The Future Knowledge Worker
In this guest blog, Jacob Morgan, author, speaker and futurist, shares his vision for how the Internet of Everything will shape the day-to-day lives of future knowledge workers.
As evidenced by the results of Cisco’s 2014 Connected World Technology Report, the future of work will be more collaborative than ever before. As a result, the typical day of tomorrow’s knowledge worker will be dramatically different than it is today.
Consider this early morning scenario:
6:30 a.m. – Most of us today wake up to an alarm clock. But imagine your alarm clock is connected to your coffee maker that automatically starts brewing your coffee and is is connected to your car, which tells you when you need to leave for work based on traffic patterns and weather as you pour your first cup.
7:15 a.m. – While getting dressed and ready for the day, your tablet or wearable device can project your calendar and task list for the day in any room of your house.
7:45 a.m. – You leave for work in your driverless car. Maybe you go to a coffee shop, maybe you go to the office, and maybe you go to a co-working location. The physical space you are going to doesn’t matter much – because you are connected wherever you are.
8:00 a.m. – When you turn on your computer, which has a built-in SMART or social or collaborative operating system within it, the device already knows who you are working with and what projects you are working on. This type of connectivity is just the beginning of how most future knowledge workers will start their day.
Despite the obvious coolness factor of connected cars and coffee makers, the type of work we do will evolve as more people, process, data and things “light up” in an Internet of Everything (IoE) era. Here’s a closer look at a few ways how we work will change:
Goodbye “Busy Work”
Future knowledge workers will be able to spend more time focusing on the creative aspects of getting work done. Mundane tasks such as putting together a PowerPoint presentation or proof-reading a document are going to be managed through automation and robots. In fact, according to Cisco’s 2014 Connected World Technology Report, roughly eight in 10 professionals surveyed believe workers will have robots to assist them with various work-related activities by 2020. In fact, knowledge workers will become obsolete and will they will become “learning workers” as knowledge becomes a simple commodity that anyone can access via a connected device. The real value of an employee will become how they analyze and act on information
Hello to the 30-Hour Work Week
As the future of work evolves, we may see a time where workers are required to work less hours because all of their time is spent focusing on the things that really matter to the business. Thanks to automation, workers will be able to spend less time sorting email and more time focusing on how to get the job done.
Connectivity Does Not Equal Availability
One challenge we see today is the fact that today’s “always-on” workforce is increasingly connected to work in some form. Whether it’s checking email at the dinner table or before bed, there is a notion that because we are connected, we feel like we should be available.
Part of this behavior is cultural – our co-workers are checking email late at night, so we feel we should too! However, We will begin to see a shift in how future knowledge workers balance connectivity with availability, and how they leverage tools to find the right balance for them.
For example, constant, pervasive connectivity will enable them to increasingly manage workloads through automation. Because their calendars and contacts will be synced to everything, projects and tasks will be moving forward – at some pace – whether they are actually actively involved or not.
As the future of work evolves, the role of the knowledge worker shifting to the learning worker is critical. By leveraging the power of the Internet of Everything, they will use the technology and tools available to fundamentally drive business innovation.
Be sure to join the conversation, #FutureOfWork.
• View the Future of Work SlideShare
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• View the Future of IT Podcast: The Future of Work and Collaboration SlideShare
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