The Office goes Back to the Future


While none of us have a crystal ball we’re pretty fond of trying to look ahead to what the future might hold for us. As far as organisations are concerned a competitive edge only comes with predicting what’s just around the corner. I’m pretty scathing when it comes to business buzzwords, but I actually quite like the term ‘Horizon Gazing’. I think it evokes an ethereal quality, staring out at the setting sun. In many ways this is what we might as well be doing if we’re trying to predict the future.

It’s a lot about trial and error, although scaled up, with plenty of people taking those future-based decisions, businesses attempt to dissipate their risk and increase their chances of being right. Of course, we are in the future right now. Years ago people looked forward and imagined we’d be zooming round on hover boards. At least that’s what Marty McFly saw when the Delorean took him to 2015. Back to the Future was released in the late 1980’s, the irony being it was produced on vhs, a now completely defunct media technology. So much for looking into the future.

Part of the reason why we enjoy trying to predict the future so much is hope. We hope things will be different. We hope they’ll be better. We generally hope that outputs will increase while effort will relatively decrease.

Our Head of ICT is retiring soon after nearly 25 years service at our company. What other professions could say they’ve had to drive so much change that other services take for granted? Here in HR we’re pretty much doing the same things we always have, only a bit more efficiently.

This article summarises a recent report on what the future of work might look like, in 25 years’ time. As is pointed out, predicting that far ahead is nothing short of guesswork. Do we have hover boards and robots serving our tea to look forward to? Unfortunately not, it seems. Looks like we’ll be doing the same things, only a bit more efficiently. The sad thing is, that prediction will probably be realised. At least it’s realistic…

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