What will our workplace look like in 50 years?

As I look around my current office space and I think about our team; 50% of whom are located remotely, based at home but connected to the business using technology I think we are adapting to the future of the workforce pretty well but…

Where will it go from here?

We have all read that technology will take over Human Capital. Computers, Artificial Intelligence and algorithms will replace cerebral matter.


Cognitive thinking will rule the world… and I am sure in some cases this will eventuate but I, like millions of others who work in the people business, know that in the people business, relationships really matter! Trust and rapport are key elements; so, will the people business really change?

The honest answer is yes but no-one knows to what extent! I do not have a time machine or a crystal ball but I would like to take this opportunity to share Optimum’s underlying mission statement as I think it is a good example of how important people are to any business.

“We believe in the inherent goodness of people and that good people make great organisations”

If the future changes to the extent we read then we will need to re-think this statement and it could read:

“We believe in the inherent goodness of Artificial Intelligence / data and that good data makes great organisations”

Will we ever get to this point?

Personally, I honestly think that an organisation will still need human capital at some level: there surely has to be some human connections as there are some things that just need that human touch. That intuition or ‘gut-feel’, that empathy and sympathy and Emotional Intelligence when it comes to making decisions.

This will not apply for some sectors however, I get that automation and technology will change some industries – taxi’s, truck drivers, some medical jobs will all probably be “jobs of the past” but are we really going to get to the stage where human capital is not needed at all?

If we do get to this point how are we going to survive as a race?

Those industry sectors that will still need Human Capital in the future – the people who do work will have to pay tax for the rest of the population. If current trends continue we will live longer; the population will continue to increase, and if we believe what the futurists are predicting such as in a recent Oxford University study that stated 47% of U.S. jobs are at risk of being replaced.


So with 47% less people paying tax how will the future Mr Trump balance the books?

I would love to hear thoughts as this is a fascinating and complex scenario we are facing… a scenario we have to embrace but we also cannot ignore the Human Capital element in business, not now whilst planning for 2017 /2018 or for the future.

Stephen Cushion – General Manager; Consulting

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