Work in the 21st Century: Between the Industrial and the ICT Revolution

The Internet and all the network-linked technologies have enabled us to “be” almost everywhere without necessarily being physically there. In the work environment this translates into a new horizon opening up in terms of possible ways of working. But, has face-to-face work really become obsolete? If not, how have the Internet, personal computers, mobile phones, tablets and other devices modified the setup and the use of workspaces to enhance productivity and working conditions?

Today, most firms are still applying Industrial Age working practices to the new Information Age work patterns. Peter Thomson (Henley Business School) analyzes in his OpenMind article what the new ways of working will be like in the companies of the future, as well as the challenges and opportunities of a new socio-economical context which will determine the work routines of generations to come.

We are in the middle of the Information Revolution, facing fundamental changes to the way we live and work, says Thomson. Flexible and smart working, a redefinition of work/life balance and a revolution in management practices are some of the factors that will reshape the future of employment.

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Telecommuting is increasingly present in all types of organizations, both private and public. Download here all the infographics of this chapter.

But, where are we in this revolution? In the age of social media and the end of fixed workstations, large corporations have no choice but to adapt themselves.

In order to survive, companies must promote change from within. The new BBVA headquarters in Madrid, designed by Herzog & de Meuron, is an example of how corporate architecture can adapt to a new working environment, where a culture of collaborative, flexible and open work is nurtured, supported by technology. The “New Approaches to Work” project linked to the newly built BBVA headquarters focuses on the functional and personal needs of employees, as the BBVA New Headquarters Team explains in OpenMind.

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See all the details of Herzog & de Meuron’s architectural project in the article for OpenMind.

We are moving towards a future model of work which has truly adapted to the social, technological, and economical influences of the 21st century. Companies must transform into flexible networks in order to get the best results from people. Discover more about this future business scenario in the book Reinventing the Company in the Digital Age.

By Dory Gascueña for OpenMind

@dorygascu