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Report examines how and why global workplace will change by 2030

09 January 2008

New research from Johnson Controls Global Workplace Solutions examines the workplace of 2030 and finds that the office as we know will be transformed over the next 20 years.

The Workplace Futures report examines how and why the global workplace is to change by 2030, helping industry to form a clear understanding of the forces driving workplace change. In a unique look at the future of the workplace, the report shows that our working environments are set to continually adapt and will allow for more remote working, make use of technological advances and use renewable energy sources. The research explores the driving force of change on the global workplace within the fields of demography, economy, governance, environment, society and technology. One of the most likely prospects would see the 2030 employee increasingly restricted by time constraints in a workplace which will incorporate space for social interaction, be a place of equality and offer employees a greater choice of when, where and how to work. However, the outlook is not entirely positive and business could be facing some tough, worldwide conditions.

The report has been produced in collaboration with Professor John Ratcliffe, Chairman of The Futures Academy at the Dublin Institute of Technology, and explores three feasible scenarios of how the workplace could look in 2030. These scenarios were created using the Futures Methodology, which has been used extensively to understand tomorrow’s business mind by considering issues, trends and challenges. The first, ‘Jazz’, describes a competitive global village where the workplace is a network; ‘Wise Counsels’ depicts a secure, responsible workplace with a focus on work/life balance and the workplace as a community; and the third scenario ‘Dantesque’ is a fragmented world that values profit over employees and views the workplace as a fortress.

Both Jazz and Dantesque predict that global conditions will mean a turbulent time for business and their employees, with a dominating focus on profits rather than employees and an increasingly complex marketplace that is vulnerable to illicit activities. In these scenarios the world will see
increased poverty, isolation, the need for heightened workplace security, environmental problems and mass economic instability. Entrepreneurs and contingent workers replace multi-nationals, who fall out of favour due to their business approach, which results in environmental degradation and social neglect. The most probable future, of course, is likely to be a combination of events and conditions from all three scenarios.

From looking at all three scenarios, those responsible for providing working environments can understand and prepare for the challenges that the future could hold, including employee response to change, supporting globally fragmented clients, internal communication and aligning migration patterns with the changing market and the workplace.

The report‘s findings are based on in-depth research, ‘strategic conversations’, survey questionnaires, and a ‘futures workshop’, where academics and industry professionals discussed and analysed the emerging concepts, challenges and uncertainties surrounding the workplace change debate.

Dr Marie Puybaraud, Facilities Innovation Director at Johnson Controls Global WorkPlace Solutions, comments: “Workplace change and innovation are critical to the future of organisations in a dynamic, economy-driven and knowledge-based society. Managing change is a vital dimension underpinning the successful transition to new work styles, patterns and locations.”

Joint author of the report, with colleague Ruth Saurin, and Chairman of the Futures Academy, Professor John Ratcliffe, adds: “In the uncertain world of today and tomorrow, one major risk to business is being caught out by inevitable surprises. To avoid this, a new mindset reinforced by fresh ways of thinking about the future is needed by all those involved in constructing, occupying and managing the workplace. This report will enable the industry to face the challenges and grasp the opportunities that lie ahead over the next few decades. Businesses that can embrace these foreseeable changes will be at a competitive advantage.”
This report is the first in a series of three to be published by Johnson Controls in collaboration with The Futures Academy of the Dublin Institute of Technology. The second will focus on tomorrow’s sustainable workplace and the third on the future of technology.

This work complements the new vision recently launched by Johnson Controls - ‘Ingenuity Welcome’ – which recognises that people welcome innovation. Through WorkPlace Futures, Johnson Controls is identifying and understanding future trends for business and, as a result, the company will be able to provide ingenious solutions for its customers to meet the challenges of changing business environments.
To purchase the full report contact

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