ARUP: The Campus of the Future

What does the future hold for higher-education? Will online education take over on-campus learning? What does a future-proof campus look like? These are just a fraction of the questions surrounding the future of education. Arup, a multinational engineering and design company has studied trends and the future of built environment and society within their internal think tank, Foresight, Research and Innovation. In the report, “Campus of the Future,” Arup Foresight along with experts in higher education explored current trends in higher education and what these mean for the future. With ever-evolving technology, learning no longer requires a classroom. Arup has researched the benefits of student communities while also recognizing the financial pressures pushing universities towards online classes.

Arup identified six key findings relevant to the future of higher education. The first is that there are increasingly diverse student demographics, meaning that higher education institutions need to ensure that they are engaging all groups of students and their expectations. There is not only increasing diversity in students’ cultures and backgrounds, but also in student age. As life expectancy is increasing and the world population is aging, there will be students across a broad age range. Second, there is a rising demand for lifelong learning. As technology is constantly progressing and changing, employers and employees alike need to learn new skills, making higher education important not just prior to entering the workplace, but throughout one’s career. While online education has become increasingly popular in recent years, Arup pointed out the importance of on campus experiences as a trend. Online education is not going anywhere as it allows widespread access to education for many individuals. And learning on a campus provides invaluable experiences as students are able to form long-lasting relationships, network, receive and give in-person feedback, and collaborate among themselves and with professors.

However, an important trend affecting academic institutions is that the resources to operate and manage campuses are decreasing. Strategies are required to examine how academic institutions can utilize local resources, respond to feedback, and lessen burdens on the environment. Arup also found that focusing on students and how they best thrive will improve productivity.

In addition to education looking different, the physical spaces of education are changing as well. Traditional lecture halls are becoming less popular, while flexible spaces that promote collaborative learning, self-directed learning, and peer-to-peer education are what Arup identifies as the future of education settings. Sustainability is and will continue to be a key consideration in building education spaces. For example, systems to recycle water, increase resilience to extreme weather, and help air quality are being explored and proposed in academic institutions, such as the University of Glasgow. At the national University of Singapore School of Design and Environment, buildings are being designed that produce more energy than they utilize. Such sustainability will be a major trend in higher education and consideration when creating new spaces for learning.

As artificial intelligence rises, practices such as data harvesting, integration, and sharing can assist campuses in maintenance and efficiently using resources and cutting costs. Arup also identified in this report that personal choice in when, where, and how to work has major benefits in student innovation and performance. There are no longer strong divides between everyday life and learning. The spaces where living and learning happen are coming together. Academic institutions need sustainable financial support to accommodate these changes and create spaces conducive to the trends driving change in higher education.

Building a campus designed for the future requires taking many trends and changes in consideration and necessitates expertise and work from a variety of sectors, including design, management, and the government.

SODEXO: Global Workplace Trends

What does the average workplace look like? What is the future of the workplace? Will the future be marked by a rise in technology that replaces the need for human work? What do millennials mean for the future of the work environment? How will technology transform the way we live and work? These are some of the questions surrounding the future of the workplace.

Sodexo identified seven major trends that the 21st century workplace should pay attention to in order to plan for the future. The first important trend is that Generation Z has arrived in the workplace. Gen Z is often lumped with the Millennials despite the fact that there are important distinctions. Gen Z is the generation born between 1995 and 2012. The year 2017 marked the first full year that Gen Z joined the workplace. Sodexo believes it is important to study and know this generation in order to create a work environment that fosters the most productivity amongst this working generation. Gen Z values a work life balance blend. There are more individuals working remotely, and with the advancements of technology, this is now possible. With Gen Z now in the workplace, Sodexo believes it is important to learn about this generation in order to engage them and their talents.

Another important trend is the relationship between the internet and the employee experience. There is constant change and progression, due to technology and other advances. The rise of the Internet of Things (IoT)—In which everyday objects, such as appliances, vehicles, and other devices, contain software and technology to transmit data—often eliminates the need for human-to-human interaction. In the future workplace IoT could bring about more productivity, organization, facility management, and ultimately improve the employee experience.  Companies need to know how to use such technology to their advantage while also being aware of the challenges it could bring to privacy and security.

While many people have heard of artificial intelligence, what about emotional intelligence (EI)? This is the third trend Sodexo advised companies to be aware of for the future. In order to have a productive and healthy work environment, employers and employees alike need to know how to navigate the immense number of emotions and emotional experiences surrounding them and their coworkers every day. Sodexo identified emotional intelligence as an important trend and crucial skill for leaders in the workplace and companies that strive for high performance. EI can fundamentally alter the employee’s experience and create a more functional and effective workplace.

