What exactly is the Future Of Work?

If we were to sum it up it's an ongoing evolution of work practices, environments, and technologies.

It encompasses trends such as increased remote work, flexible working hours, the integration of artificial intelligence and automation in the workplace, and a greater focus on work-life balance.

The concept also includes the changing nature of employee-employer relationships, the rise of gig and freelance economies, and the impact of globalisation on job markets.

Essentially, it's about how technological advancements, cultural shifts, and economic changes are reshaping the way we work and the environments we work in.

Understanding the dynamic landscape of the future of work is crucial for both employees and employers in Australia.

Let's explore key trends shaping the future of work in Australia and provide insights on how individuals and organisations can navigate this dynamic landscape effectively.


A glimpse into the future of work

Macro trends and forces are reshaping work in Australia, challenging organisations to address daily challenges in creating a positive culture, encouraging collaboration, hiring talent, and ensuring growth. This transformative era is driven by technological advancements, changing demographics, and global events, prompting discussions on how to make the future of work more adaptable.

The Future Of Work Institute at Curtin University have undertaken case studies and research into Performance and Wellbeing to create better lives for workers, more effective organisations, and a flourishing society.

A crucial aspect is creating the right workplace strategy that accommodates multiple generations, promotes collaboration among diverse age groups and cultural backgrounds, and offers flexibility to employees. With various working styles in play, smart workplace design can harness the unique contributions of individuals, creating a dynamic and diverse workforce.

Process: Evolving Work Styles

The evolution of work processes, including Activity Based Working (ABW), Agile Working, Open plan/Hot Desking, and Flexible Working have changed the office dynamic entirely. Each approach tailors to individual organisations, emphasising flexibility and adaptability to enhance productivity and inclusivity.

Place: Adapting Workspaces

Designing offices to meet the needs of the future workforce involves incorporating virtual spaces as remote work becomes integral. While physical attendance at offices may not always be practical, adaptable spaces are essential to accommodate both physical and virtual interactions seamlessly.

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Activity Based Working (ABW)

This working style allows employees to choose from a variety of spaces according to the nature of the work they're undertaking. First seen in the early 1980s, ABW is customised to suit individual organisations and is empowered by choice.

Agile working

Agile working:

The agile working methodology emerged in the 1990s and early 2000s. It focuses on using modular and project-based workspaces that can be easily transformed using flexible furniture and materials.

Open-plan / Hot desking

Open-plan / Hot desking:

This working style has been around since the 1940s but gained popularity in the 1990s. Lately, open-plan offices have received significant criticism for compromising employee focus, but at Axiom, our attention is on the type of fit-out best suited to your organisation, not whether open-plan is good or bad.

Flexible working

Flexible working:

Although only established in the last decade, the idea of flexible working has been around since the 1970s. Flexible working is defined as leaving behind the traditional, rigid 9-to-5, five-day week structure. The flexible working model encourages diversity and inclusion, helping to future-proof and strengthen organisations.


Tools: Embracing Artificial Intelligence


AI is a pivotal factor in shaping the future of work. From tracking human behaviour for space utilisation insights to smart building features like facial recognition, AI is revolutionising workspace design and usage. The integration of AI requires investment in education and training programs to ensure the workforce collaborates effectively with these technologies.

The massive rise of AI in the workplace will redefine how people work and their roles in hiring and retaining talent, inclusivity and regulation.


Impact on Company Culture and Productivity


The modern workplace, characterised by remote teams and AI integration, is transforming company culture and productivity in profound ways. This evolution presents unique challenges, such as effectively mentoring millennials who thrive on feedback and connection, onboarding new employees in a remote setting which demands innovative orientation methods, and tackling poor acoustics in virtual meetings that can impede communication.

Addressing these issues necessitates robust communication strategies, emphasising clarity and regular interaction.

Moreover, maintaining high employee engagement in a dispersed work environment calls for creative approaches, like virtual team-building activities and regular check-ins, to foster a sense of belonging and alignment with company goals.

These adaptations are crucial for sustaining productivity and growth in the evolving work landscape.


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Millennials are facing challenges due to a lack of in-person mentoring and regular feedback on their work, unlike older generations who feel more secure in their roles and are accustomed to working outside the office.

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New employees are grappling with onboarding outside of a physical workspace.

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Employees at the beginning of their careers missing out on incidental learning opportunities as they are isolated by working from home.

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Poor acoustics in physical spaces designed for in-person meetings causing an inferior experience in virtual meetings.


The Rise of Remote Work and Flexible Arrangements?

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of remote work, leading to a hybrid model that combines in-office and remote work that many businesses continue to operate today. Virtual spaces and 3D telepresence technologies are becoming crucial for maintaining connections in this new work landscape.

Embracing the Four-Day Work Week

The concept of a four-day work week is gaining traction to enhance work-life balance. Advocates argue that it not only boosts morale and well-being but also increases productivity. Challenges and adjustments accompany this shift, but the potential benefits suggest it could become a cornerstone of the future Australian workplace.

