6 predictions for the future of work in 2017

Work takes up about a third of your life. For some, work gives your life meaning. For others, it serves as a means to an end. Whether you live to work or work to live, we’re all going to see some noticeable changes to work in the near and distant future.

Some of these changes will take us out of our comfort zones, at first.  But many changes we will welcome with open arms and wonder how we ever got anything done without them. ServiceNow has narrowed down six changes in the future of work that we expect to see in 2017 and beyond:

The End of Busy Work

We spend 2 out of 5 business days each week on routine work that is not core to our jobs. Using manual tools that are ill-suited to the tasks we need to complete—email, spreadsheets, personal visits— we waste almost as much time on busy work as we spend on doing the real work. The same study showed that 84% of Singaporean managers agree that the need to constantly monitor their email makes it difficult to drive tasks to completion and that 86% of managers feel pressure to answer work emails outside of standard work hours. This is ripe for change.

A McKinsey multi-year study found about 60 percent of occupations could have 30 percent or more of their constituent activities automated. And IDC believes that by 2020, 60 percent of the G2000 will double their productivity by digitally transforming many processes from human-based to software-based delivery. In Singapore, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) – the use of software or algorithms to automate structured processes companies are beginning to be implemented in firms. The robots won’t take over, but we will see enterprise business tasks increasingly codified to provide a more consumerized experience in the enterprise. Machine automation, AI and messaging will make it easier to build solutions that do the busy work so that workers can focus on business issues, allowing companies to increase productivity and reduce overhead costs. SaaS solutions (such as Workday for HR) already have sprung up that allow the enterprise to replace basic business tasks with no capital investment or software development.

But not just any app will do. Consumer apps will continue to influence what users want from enterprise apps. The enterprise will need to follow suit and make sure their enterprise apps get out of the way in order to truly increase productivity. This means we’ll see more enterprise apps use notifications that aggregate in a simple and contextual way the necessary approvals or actions that can be executed right from the notification screen without ever opening an app.

Give Me the Apps I Want or Else…

Digital natives, DIYers and citizen developers have cultivated a maker movement. The rise of personal choice and the impact of this culture of people that refuse to accept off-the-shelf solutions and prefer to make, modify and control the things they interact with every day are beginning to be felt in enterprises worldwide.

This is a natural evolution of the BYOD era, where personal tech invaded the enterprise. In fact, employees are connecting personal devices at an average of two more per user. This mindset shift in the way employees envision the use of the tools they are trained on will continue to permeate the walls of the enterprise in 2017. Employees will demand that the technology used in the office should enable, not dictate how they work. If solutions do not meet their needs, then they will create apps to their specifications. What’s more, they can.

IDC says: The digital transformation economy – operating at scale – will be “driven primarily by code.” We’ll see the coder role continue to divide into the elite professional developers and those “aspirational” developers who tap the growing pool of low-code apps. All software will evolve to include low-code capabilities, enabling employees in every department to customize interfaces with simple drag-and-drop tools or build full-fledged applications, while the IT team will remain responsible for brokering and managing these apps.