This decade is also seeing disruptive advancements in technology and innovation, and the ever-present threat of climate change which will impact the running of businesses.
Innovation is at the heart of successful businesses, particularly in times of uncertainty and rapid advancements. Understanding what trends will most significantly impact the decade will aid innovation and prepare companies for the changing years ahead.
BusinessBecause sat down with Jacky Swan and James Hayton, two professors from the Warwick Business School MBA, a leading business school in innovation, to learn about the future work trends of the decade. Jacky is a professor of organizational behavior and specializes in remote work, inclusivity, and connectivity, and James specializes in corporate entrepreneurship and innovation.
1. A greater onus on employees to be strategic
Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, workers across the globe have embraced virtual work, and despite most countries lifting restrictions, working from home either part- or full-time has continued in most companies.
While there are many advantages to this, such as better work-life balance and money saved on commuting, there are some pitfalls that businesses need to consider. Remote working can lead to issues of communication and trust, and companies need to find a way to create a psychologically safe environment for their employees.
"The idea of psychological safety is the feeling of being free to speak up within a team, which is very important for learning. If people don't feel free to speak up, if they don't feel that their opinions will be heard and respected, they will keep quiet," Jacky says.
Psychological safety is much more complex when working virtually, as employees don't interact naturally within a shared space: each interaction is structured rather than spontaneous. There are no coffee chats or spontaneous conversations, which makes learning a lot harder.
"When you're working in a virtual team, you've got different touch points with your colleagues," Jacky says. "You don't have those same opportunities for casual conversation that you would have in the workplace, so establishing that level of trust and psychological safety is more problematic."
To counter these issues in the coming years, Jacky says that the onus is placed on the newcomer to see where opportunities lie and to strategically put themselves in the right place at the right time to use those opportunities.
"If you don't have those opportunities, you must craft them yourself. So it places a greater onus on the newcomer to ensure they are in the right conversations at the right time. Even if those conversations are online, ensure they are present and visible to get those opportunities to learn."
2. The rapid adoption of AI and Robotics
In this decade, we will see the continuation of innovations in transformative technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics. AI and robotic technologies are likely to come in all shapes and sizes, working to improve productivity through automation and even self-driving cars.
James discusses how in the short-term AI and robotics might not impact as people expect; for example, we won't have autonomous, humanoid robots successfully replacing workers. However, in this decade, we will likely see a rapid improvement in AI (such as the integration of software such as ChatGPT) and the adoption of robotics in business.
"Artificial intelligence has exponentially improved, and it continues to improve exponentially," James says. "Our abilities to develop control and perception systems in robots are also accelerating rapidly. We may see quite an adoption of robotic technology over the next decade."
When embracing transformative technology and accelerating businesses, an innovative, adaptable workforce is critical.
"If we help employers adapt and redevelop their workforce, then we're likely to have much more positive outcomes from adopting new technology over the next ten years, and nothing enhances productivity better than new technology."
3. A drive to develop and use sustainable solutions
Sustainability in businesses is already high priority. Much of the world has awoken to the imminent threat of climate change, and companies are steadily moving environmental, social, and governance (ESG) processes to the center of their strategies
Alongside ESG, James discusses disruptive sustainable technologies that will change businesses. Firstly, clean energy will lead to a complete transformation in terms of energy distribution and energy availability in different geographic areas.
James also predicts a significant change in agriculture as we shift to alternative protein sources. Companies such as Beyond Meat are becoming more popular as they use less energy and less water and are produced more locally to avoid transportation impacts and costs. This is likely to lead to a decline in traditional agriculture over the decade.
“You'll see a decline in traditional agriculture and growth in localized agriculture and vertical farming, alternative sources of protein, and alternative dairy products,
"This will impact other industries, with changes in land use, changes in storage requirements and changes, logistical requirements, insurance and financing, all of those things cascade off of it,” James explains.
4. Ambidextrous leadership will be vital
In the years ahead, businesses will need to be innovative and adapt to the next wave of changes in the world, just as companies did with business shifts like the industrial revolution and the invention of the internet.
"Very often, companies miss the boat in terms of new opportunities. In the late 90s, we saw Microsoft scrambling to adapt to the internet, even though it was a technology leader," James says. "Even established, successful companies often don't see the potential or value or underestimate the potential of new technologies."
