What Is The Future Of Work? Are We In It?

It’s safe to say a lot of things have changed in 2020, especially when it comes to the way we work.

The workplace was already changing rapidly. However, the arrival of the future of work has come sooner than expected thanks, largely, to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some jobs have been lost and won’t come back. Others will require a total reimagining of the way people work and the skills they need.

Are you unsure of what the future of work will look like for you? Everyone’s experience will be unique, of course, but there will also be plenty of similarities across the board.

Outlined below are some of the most noteworthy changes we’re likely to see in the workplace as we move forward:

More Remote Work

In the wake of COVID-19, more people are working remotely than ever before. In fact, some experts estimate that, by the end of 2021, 25-30 percent of the global workforce will be working from home.

Remote worker at home office

There are lots of benefits of working remotely, even when a pandemic isn’t raging all around us, including the following:

  • More time: Remote workers don’t have more hours in the day than non-remote workers, but they are able to regain some valuable time since they don’t have to worry about commuting to and from the office
  • More freedom: Remote workers also get to enjoy more freedom and flexibility; they don’t have to worry about a supervisor breathing down their necks, and they often have more freedom to structure their day in a way that makes sense for them
  • Increased productivity: When workers have more time and flexibility available to them, they’re often more productive and feel more fulfilled in their jobs
  • Fewer employer expenses: Employers benefit from employees working remotely, too; they get to save money and reduce their overhead costs
  • Better employee retention: Because remote workers tend to be more productive and have higher levels of job satisfaction, it’s easier for employers to retain top talent (and save money since they aren’t constantly looking for new hires)

One survey revealed that 83 percent of workers say they would feel happier if they were able to work remotely. In the future, more of these people will surely get a chance to experience this new way of working for themselves.

Increased Digitization

Because more people are going to be working remotely in the future, it makes sense that workplaces of the future will also place a greater emphasis on digitization.

Technology has played a significant role in the workplace for a couple of decades now. However, its role is going to become even more important in the future. Many workplaces are going to start (or have already started) looking for ways to digitize various processes to increase productivity.

Moving forward, there will likely be a greater emphasis on using technology to solve problems associated with remote work. For example, teams this year started relying more heavily on tools like MS Teams, Slack and Google Drive to address communication challenges.

As more teams start working remotely, these tools will become more sophisticated, and newer models will be rolled out to help workers get things done in the most efficient way possible.

Increased Automation

In addition to increases in digitization, there will also be increases in automation in the future.

Automation for manufacturing

According to the most recent Future of Jobs Report, it’s projected that by 2025, the number of hours of work performed by machines will be equal to the number of hours of work performed by people. It’s also estimated that approximately 85 million roles are going to be displaced by automation.

Automation will influence all industries and all types of roles. Blue-collar workers like those employed by factories and white-collar workers like accountants will all be affected.

Changes in Job Demand

There will be a decrease in demand for certain types of jobs in the future. As technological advances continue and workplace layouts change, there’s no getting around these changes. It’s important to note, though, that a decrease in demand for some jobs will also lead to an increase in demand for others.

The following are some of the positions for which demand will decrease moving forward:

  • Data entry
  • Administrative work
  • Accounting and bookkeeping
  • Auditing
  • Assembly line and factory work
  • Customer service
  • General and operations management
  • Mechanics and machine repair
  • Material-recording and stock keeping

At the same time, there will be an increase in demand for many other positions, including these:

  • Data analysis
  • AI and machine learning
  • Big data specialists
  • Digital marketing and strategy
  • Process automation
  • Business development
  • Digital transformation
  • Information security
  • Software and application development
  • IoT (Internet of Things) specialists

Increased Need for Hard and Soft Skills

Marketing and digital skills


Many of the positions for which there will be a demand in the future will require a mix of both hard and soft skills.

The term “hard skills” refers to skills that are acquired through education, repetition, and practice.  “Soft skills” on the other hand, are skills that are non-technical, such as communication, social intelligence, and various personality traits.

The following are some examples of hard skills that will be the most in-demand in the future:

  • Product management
  • Digital marketing
  • Software development
  • Application development

When it comes to soft skills, the ability to think critically and solve problems in creative ways will be even more essential in the future. Employees will also need to demonstrate self-management skills. This includes things like resilience, stress tolerance, and flexibility.

In 2020, many workers were forced to develop and demonstrate these skills. This development will become even more important as we move into the future.

More Remote and Individualized Training

With an increase in remote work will come an increase in remote training.

For some workers, including many office workers, the adjustment to remote work was fairly straightforward. However, others, such as teachers, had to completely reimagine their jobs when they started working from home.

When it comes to new remote employees, a greater focus on digitization will make training easier. This will be especially true as things like AI-powered training platforms become the norm.

These kinds of platforms will make the learning process more individualized and engaging. This, in turn, will allow for more meaningful training, faster learning, and reduced redundancy.

Increased Demand for Staff Scalability

In the future, there will also be an increased demand for more staff scalability. With a more scalable staff, businesses will be able to enjoy more flexibility as industry and financial demands change.

Many companies will start to rely more heavily on flexible hiring options, including working with freelancers and contractors more frequently. They’ll also partner more frequently with services like Fiverr that provide a hub of freelancers for employers to choose from.

The need for scalability stems, in part, from the fact that it’s expensive and time-consuming to hire full-time employees.

Between benefits, retirement accounts, salaries, increased overhead costs (for non-remote workers), and administrative costs (which can easily add up to several thousands of dollars per hire), many businesses can’t afford to bring new folks on full-time. The influx of freelancers eager to step in on more flexible terms helps to solve this problem.

More (and Better) Internal Communication

One of the greatest challenges associated with remote work is a lack of communication. Where employees were once able to pop by each other’s desks or call meetings when they needed to address an issue, now they need to rely on other types of communication, such as email, Slack messages, and video conferencing. 

Quality internal communication offers a lot of benefits, including the following:

  • Shared knowledge
  • Increased innovation
  • Better problem-solving
  • Reduced disagreement
  • Easier conflict resolution
  • Increased employee engagement

To experience these benefits, teams will need to rely more heavily on a centralized hub for all communication. They’ll also need to be able to use this hub to easily search for and find the information they need.  

When it’s easy for workers to stay in touch with one another, even when working remotely, there will be less confusion and everyone will be able to get things done more efficiently.

Increased Focus on Employee Well-Being

Finally, the future of work will include an increased focus on employee well-being.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, many workers were struggling with stress, anxiety, depression, chronic pain, and other physical and mental wellness challenges. These challenges have only escalated since then, though, and they have the potential to get worse.

Well being inspiration

Luckily, moving forward, employers are expected to place a greater emphasis on the well-being of their workers, whether they’re working in the office or at home.

This might include expanded wellness programs and health-related benefits, as well as the introduction of more supportive, ergonomic furniture that can keep employees comfortable and productive during the workday.

Time to Look Forward to the Future

We’re currently right in the middle of a workplace revolution. Many workers have received a taste of what the future of work will look like, and plenty of others will experience a different type of work environment moving forward.

Are you ready for the future? Keep the information outlined above in mind so you can get prepared and set yourself up for success.