The next generation of professionals will experiment with hallucinogens, rely on emotionally aware artificial intelligence (AI) and – even more surprisingly – actually enjoy their commute to and from work.
These are the predictions made in the latest Stylus Macro Trend, The Work/Life Revolution. We spoke to five of our resident trend experts to find out more about what the workers of 2030 will do, and why the era of the nine-to-five is coming to an end.
5. Embrace wearable tech
Dewi Pinatih – Senior Editor, Product Design
“In 2030, workers at all levels will heavily rely on tech. Robots, exoskeletons and wearables will amplify our ability, increase productivity and improve safety. There are already several innovative products available that signpost where we’re headed. The Clik earbuds, for example, translate 37 languages in real time, enabling international business meetings without the need for interpreters, while exoskeletons reduce the physical strain of working on a manufacturing site.
“I believe the introduction of AR headsets to the workplace will revolutionise many industries and will make an end to the sedentary office once and for all. Wearable tech will free us from spending our days seated behind a desk, which makes it an innovation that workers will happily adopt.”
4. Experiment with psychedelic drugs
Hayley Ard – Head of Consumer Lifestyle
“By 2030, everyone will be a biohacker. In the quest for optimal performance, future workers will augment their abilities with an arsenal of far-out business aids, including tiny doses of hallucinogens. They’ll experiment with psychedelic drugs – in moderation – to boost their creativity and concentration.
“A microdosing group on Reddit now has more than 20,000 members, up from a couple of thousand a year ago. Over the next decade, this early adopter community of radical optimisers will expand into the mainstream and introduce exciting commercial opportunities. Will we see mind enhancers on the menus of our local coffee shops in 2030? Absolutely.”
3. Rely on emotionally aware AI
Katie Baron – Head of Retail
“By 2030 we’ll be experiencing a far more empathetic brandscape where knowing the subtle nuances of consumers’ attitudes and desires and/or delivering concepts that appear to override automation (regardless of whether they rely on a machine-learnt backbone) will be a huge commercial driver.
“For sales associates this will be a two-pronged deal. On the one hand, we’ll see a vast rise in ‘co-bot’ working where the encyclopaedic knowledge that constitutes artificial intelligence (by then universally known as amplified intelligence) will support shop floor staff, via hearables. On the other, expect a world of ‘flex-perts’, with AI being used ‘codify’ (clone) star personalities for when they can’t be in-brand – a future where licensing the personality may become a very real possibility.”
2. Champion their own brand
Claire Walsh – Advisory Head of Colour, Material and Design Strategy
“Soaring numbers of freelancers, skill deficits and the speed at which technologies are changing mean people will be constantly sharpening their skillset to prove their dexterity, and to provide something unique to the jobs market. Ultimately they will be their own brand champion, nimbly switching from gig to gig, while promoting themselves through new media channels to attract the attention of potential clients in need.
“As working lives shift, so does the dynamic between employer and employee. Companies will need to do more than pay a wage to attract or retain talent, and so ‘employment riders’ will become ever more weird and wonderful, with everything from tailored wellness programs to vacation packages offered to keep employees sweet.”
1. Enjoy working on their commute
Mandy Saven – Head of Food, Beverage & Hospitality
“Future workers will have myriad opportunities to improve their commutes to and from work – helping them to reclaim what car brand Audi terms the ‘25th’ hour of the day. Transport networks will enable a more productive journey by embedding work-friendly stations into their trains and buses. Early examples of this are Poland’s PKP Intercity rail service’s co-working cabins and transport provider Cabin’s sleeper-pod bus service, currently running an LA-to-San-Francisco route.
“Automotive brands will also facilitate in-vehicle meeting and work space. Ultimately this means that cars could double up as fully equipped offices. Chinese automotive supplier Yanfeng Automotive Interiors’ XiM17 prototype has the potential to makes this multi-tasking vision a reality for busy workers.”