Work 2035: Prepare for a More Intelligent Future

AI-augmented employees will be more engaged, twice as productive, and more innovative

In a world where it’s hard to predict what will happen tomorrow, it’s tough to say what the future of work holds. But businesses that hope to emerge from the global pandemic in a stronger, better position need to be thinking about — and planning for future models — today.

Work has forever changed. And while some organizations are struggling to keep pace amid the constant disruption that’s rattling the world, others are using this time to embrace new, flexible work models and cultivate a workforce that is empowered to adapt to changing conditions and innovate quickly.

And they are wise to do so, because while the future may be uncertain, a new study conducted by Oxford Analytica and Coleman Parks with support from Citrix, makes a few things clear when it comes to what the workforce, work models and work environment may look like in 2035 and the role that technology will play in shaping them.

Robots will not replace humans — But they will make us smarter and more efficient. More than three-quarters of 500 C-Suite leaders and 1,000 employees across five countries surveyed (77 percent) believe that in fifteen years, artificial intelligence (AI) will significantly speed up the decision-making process and make workers more productive.

New Jobs will be created — New roles will emerge to support a technology-driven workplace and the changing relationship between humans and machines, including:

· Robot / AI trainer

· Virtual reality manager

· Advanced data scientist

· Privacy and trust manager

· Design thinker

Work will be more flexible — Technology that allows for seamless access to the tools and information people need to collaborate and get work done wherever they happen to be will fuel flexible models that the future of work will demand.

· 67 percent of professionals (business leaders and workers combined) believe that a “platform” model — which creates value by facilitating exchanges between groups or individuals using digital technology — will dominate work in the future.

· 60 percent of workers believe permanent employees will become rare by 2035.

· 80 percent of leaders believe that technology platforms will provide instant access to the highly specialized, on-demand talent required to power future organizations and accommodate rapid changes in business and customer needs.

· 39 percent of leaders believe that in 2035, the majority of high-value specialist workers will be on-demand and freelance workers.

Leadership will have a new look –More than half of those surveyed (57 percent) believe AI will make most business decisions and potentially eliminate the need for senior management teams.

· 75 percent think most organizations will have a central AI department overseeing all areas of the business.

· 69 percent believe that the CEO will work in a human-machine partnership with a Chief of Artificial Intelligence (CAI).

Productivity will get a major boostTechnology, closely integrated with humans, will drive step changes in productivity as workers are supported by solutions that enable them to perform at their best. “AI-ngels” — digital assistants driven by AI — will draw on personal and workplace data to help employees prioritize their tasks and time and ensure mental and physical wellness.

These worker augmented assistants will, for example, schedule meetings to take place at the most effective time based on factors ranging from the blood sugar levels of participants to their sentiments at different times of day. And while the meetings are taking place, they will monitor concentration levels and attitudes and adjust as necessary to drive optimal outcomes.

More than half of professionals surveyed (51 percent) believe technology will make workers at least twice as productive by 2035.

Employee engagement will improve — As technology and AI takes over time-consuming, mundane tasks, work will become more strategic and employees more engaged.

· 83 percent of professionals believe that by 2035, technology will automate low-value tasks, freeing workers to focus on the meaningful work they want and are paid to do.

· 79 percent say it will be a significant factor in upskilling human workers, creating new opportunities for personal development and career growth.

Innovation and growth will soar — Organizations will invest more in technology and AI than human capital. This will open the door to unprecedented levels of innovation and new revenue streams and fuel sustainable growth — particularly among small businesses.

· 90 percent of business leaders believe that in 2035, AI technology investment will be the biggest driver of growth for their organization.

· 72 percent of professionals believe that by 2030, AI will generate more revenue for their organization than human workers.

· 63 percent of professionals believe that technology will level the playing field and convey advantage to small companies.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced companies to reimagine the way things get done, and over the next 15 years, they will face more challenges and disruptions than ever. But within this chaos lies opportunity. Savvy companies will use this crisis to begin planning for the “next normal”. Not just return to where they were, but to embrace new workforce and work models to power their business forward.

Tim Minahan is Executive Vice President of Business Strategy at Citrix, a leading provider of digital workspace solutions that power a better way to work.

Tim Minahan is the executive vice president, business strategy and chief marketing officer at Citrix, a leading provider of digital workspace solutions.

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