. Yahoo will reinstitute a telework programme, by a different name, but commentators will continue to write opinion pieces about Melissa Meyer and the ‘backlash against flexible working’. Will normality go unnoticed?
  7. A Middle Eastern nation will launch a major initiative around flexible working. This will unleash a wealth of additional talent and energy into the workforce from a highly educated yet generally under-utilised section of the workforce – the women of the country. The long-term impacts of this will be far-reaching.
  8. There will be an avalanche of new apps based around mobile shared purchasing. I won’t understand any of them, but others will and it will become a massive market. By adaptation shared purchasing of facilities-as-needed will boost the concept of ‘workplace as a service’.
  9. Business social media will take further big strides forward, and some of it will be useful.
  10. Intelligent walls and partitions with embedded interactive screens and AI-enabled worker-recognition will start to feature in workplace design by the end of the year.
  11. By the end of the year we’ll be talking about the “Robotics Divide” - between those who are using, building or customising robotic tools, and those who think this will happen in a galaxy far, far away.
  12. Meanwhile, there’ll be a rearguard action by lost souls trying to resurrect their personalised desk or cubicle – expect a glut of nostalgia articles for the territorial office and the productivity value of surrounding yourself with cascades of your own junk.

We can check how accurate this is at the end of 2016.

Happy New Year!



Prections 2016

New Year 2016


Do you have any predictions?

If you can foresee any great changes coming in the world of work this year, send them in to us.

We'll publish the best of them.

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forward view

Our predictions for the decade in 2010
How accurate are we so far?




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