These mega trends will have the greatest impact on work towards 2020

Towards the year 2020, the most influential mega trends affecting the way people work include technological development, globalization and sustainability.


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Source: ISS 2020 Vision, NWOW Survey, 2013

Whether you refer to them as game changers, predictions or megatrends, taking a critical look at the potential events of the future that will shape the world in the coming years is a crucial part of managing a business today. In the world of global FM and services, there are 9 megatrends that every FM provider should know - but of these, which will have the greatest impact on work? According to ISS’ 2020 Vision study into New Ways of Working, technological development is seen as the most important megatrend influencing the way people will work towards 2020.

Technology as the enabler of increased collaboration and change in the workplace

The exponential development of information and communication technologies (ICT) means that, just five years from now, collaborative technologies will be at least 10 times better than they are today, and 100 times better ten years from now. Coherent with organizational changes affecting work in 2020, technology development enables new work practices, greater mobility, and virtual working, to name just a few examples. It increases the automation of knowledge work in areas such as translation, data analysis, research, and decision-making. ISS 2020 Vision: NWOW subject matter experts expect more video conferencing, real-time translators, smart glasses and other wearable computers in the office towards 2020.

The exponential rise of technological advancement and adoption has yielded benefits for every industry and person imaginable. Specifically for the global FM and services industry, technology removes obstacles for collaboration among organizations, enables change and creates an opportunity for FM to help reorganize workplaces and make them more effective.

Therefore, technology development is changing the nature of work, by allowing us to work smarter and more innovatively. Cloud technologies for example can break down barriers within an organization and remove the obstacles for collaboration within and among organizations. As a result, enabling the reconfiguration of businesses and industries driven by ubiquitous mobile technologies.

How can FMs take advantage of technology?

To take advantage of this, FM providers must be resourceful, creative, innovative and maintain simultaneous focus on the customer, the building and the employee. FM providers will need to provide flexible, networked infrastructures that allow users from different companies to utilize networks and peripherals. FM contracts will have to be renegotiated to bring companies together in new ways. These developments could also lead to intra-organizational “turf” battles, as it challenges organizations’ abilities to manage and analyse data flows.

Other influential megatrends surveyors responded as highly affecting work towards 2020 include globalization, sustainability and economic growth. What are your thoughts, do you agree or disagree? Share your comments below.

This blog post is based on ISS’ New Ways of Working whitebook.