In a change from the advertised programme, eschewing pointless predictions and tyrannical resolutions, the workessence team sent an investigator to take a look at the ever-proliferating conferences and smattering of blog posts on work and the workplace about to occur during 2013, to save you the bother and expense of attending or reading anything. Just think how much of your life you can claw back.
Instructions: read as quickly as you can. It’s more fun that way. And you’re probably on a conference call.
The future of work: it’s going to be dispersed flexible agile dexterous and very bendy and driven by presence-mimicking technology and sophisticated collaborative tools replicating our everyday functionality that mean we don’t have to be in the office at all ever again (hooray, maybe) so we don’t need to commute with all of the other people who don’t have any choice because they are condemned to process monitored roles in the taylorist tradition like this black and white photo of an old office with people sitting in rows at typewriters and so our carbon footprint shrivels to that of an amoeba until we take the whole extended family on holiday to the Caribbean and yet the office is actually quite useful and brings us together because there is really no substitute for genuine face-time especially if you have a café with real lattes and of course you can’t go for a beer online and so we may well need the office after all because it’s a club and a club is a good thing. Isn’t it?
Technology: it’s great because its liberated us from all sorts of stuff that we can’t think of and we have social tools and channels we never had before to meet new people and expand our networks and share pictures of glasses of wine we are having with other people or probably on our own wishing we were with other people and we can all quip about our favourite operating system which of course isn’t windows as a matter of principle but then again its maybe not such a good thing because we are always on 247365 despite the existence of the off button or a flat battery and we will never get another job again because of that beach party photo on facebook with the swedish volleyball team we’re dopamine slaves it’s like our lives have been intruded upon irrevocably and will be a lot more and the next thing our fridge will be online and spying on our eating habits and reporting them to MI5 or someone else secret and untouchable and so we should be very frightened. Probably.
Workplace design: it’s all about collaboration and team spaces because we all work much better together and no-one wants to sit at a desk and do e-mails because that’s all so last year we want to sit around in huddles on soft things with culturally obtuse names that took longer to source than the product took to design so we cram all of the desks over in the corner on top of themselves because they are so not de rigueur and instead put in slides and tabletennistables and climbing walls because we all spend the majority our lives at the office or maybe don’t anymore and everything has to look like a poodleplex or it won’t win an award but it’s been proven that some people work better alone there was a TED talk about it along with a talk about everything else and we can’t forget that personal introspective time is vital because we lose 95% of our productive day being disturbed by unproven statistics based on a representative sample of five people at the burger van on the A13 and we shouldn’t shun the quiet unsocial types and need to design space that suits them too because there is a chance that under their enormous noise-reducing headphones they may be doing great work even if they can’t play tabletennis. Potentially.
Wellbeing: will be the issue of the decade because it’s the silent killer but not so silent because of all the documentaries on junk-view TV about it and at last a major feature in a quality publication this time the Economist but no-one can make up their mind whether the causes are socio-economic or a matter of personal lifestyle choice and whether any form of treadmill desk or tea break boot camp or having your bonus based on your resting heart rate impacts our fundamental freedom of choice or whether we are in reality helpless pre-programmed snicker-snorting drones so we’ll carry on talking about it and burn a few calories worrying about it but probably not actually do much, or anything. At all.
Engagement: it’s all about engagement to avoid the enragement and estrangement of the derangement of the times, our working lives need to have meaning and purpose injected into soft tissues so we don’t fall into the existential abyss because we couldn’t possibly take any personal responsibility for all this because it’s our employers responsibility or maybe it isn’t and our emotional intelligence could be our bungee cord that offsets the discord or we could solve it all with a survey and bake four and twenty questions in a pie chart and put it all in a massive slide deck and slide out the laundry chute and dust ourselves down pretend we were never here and go and have a coffee and think about it. Or not.
But do enjoy the year.