Work in 2030

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6 min, 1012 words

Categories: work

There are two camps of people where I work; those who want to return to the office and those who want to remain working remotely. The former group tend to be those whose work involves spending most of the day talking to people (the "business" side of the company). The latter group tend to be those whose work is mostly focussed around thinking - or have family and enjoy the balance this approach affords. I fall into the latter camp on both counts.

Chris Herd posted a thread of his predictions on what work will be like in 2030 and why - I definitely recommend reading it and it doesn't take long.

It may be skewed by his views on remote working as his company develops solutions for remote working however it is based on actual conversations however he claims to have spoken to 2000+ companies with 40M+ employees about remote work in the last 12 months.

His predictions are:

  • People will move to smaller cities
  • Tools that enable asynchronous work will become more important
  • Hobbies will provide the social connection instead of work
  • Diversity and inclusion will thrive as companies can recruit anyone from anywhere
  • Output will replace time as the measurement of performance
  • Companies going remote will make huge savings
  • Burnout will need to be addressed
  • Purpose built destinations to allow companies to work synchronously for a short duration
  • Reprioritization around life
  • Removal of tasks that pad out the day; focus on clear tasks
  • People can use the extra hours they get back from not commuting
  • Menial daily tasks will become automated
  • Temporary working locations will replace "the office"
  • Remote working vehicles will appear
  • Increase it part-time and freelance work
  • No-code will change the way companies use technology
  • Alignment on visa and education could enable different work locations
  • In person meetings will move to larger, less regular events for growing relationships
  • Writing and documentation will become much more important

Again bear in mind the work he is involved in, however "~90% of the workforces we've spoken to never want to be in an office again full-time".

I agree with most of these. I want to focus on a couple of these that involve companies moving away from offices and only coming together when needed.

I grew up in Devon which is in the bottom left hand corner of the UK. It boasts some of the most beautiful landscapes and beaches in country but has basically no technology companies and limited infrastructure. With the lockdown we started to see people moving to places like Devon or Cornwall when they realised they could work from anywhere. I think things could be taken a stage further and it could, with investment, become a go to place for company "retreats"; a place where companies can come together for focussed periods to either build relationships or work on specific problems.

Let's go on a thought experiment ...

Imagine a large hotel set in rolling countryside that companies can hire for a few days or a week. People automatically start to relax as they drive down the sweeping gravel drive through the trees.

The hotel is kitted out with high speed internet and facilities that encourage collaboration and creativity. Accommodation is on-site and is of very high quality. It has world class leisure facilities and a small spa as well as direct access to a beach and the food is world class.

Not much new so far. These places exist already.

It could differentiate itself by facilitating what the companies need:

  • It could organise lectures/presentations by world class speakers in various subjects (who are quite happy to speak at such an amazing venue)
  • It has a high end large conference room with the latest technology for whole company meetings/events
  • Each meeting room contains the latest technology to encourage whatever they are working on - maybe it includes the ability to record/video the whole meeting with a single switch that is then automatically shared with all the participants?
  • All rooms are carefully designed to promote their use - some for creativity, some for analytical thought, some for collaboration
  • It provides dedicated staff to organise not just everything on-site, with guidance from the company, but also transport to the venue so the company has to do as little as possible to attend

In addition, other companies could form partnerships with the hotel to showcase their technology. Imagine one of the new start-ups that are working on 3d projections for video conferencing calls being able to host a setup at the venue that the other companies can try for free. It doesn't take many sales to pay back the investment. Or another company showcasing the latest digital whiteboard technology by placing one in each meeting room.

In addition to individual companies hiring the property it could also host conferences where the focus would also be on networking and the social side of events.

When it is not booked out by a company or conference it could be rented out either similar to a normal hotel or even as a place for individuals or smaller companies to come use - albeit sharing the facilities with others.

I know very little about the hospitality industry so have no idea if this would work however if the shift is to companies using more occasional specialist venues for events then the demand should increase. It would not be cheap to run or to hire however it is small compared to the cost of having dedicated offices all year round. Locating it outside the city has the potential benefit of lower costs but does introduce the need to travel.

Could it work in Devon? The one big issue is travel. It has the countryside and location however it involves significant travel to get there. Maybe losing the beach part would mean that it could happen anywhere in the country where a suitable location with easy access could be found.

Regardless of whether it could work, the future of work is definitely changing.


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