A four-day working week potentially offers several benefits:

  • Improved Work-Life Balance: Employees have an extra day for personal activities, leading to better mental health and reduced stress.
  • Increased Productivity: Shorter weeks can boost employee focus and efficiency during working hours.
  • Reduced Operating Costs: Businesses can save on resources like electricity and office supplies with one less day of operation.
  • Environmental Benefits: Fewer commuting days lead to reduced carbon emissions.
  • Attracting and Retaining Talent: Flexible schedules are appealing to current and prospective employees.
  • Enhanced Employee Well-being: Extra rest days contribute to better physical and mental health, potentially reducing absenteeism.
  • Promotes Gender Equality: It can help in balancing domestic responsibilities, often benefiting women.



Are you ready? The future is now

Challenges to the future of work

Workplace challenges to the future of work for employees and employers:

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Collaboration and teamwork

Although collaboration doesn't have to happen face-to-face for it to be successful, it is almost always easier to encourage powerful co-creation when people are in the same physical space. Although not ideal, the reality is that the need for virtual collaboration is only growing. Tools like Slack, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Drive make it possible for dispersed teams to come together and work with one another virtually.

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Employee engagement and company culture

Remote employees can often feel left out of team lunches, water cooler chats and casual office banter, and that's because they are! With more and more employees working from home, companies need to be conscious of these feelings and ensure ALL employees are being engaged and feel a part of the team. A remote workforce doesn't have to be a disconnected one. Technology has made it feasible to communicate, collaborate, and lead from any place but it does take intention and thoughtfulness to make it work.

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Data security

Virtual employees and staff using mobile devices is a challenge which will become further pronounced. Protecting sensitive data with proper cybersecurity is crucial. Keeping information secure online isn't just the realm of the IT department; all employees need education in data security measures

What does the future workplace need to look like?

Some key trends are influencing what the office of the future will look like:

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The greener the better

We're not just talking more indoor plants, but some serious green sustainability credentials too.  There is a growing trend towards creating high-quality working environments that prioritise ESG or Environmental Sustainability & Governance, benefiting both businesses and the environment. This approach also helps attract top talent from the eco-conscious younger generations.

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Personalisation and flexibility

Activity-Based Working will continue to play an important role in workplace design. Offices will be designed to foster employees' intellectual processes and working preferences - catering for and enhancing people's working lives. Workspaces will provide different environments for different phases of work and also include virtual spaces where remote employees can collaborate with those on-site.

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Artificial Intelligence (AI)

How will Ai impact your future workplace?  Ai tools could work out whom you need to meet with and book you the perfect space to do it based on the task at hand. Meeting invites will be sent, the right tech will be scheduled, and with each meeting AI will become smarter, predicting what you need with greater accuracy each time.


The role of workplace strategy: how to get from here to the future

What is a workplace strategy?

A workplace strategy strengthens your business’s overarching strategy and goals. By combining the two from the very start, you can guarantee they remain aligned through upheavals like office relocations, refurbishments, outside disruptions and for business as usual too.

Effective workplace design is based on solid data and insights into how people work. It aims to create a workplace that aligns with the company's purpose, goals, and strategy, enabling growth and adaptation as the business evolves over time.

Commercial leasing may mean that a company needs to lock into a space for the next ten years, but that doesn’t mean the company needs to lock themselves into a particular way of using that space. A smart workplace strategy should allow for adaptation of the use of space over time, even as unforeseen changes come to fruition over the next decade.

How can it impact more than just your office design?

The research and data collected as a part of workplace strategy aren’t just about a cool looking office, rather your strategy will:

  1. Equip your business for external uncertainty
  2. Devise a plan for intelligent organisational change
  3. Uphold underlying business objectives and goals including those to meet an ESG Framework
  4. Distinguish the best ways of working to improve efficiency and productivity,  increasing revenue and profitability
  5. Attract talent and retain existing employees by producing a robust and thoughtful work environment to suit neurodiverse needs

Pragmatic considerations for implementing your new future of work

Are you getting excited about the future of work and ready to move forward in your workplace? There are some practical considerations that you’ll need to take into account like the lease agreement on your space.

Traditional lease terms are often not in line with how companies are working, growing and evolving today. This poses a problem if you’re looking to shift to more remote working, an agile working environment or any of the other future of work trends. However, options like subletting additional space or using your space differently can still align your company with the future of work.

In the future, long-term leases won’t be as common. While organisations will still find value in physically bringing employees together, most will seek greater flexibility to adjust their space needs as they evolve.


In conclusion

The way we work is evolving as we speak, and the pace of change isn’t getting any slower. Now is the time for your company to embrace the future of work and plan how your workplace can facilitate a strong company culture, promote productive collaboration, attract top talent and be prepared for change and growth.

But you don’t have to go it alone. A workplace design partner will help you with the right workplace strategy first to ensure you design a future proof workplace that helps you achieve key business objectives. Book a complimentary consultation with us today.

If you would like to find out more about the Future of Work please check out these articles or download our guide:

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