Megatrends and the future of work

Work changes, as it always has

After living for the past year and half in unnormal circumstances, the whole world is asking the same question;” what is the new normal and has the work changed permanently and how?”

No one has a crystal ball to give the answer, but there are some tools in our use to predict the future. These are facts combined to our imagination.

Megatrends help us design the future

Urbanization will keep on growing. Approximately 85% of all world’s population is living in cities when we reach 2100 (YK). This means bigger cities, more traffic jams, more life balance hustle etc. Digitalization as another megatrend might be able to change the course of this development. From service designers’ point of view pandemics era opened many opportunities for designing new digital ways of working. This means abilities to work from wherever and whenever.  There are also many opportunities in solving the growing challenges of big cities by designing human centric smarter solutions.

Environmental crisis keeps challenging us all. Global warming means raising sea levels, which means that 800 million people’s habitation is in danger. Environmentally friendly solutions are needed fast. From work point of view this means we need new kind of professionals to clean tech, rescue workers, to construction industry etc. But is there something we can do only by designing thigs better? Can we optimize the remote work so that we drive less and cause less CO2 pollution? Can office spaces be more space efficient and, in that way, more energy efficient (lesser need for heating, parking space, lightning…)? Can we create carbon sinks that also serve some communal purpose, to office rooftops and yards? Is there still something we have not thought out and something that opens also new business opportunities to someone?

Aging is one obvious megatrend that also changes our working life. In the future the need for many senior services is needed. There are also less and less working aged people to do all the work. We need more sophisticated digital solutions to help in this dilemma. WE also need immigrants. This means more multicultural workplaces. Designing workplaces for people from different ethnic background requires understanding from different cultures and their habits. Human centric empathy-based design is one answer to solving this problem. 

So what is then the 1+1 (facts+ imagination) outcome to how work is changing. . .

Most probably we have more AI solutions to help us in many basic work tasks. Maybe the office building recognizes us when we walk in and prepares a suitable workstation according to the tasks we have in our calendar. Maybe even coffee will be automatically made ready. Who knows? 

Probably many of our colleagues work remotely from various locations and join collaborative moments via virtual rooms and mixed reality solutions. Maybe all the technological development eventually connects us more back to nature. This I hope the most.


This Blog was a summary and reflection of Futurist. Elina Hiltunens presentation by SID MBA student Tarja Paanola, Laurea University of Applied Sciences

Mitä kuuluu toimisto –webinaari  by SRV

10.9.2021, duration 2,5h

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