Big Brother will arrive by 2022 with employee blessingNews added by Benefits Pro on August 19, 2014

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Joined: September 07, 2011

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By Dan Cook

Sometimes researchers just like to have fun. Witness the brightly packaged and imaginative report by PricewaterhouseCoopers, The Future of Work: A Journey to 2022.

The consulting giant has undertaken a massive global study to see where employers, employees and HR professionals think the work is headed. The report breaks out three types of emerging companies — big ones with lots of internal controls, dubbed “blue;” environmentally conscious ones dubbed — guess what? — green; and an orange category of smaller, faster, looser companies that will break the mold of the traditional corporate image.

PwC comes out with several major predictions as it gazes ahead to 2022. It says that the forces of individualism vs. those of collectivism will cause the Big Three Colors to emerge. Here’s how these are defined:

Blue: “Large corporates turning into mini-states and taking on a prominent role in society;”

Orange: “Specialization creating the rise of collaborative networks;”

Green: “The social and environmental agenda forcing fundamental changes to business strategy.”

“Most organizations are likely to be a mix of all three worlds of work,” the report says. “The emergence of these three worlds is going to create fresh challenges for HR. Organizations currently grapple with the realities of skills shortages, managing people through change and creating an effective workforce. By 2022, the radical change in business models will mean that companies will be facing further issues such as:
  • The need to create ever more sophisticated people measurement techniques to monitor and control performance and productivity.
  • Increasing importance of social capital and relationships as the drivers of business success.
  • The boundary between work and personal life disappearing as companies assume greater responsibility for the social welfare of their employees.
Based on what their sources told the surveyors, PwC opined that many employees will be willing to trade privacy at work for job security. The most-referenced of the coming “trends” offered by the study says that workers will gladly let employers snoop all over their social media activity if they get better security. Armed with this private knowledge of their workers, the study says, employers will be able to more readily keep top performers and attract new ones. Workers will be more individually treated, evaluated and rewarded, with the goal being a more loyal and productive workforce.

“HR professionals are gearing their talent strategies to pushing back the borders of innovation and possibility, employing only the best and offering long-term job security and reward,” the study says. “The data profiling that drives customer management will increasingly be replicated among employees as screening and monitoring move to a new level. Sensors check their location, performance and health. The monitoring may even stretch into their private lives in an extension of today’s drug tests. Periodic health screening gives way to real-time monitoring of health, with proactive health guidance and treatment to enable staff to perform more efficiently, reduce sick leave and work for more years before needing to retire.”

This will, of course, be the focus of the “blue” companies, while the greenies and orange men and women will have softer, but still targeted, practices designed to achieve their ends.

The study also allows itself to wander into pure fantasy with specific predictions for each year ahead up until 2022. Among those:

2016: A $10 tablet computer hits the market

2017: Hanoi assembly workers now wear sensors to gage their mood and level of concentration

2019: Chinese doctor performs telesurgery on patient in Africa

2021: Driverless car licenses now available

2022: World’s first fully automated and robot-run hotel opens

The report is chock full of fascinating, if perhaps fanciful, forecasts, worth the perusal if your boss isn’t monitoring your online activity yet.

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