These are not current trends, or at best are at a very fledgling level of visibility. These are however soon going to be seen by all and gather momentum as more and more organizations and individuals adopt and adapt them. Yea, a few of these are mutually antithetical, making precise prediction difficult.
So far intrapreneurship (having an entrepreneurial style of working from within the confines of corporate walls on behalf of the corporate) has not been affirmatively supported by Boards and Leadership Managements of Corporates. This is going to change, how else is retention going to be there of mid-level and top-level management talent. People need ambition, money, anti-boredom, opportunities to Do Their Ownthing; and the Bosses won’t be able to deny their people all this.
Working from home (or from wherever) has begun to invade just a handful of firms and industries, and the other firms await the Mega Invasion. Walled corporates are going to be a thing of past. Interesting would be how we manage traditional factory floor production in a distributed set-up, though this seems a little afar now.
User friendly GUIs have allowed not so tech savvy staff to efficiently dispatch office business. However, one can see a transition period of maybe 3-5 decades where you would need to hardcode your own programs in higher level languages. The generic solutions available in the market would just not be adequate in handling your data storage and information processing needs; you would need to be hands on whatever current technologies are working: Oracle, SAP, C++, Java, .Net et al. By the end of next half a century or so, better aggregating yet individually customizable solutions would emerge. Till then, you would have to learn repairing your own car and your electric-electronic installations; you won’t be able to survive with a mere “knob twirling”/ “mouse clicking” understanding.
Work definitions would alter, where a family gains an integrated employment with a corporate. This would extend to employing small communities of 5-20 friends who have got together on any affinity band: lifestyle interests, competencies, ideology. Employing a discrete individual would find itself a declining practice.
Face to face interactions as a necessity for regular work would significantly decrease with catching up of working from home, best replaced by video interface. This would also lose currency in one-off events like recruitment/ exit interviews; the necessity of seeing a person in flesh and blood for furtherance of corporate transactions would lose relevance. The transition period would pose the challenge of evaluating from telecons and 2 D streaming video images till better viable 3 D technologies emerge.
The workplace transactions are going to shift from analog style to digital: expert human judgment would need to be invoked less and less. This would happen by numbers and searchable fields splitting the problem substrate into navigational decision trees. As a fallout, emails are going to be short, narrations are going to be minimal replaced by quantitative strings, bulky documentations in text are not to be produced anymore. A small chunk of management activities would surely get automated.
Without doubt, a truly multi-disciplinary competency set is going to be required; the artificial walls between functional areas (HR, Marketing, Finance, Operations) and between management hierarchies (Top, Middle, Junior) are going to dissolve and fall like the Berlin wall. Idea pooling with idea merit dictating the course of decision-making would come in. This is not to say, office politics and games-people-play would vanish. Instead, political maneuvering would be possible only by those who genuinely understand coding of firm processes besides designing the same at architectural plane.
Recruitment across global geography would be in vogue bringing about its own cultural challenges. A large meltdown attempting homogenization by dissolving heterogeneity would initiate (has initiated in fact); but human spirit would manage to evolve to different planes of differentiation-individuality-heterogeneity. The remuneration-fixing subjectivity is going to get marginalized and a better level playing field to emerge. The recruitment practice of a panel of people evaluating a candidate is going to change; the candidate too is going to be represented by an army of experts trying to leverage/ investigate/ negotiate various facets of employment upfront: consultants, financial-legal experts, family members. The arm twisting corporate indulge in la feudal lords won’t be sustainable.
We have been witnessing a hypocrisy on accommodating diversity over last few decades writing we are equal opportunity employers. Bah! Genuineness is going to creep in. It would not be possible to proclaim goody-goody words and agendas while working in snide manner towards pushing individual biases and assumptions. Gender diversity would shatter the glass ceiling holding women from echelon positions, even the untouchable Board positions are going to be accessible. The recruitment interview where the interviewers arrogantly proclaim they make a yes/ no decision in first 15 seconds the candidate walks into the hall are going to face immense heat; the demanded accountability and the talent demand-supply crunch would deal a death knell to nepotism of any form: region, community, gender. Whistle blowing is naturally going to foster corporate governance and meaty social responsibility allocations.
Single exclusive ownership on a person’s working time of 8-12 hours is soon going to be a fossilized archetype. Multiple employments, many running concurrently are going to be the toast of the day. The key demarcator is going to be deliverability and service levels the individual offers its employers.
This all is reverse flip of employees gaining one upmanship on corporates after centuries of repression and exploitation by the ruling and by the men of money. It is going to take 2-3 centuries for a balanced point to be discovered, where the employees develop an understanding of limitations of corporate commerce. Hopefully by then, corporates too are a changed lot, better sensitized to needs of internal and external customers.