This post was authored by Claudia Tajima, Researcher at Forrester.


On the second part of the forth episode of our Futurology webinar series, Mike Facemire, Julie Ask and James McQuivey convened to discuss the future of the connected workplace. Looking forward, they discussed what change in the workplace will look like and what it will take to get there.

See WEBINAR: Forrester Futurology Episode IV: The Future Of Me (Part 2).


What will a connected workplace look like?

  • Employees will have access to more services and data do their job better. This notion of being connected means democratizing access to data that helps people make decisions.
  • Technology will augment our ability to do our jobs. Monotonous tasks will be automated, and employees will be freed up to focus on more creative and complex challenges instead. Keep an eye out for J.P. Gownder’s upcoming research on the impact of automation on the workforce.
  • Workers will feel happier and more fulfilled. People feel good when they are able to solve more problems, be more productive and deliver more value. Employees will be empowered to be creative, not just cogs in the wheel.
  • Customer experience will be even better. When simple tasks are automated and complex issues are handled by employees with greater expertise, customers win.
  • Email, training and hiring will change. Email is a terrible employee experience, and can be replaced by more seamless communication systems like chat. Training can be enhanced with virtual reality and augmented reality (see Forrester’s “Augmented And Virtual Reality Should Be Part Of The Innovators Toolkit” report for more). As creativity and passion become critical to employee performance, companies will hire differently as well.
  • Intellectual property boundaries could breakdown. An open source approach to business would lead to collaborative progress and huge productivity gains, but would fundamentally change the way we think about the corporate model.

How will we get there?

  • Overcome default system thinking. Adam Grant wrote about this concept in his book "Originals". It means that if something has always been a certain way we will automatically fill in rationales that it is best way. We assume it will be hard to change systems, even if we desire that change. For more, see Grant’s TED Talk here.
  • Develop metrics and prove ROI. It is difficult to measure efficiency and ROI of tools for employees.
  • Replace embedded technology with something irresistible. When technology is pervasive and relevant in your everyday life, like email, the replacement must be so shiny and desirable that you don’t even realize you are moving towards something new.  
  • Change dramatically. Iterative changes won’t work for revolutionizing our workplaces.
  • Adopt technology across 3 dimensions. How frequently it’s needed, how emotionally satisfying it is, and how convenient it is.