James says staying ahead of the technological advancements in this decade means being ambidextrous in your leadership. Being an ambidextrous leader means running your established business model successfully while always being aware of advancements and on the lookout for new opportunities.
"As an organization you must be excellent at executing your existing business model while spending resources on the lookout for new opportunities, whether small, incremental, or fundamental business model transformations."
"Underlying all that, you must have a culture and a workforce that feels comfortable taking risks, learning, and trying new things while running the business. So organizational cultures that help people think in different ways and take risks, and simultaneously encourage people to work together towards greater collective goals,” says James.
Warwick Business School
BSc Management with Marketing
I loved Warwick business school. The staff is supportive, my academic tutor was key in my development throughout the 3 years and you have to meet with her/him every term. Most professors are helpful and would happily offer support if needed. You also have office hours and can contact professors by email and through the forum. In general, WBS instills in you the willingness to learn and the resilience needed for you for whatever career you choose. Very international community which broadens your horizon and makes you more open minded and self aware. You will most certainly make friends and memories for life. I recommend that you get outside of your comfort zone and try new activities with your friends! WBS also has a great reputation and offers careers opportunities, and careers support throughout the degree. There is the opportunity to do a year abroad to further develop on a personal level. I wasn’t able to do this due to Covid but I would have loved to do it during normal circumstances! Would definitely recommend this. Although Warwick is not a city university, the campus vibe has a lot of advantages, especially at an undergraduate level. You are always around familiar faces, and in a student environment. Moreover, Birmingham is only 20 mins away from Leamington spa and London is only one hour away! Perfect for a day trip or a weekend getaway!
Life at Warwick Business School
Pursuing my master's degree at WBS has been a game-changer in my life. With high-quality education, interaction with students from across the world, amazing campus life and much more. I was able to learn about business, finance, project management and strategy all in one course: MSc in Management at WBS. Besides the top-notch education from the best professors, I also enjoyed being a part of fun societies and participating in fun activities such as scavenger hunts and so much more. The school also organises many company visits and interactions which help students get a head start at finding a job. As my course came to an end, I also have a good full-time job placement in my hands. Overall, my experience at WBS was a great one.
The Warwick Business School was like a dream come to life for me. The University ranking speaks for itself, from top-tier facilities to some of the best professors I had to honour to study with I fell in love with my course. Interactions with people from all over the world gave me a newfound confidence in myself. Career prospects after graduating are endless due to the contacts of the universities and the success rate for previous students, it does open a lot of doors for students in various career fields. The campus life is quite good as well with a lot of student groups and clubs, and extra circular activities to engage students at all times. Loved my experience.
A good business school
It is a very cutting-edge, career-oriented business school, all courses are very practical, and the college does a very good job of career service. From the hardware and facilities to the staff, the student experience is at the core of the school and student satisfaction is taken very seriously. I understand that many universities in the UK are relatively traditional and can occasionally be rigid in terms of rules and regulations, and although WBS has a relatively short history, this makes it more innovative and dynamic, which is essential for a business school. The downside is that because it is on the outskirts of Coventry, it is a long bus ride to the city centre, not to mention the difference in experience from a big city like London.
The people, campus, staff. It’s a very enjoyable environment and it’s particularly good for learning and playing sports. The people there are extremely friendly and welcoming and it’s very easy to make friends
What I Like About Warwick
I’ve personally liked my experience at Warwick so far because of the amazing people I’ve gotten to meet and how many opportunities we students are provided with to learn and grow. Within Warwick, I’m part of the Business School, a learning haven comprised of well-structured modules and extremely helpful people All in all, a great place to be :)
One thing that stood out for me was the campus life, you felt like part of a community. The social aspects of the student union and on-campus accommodation meant you can easily get together and enjoy with friends. Additionally, I felt the course provided a variety of subjects allowing me to enhance my knowledge, from Marketing to Law and Finance. Overall I would most definitely recommend this university to friends and family.
Excellence self catered
The campus is very welcoming and Modern. There are many opportunities at Warwick but it is up to the student how do they want to make the most out of it and the staff at the school will definitely helo as much as possible. The location and the ranking have been amazing.
Warwick business school
Warwick business school is one of the best universities around the globe with a solid base of economic and business studies. Moreover, students get a chance to study in a diverse and warm environment with professional stuff which tries to provide the best opportunities for career development. One of the memorable features of the university are great events which sometimes take a place in one of the landmarks of the London city, the Shard building.