It is clear, with the popularity and ease of companies such as Uber and Lyft, that the gig or sharing economy is here to stay. What does this mean for the average workplace? There are trends that are signaling changes from the traditional office to increase the efficiency of labor and materials. There is a rise in sharing office space and equipment, and as was already noted as a preference for Gen Z, this means less distinctions between work and life. Employees and organizations have the option to have greater flexibility regarding work schedules and space. Despite this increased agility, there are also considerable liabilities and challenges with sharing resources. Furthermore, there is increased risk of exploitation of employees.

The fifth trend identified involves women in the workplace. However, it is no longer just about increasing the number of women in the workplace and ensuring a balanced work environment. The workplaces and employers need to examine whether women feel included and that they belong in the workplace. Are there biases or double standards? What is holding women back in the workplace? These are questions that employers and employees alike need to be asking about their environment to create a welcoming, productive workplace ready for the future. Inclusive leaders are needed for this change.

Human Capital Management 3.0 is what Sodexo described the sixth trend in the workplace. As organizations have been working to increase efficiency, they often lose sight of what this does to the employee experience. Workplace complexity can take away from important employee interactions and an enjoyable work experience. Human Capital Management 3.0, or HCM 3.0, is the philosophy that employees should be able to have choices regarding their work experience. This choice architecture would allow employees the option to blend their work and community lives and have a greater work life balance. As Sodexo identified as the first trend, Gen Z highly values this kind of balance, and they are future workforce. HCM 3.0 signals an opportunity for companies to perform at their best, maximizing the employee experience.

The final trend is that employees are the new change agents for corporate responsibility. Companies need to focus on more than their own success. Employees are expecting more of their superiors for a response to social problems. Whether it is a conscious effort to improve sustainability or take a stance on a social issue, many employees are advocating for corporate responsibility programs. This will help employers retain both employee trust and respect.

There are two themes ever present in these trends. One is the need for collective intelligence across all workplace domains. The second is the need for everyone in the workplace to be an actor of change. If organizations and employers pay attention to these trends and changes coming to the workplace and respond in the way Sodexo advises, workplaces can become healthier, more diverse and inclusive, change agents, and more productive.

VILLAGE CAPITAL: Can Automation and Artificial Intelligence Benefit the Workforce?

The age of automation and artificial intelligence is here. What will it entail? Village Capital, a global venture capital firm, created the automation for good report to help answer this question for entrepreneurs and prepare them for a future that will inevitably involve automation.

This rise in AI confirms many fears that robots and machines will replace the need for humans in many jobs. However, AI will also create many new jobs in different sectors. In fact, Village Capital predicts that AI could create as many jobs as it will replace; the report says it could be as many 375 million jobs by 2030. However, the new jobs AI will create require different qualifications, which could prove to be a problem if the workers whose jobs are replaced by AI do not reskill or retrain for the new jobs created.

Village Capital studied startups in order to identify trends emerging in response to increased automation. In June of 2018, Village Capital brought together startups, investors, AI experts, and other leaders to talk about these topics and how to respond to and use AI in a way that benefits the workplace.

One trend is to use data to get past hiring biases. While big data and loss of privacy is a concern for many people, it can be harnessed for good causes, including creating more inclusive work environments. The hiring process is very costly. The report notes that recruiting, hiring, and onboarding a new employee can cost as much as $240,000. In the tech industries, there is a lack of diversity, and more inclusive teams have been studied and outperform less inclusive teams by 80%. What does this mean for AI? There are, in fact, AI tools that can assist in these problems. These tools can help reduce both time and cost in the hiring process and increase diversity. AI tools, such as an app called Blendoor, can remove unconscious bias by using an algorithm which hides information on resumes that are not relevant, such as name and address. This helps employers focus on the information and data about the potential employee that is relevant and gives them feedback about the inclusivity of their hiring process. However, Village Capital noted that algorithms can also have bias. Algorithms are created by humans and are only bias-free if the human who created it is bias-free. Due to this, AI tools and platforms need to be evaluated by third parties.

