THE BLOG

Working in the Year 2040

06/15/2015 09:28 am ET | Updated Jun 15, 2016

The folks over at Johnson Controls have put together an interesting report called Smart Workplace 2040: The Rise of the Workspace Consumer. It's a lengthy 84-page report that explores various scenarios for what the workplace might look like in 2040. It includes made-up characters as well as in-depth descriptions for what a "day in the life" of a worker might look like. Predicting anything 5-10 years in the future is tricky enough, but 25 years might as well just be a thought experiment. Still, it's an interesting thing to explore. In the report Johnson Controls clearly state that they are basing their predictions on a few assumptions:

1. The work environment is spread across a geographical area (i.e. work happens in multiple places)
2. The city is a playground (fitness, work, leisure, entertainment, etc. is accessible within 20 km of the home)
3. The campus is a place of work
4. Commuting is not necessary unless face-to-face communication is required
5. Collaboration can happen virtually or face-to-face
6. Technology is crucial in 2040
7. Radical working patterns are the norm (i.e. flexible work)
8. Projects are carried out by a specific team of carefully selected subject matter experts

While the report is quite expansive, I wanted to highlight what they have identified as a series of complex model locations for where work will get done. There are 5 models.

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This is your home and where your work journey will begin as you can already start to access much of the information you need to get your day started. Naturally the home will be "smart" and fully connected so that it comes to life before you even wake up. It also adjusts to your mood and what you need. For example, your mood and nutrient levels will be detected to determine what kind of lighting will boost you up and what kind of food you should have for breakfast. Your home also knows when you're about to leave and calls for your pHive.

pHive (personal hive)

Think of this as your self-driving car that will transport you from your home to your place of work. While in the pHive, you will be able to keep up your level of productivity while not having to worry about the details of your commute. You will be connected and can collaborate and communicate with your team while on the move. This is basically your office on wheels (or in the air). The pHive will take you to the Eco Campus.

Eco Campus

Instead of going to a building or a facility, the Eco Campus can be thought of as a town within a broader city. It's a place where people can go to work and meet face-to-face, and it's more of a co-working space than it is an office complex. It has a mix of spaces, "office" styles, and amenities to cater to a variety of work preferences. Think of it a bit like Disneyland with the different "world's" they have created: Tomorrow World, Fantasy World, etc. Robots roam the halls, 4D telepresence capabilities are everywhere, and virtual "smart assistants" help everyone get their work done. To take a break from work people head over to the Faraday.

Faraday

In the report Johnson Controls describes this as pretty much a sophisticated yet disconnected cafeteria. In other words robots might make and bring you your food, but you won't get access to the internet as being "disconnected" will be considered a luxury. Faraday is designed as a place to recharge before heading back into the busy, connected world of work. After heading back to the Eco Campus to finish off the remaining work that needs to be done, people then head to the Warp Workspace.

Warp Workspace

This is essentially public transportation on steroids. It not only includes ground transportation, but also air transport. Warp Workspace is essentially a subscription service with various options and upgrades for how you can be transported. For example, if you pay more money you might get a more luxurious drone transport system instead of the basic model. Naturally all of these things are connected so you can catch up on any news, watch a movie, or just close your eyes and relax as you get transported back to the Hive.

It's important to note that this isn't a daily flow. In fact, the report states that going to the Hive might be something that we just do once a day, and the remainder of our time will be spent in the Hive or other places closer to home. If you have the time then I highly encourage you to take a read through the full report above!

Jacob Morgan is a futurist, best-selling author and keynote speaker, learn more by visiting The Future Organization.com or check out his latest book,"The Future of Work: Attract New Talent, Build Better Leaders and Create a Competitive Organization," on Amazon.