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Generation Y

The Office Of The Future: A Gen Y's Vision And Executive Predictions

Josh Ingalls, a certified Gen Y recruiting pro (Campus Relations Consultant) for Principal Financial Group recently posted a Fistful of Talent article about the workforce of the past and what's likely to come into vogue in the future.

Josh Ingalls, a certified Gen Y recruiting pro (Campus Relations Consultant) for Principal Financial Group recently posted a Fistful of Talent article about the workforce of the past and what's likely to come into vogue in the future.

Josh wrote about walking in on a conversation among Boomers who were reminiscing about the dawn of their careers almost 25 years ago, including:

  • Ashtrays at every desk.  It didn’t matter if you smoked; you had to have an ashtray at your desk, in case a smoker stopped by because they were not to drop ashes on the floor.
  • One computer (called a terminal) on a “Lazy Susan” in the middle of 5 desks.  When you needed it you just twisted it to face you and shared it with your teammates.

Josh's post reminded me of AMC's Emmy and Golden Globe-winning series, Mad Men. Mad Men is set in the 1960s at a fictional advertising agency on Madison Avenue in New York City and depicts the changing social mores of that era. 

When you see the workplace clouded in smoke and its employees drinking on the job, with the 'skirts' working as secretaries and only Caucasian men in executive roles, you are reminded how dramatically different the world of work is today.

Josh's article goes on to predict what stories Gen Ys will be telling in 25 years. After all, advancements in technology are speeding up, not slowing down. It is very likely there will be even more drastic change in a Gen Y's lifetime than that of past generations.

Josh made the following predictions of the future at work:

· Video conferencing will dominate the interview scene. The next generation of recruiters will find it hard to believe we actually made hiring decisions based on a phone call. Video conference technology will be much less expensive and utilized by all recruiters. 

· College Career Fairs will not exist. Due to more efficient selection the utility of career fairs will fall to a point where they are no longer attended by employers. 

· Assessment use will be much more prolific. With advancement comes a drive to quantify decision making, and assessments are a great way to do this for hiring.  Employment law will eventually catch up to the fact that good assessments are much less biased than hiring managers.

· Your LinkedIn profile will have a section to upload your genetic report card. This will allow recruiters to consider your potential health care costs.

A research study released by OfficeTeam titled, Office of the Future: 2020, predicts the future office will be increasingly mobile, with technology enabling employees to perform their jobs from virtually anywhere. As a result, employees will likely be working more hours.

In addition to interviews with workplace and technology experts, futurists, and trend watchers, OfficeTeam surveyed workers and executives at the nation’s 1,000 largest companies. Among the predictions for 2020:

· Technology tools will provide even greater flexibility. Miniature wireless devices, WiFi, WiMax and mobile technology will continue to allow a company’s staff to work outside of the office with greater ease. Additionally, virtual environments and web-based conferencing services will provide off-site employees with real-time access to meetings, reducing the need to travel.

· Improved wireless connectivity will allow for an increasingly flexible workforce. Eighty-seven percent of executives surveyed believe telecommuting will increase in the next 10 to 15 years.

· Staff to put in more time. Forty-two percent of executives surveyed by OfficeTeam think employees will be working more hours in 10 to 15 years. Only 9 percent said they would be working fewer hours.

· Companies/employees take a new view on work-life balance. People may put in more time, but they will do so using tools that provide more control over their schedules and enable them to better balance priorities. There will be an increasingly blurred line between work and other activities–including vacation time.

If I were to predict the future, I would predict that tomorrow’s workforce will be less hierarchical and defined by roles and more about giving people ample opportunities to learn and lead and move into various roles based on their interests and strengths. I also believe our workplaces will become even more health-focused with walking workstations and environmentally-friendly practices.

With a pending Boomer retirement wave and massive influx of Generation Y – the largest generation in history– all statistics point to a workplace that will be dominated by people under the age of 40, which will redefine the workplace and work itself. It’s going to be an amazing transformation to observe, no matter what happens.

What do you think the future will bring? Please share your thoughts and ideas with our readers.

Sarah Sladek

Concerned about declining engagement in our nation’s membership associations, non-profits, and workplaces, Sarah Sladek founded XYZ University, the nation’s first and only generations-focused training and engagement strategy company, in 2002.

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