The future of work and workplaces

Over one third of workers in 17 of the world’s important economies are disengaged. This is what office workspace solutions provider Steelcase discovered when they surveyed nearly 13,000 participants from 17 countries around the globe.

The CEO of this insights-driven brand, Jim Keane had stated, “Businesses need people who come to work energised, ready to generate new ideas, create new strategies and make meaningful progress every day.”

Implying that the impact of employee engagement upon the bottomline is direct, organisations that clue on to this will also realise that the stakes are increasing as we hurtle headlong into a strange new age of artificial intelligence, robotics and Internet of Things.

On top of this, there are still the mounting challenges of talent acquisition and talent retention.

With 60-percent of jobs changing in significant ways by 2030, according to McKinsey’s survey about the impact of digital transformation, how can organisations hope to cope?

McKinsey states that only 15-percent of jobs will actually be eliminated because of emerging technology by 2030, while a Harvard Business Review study finds 84-percent of business leaders believe AI investments will give them a competitive advantage; not too far in the future, robots may come to work if they aren’t already!

PwC also discovers that while better compensation packages is a good way to attract and retain talent, learning and development programmes as well as modernised working environments are the top strategies to keeping talent.


Workplace (or HR) and technology strategies can align to adapt to the changing way people will work. A key enabler to more engaged employees for example, is two-way communication and Steelcase suggests creating a range of spaces to cater to groups and individuals, mobile and resident workers.

With that being said, Steelcase finds that traditional work styles still persist and nearly two-thirds of employees still work in either individual or shared private offices, instead of open, informal and collaborative spaces.

As work and the skills to execute them are being disrupted, the workplace that enables this to some extent has to evolve along with it. This requires closer alignment between human resources departments and technology strategies.