Not only is the hiring process expensive, but so is the training process for new employees. This trend is especially notable with the rising number of jobs in the STEM fields, requiring certain skills. Village Capital noted three major shifts in the workplace. The first is the rise in traditional workers. While fewer companies hire as many full-time workers as they did prior to the 2008 recession, companies are still outsourcing many jobs. The second shift is the rise in freelance workers. This is largely due to the fact that many workers do not make enough money from their traditional job alone and also pick up work in the gig economy, such as driving for Uber. The third major shift is that there is an increase in online learning. Many people are now doing work from home, and as such, less training and teaching is done in person. This all points to areas where AI can help. AI tools can help assist in employee training and engagement on an individual level. AI can use data on individuals’ experiences, interests, and level of expertise to design unique learning paths. Another area where AI can help is in improving skills that are not used in a traditional office space. For example, there is an AI app called Presentr, which helps employers improve their personal training through personalized mobile coaching for speeches and presentations. AI allows for training to be personalized and specific, giving the best results. However, Village Capital noted challenges in privacy and security when using such tools, as well as difficulties if there are cultural or linguistic differences.

Companies cannot prevent the age of automation. While there are increased risks of cybersecurity threats and concerns regarding privacy, there are also enormous potential benefits. Organizations, leaders, and startups need to come to terms with the rise in AI and tap into the possibilities it could create. AI can help reduce bias in hiring, cut costs in employee training, and help humans cultivate creativity, just to name a few of the potential advantages of AI and the age of automation.

AI won’t replace humans. Humans that effectively use AI will replace humans that don’t.

GALLUP: The Real Future of Work

In this report, Gallup notes two overarching trends that affect workers the most. One is the way technology has changed work and accelerated the pace of change. The second trend is the difficult recovery from the 2008 economic recession. Employers and employees alike want to know what the future will hold, what the trends point towards, and how to be best prepared.

Gallup notes that although there are claims of AI and automation taking over human jobs, in reality, a very small percentage of employees are actually worried about this. Employees understand that technology will change their jobs, but are still required the same, if not more, productivity. Two-thirds of French and British employees, half of Spanish employees, and a third of German employees responded to a survey saying that they believed technology would require more productivity from them as workers.

Additionally, while machines and technology will take over many aspects of businesses, they cannot take over everything. These areas that require humans, also known as People Analytics, will require quality work from employees. These areas include coming up with creative ideas and solutions, taking leadership, and working together within and between organizations. However, with a rise in the need for developing People Analytics comes a need for new management that allows for more employee flexibility to capitalize on these areas that require leadership and human interaction. Gallup noted that People Analytics is an area in need of significant improvement in many European companies. They pointed out that labor productivity has remained somewhat stagnant since 2010. Management systems need to become less rigid and more conducive to determining what motivates employees to thrive and succeed in areas that require people analytic skills. A striking statistic from Gallup states, “in none of the four countries (England, France, Spain, and Germany) do more than 30% of employees strongly agree that their performance is managed in a way that motivates them to do outstanding work.”

However, in today’s changing workplace, performance management is not as simple as it sounds. There is less and less routine for employees every day, making it crucial that performance measurement is done in a way that they are observing work and outcomes that are in an employee’s realm of control. Additionally, performance management must be sure to measure aspects of work that directly link to an organization’s success. Gallup gave an example of meetings and sales. Having more meetings does not necessarily mean a company will have more sales. Less than half of the employees in England, France, Spain, and Germany feel that their performance is measured on aspects of work that they can control. Gallup notes that this needs to change in order to have better management and in turn better people analytics within organizations.

“When well-calibrated metrics are used to capture employees’ unique contributions, managers and employees can have a more effective dialogue about personal development.”

Gallup discovered three domains that are relevant across most organizations that help determine an employee’s success. The first is their individual achievement, or if they are fulfilling their personal responsibilities. The second is team collaboration, or how well an individual is working with their coworkers. The third is customer value, or how an individual’s work is affecting the customers. Another key aspect of performance measurement that Gallup emphasizes is that these measurements must be clear and accepted by all employees. There must be agreement that the metrics are fair. AI is undoubtedly bringing about disruption to the workplace. Many of the ways that employees’ work and their success are currently evaluated are inept with the rise of AI and the age of automation.

Growth mindset and fixed mindset are terms often used in child psychology classes or in preparing adults for how to be the best parents they can be. However, growth mindset and its distinction are important for all individuals, especially in the age of automation and AI. Organizations will have the best environments when the employees there believe they are always developing and will continue to grow and learn new skills. However, this will also assist in employees’ mindsets and performance. Gallup notes that if employees believe they can keep learning new skills and develop within a company, they will often have more success. The country currently struggling with this the most out of the four mentioned previously, is Britain.

Gallup has noted success within companies where managers are like good coaches, motivating employees to reach their personal goals. With the gig economy and increased technology, many would believe that managers matter less now. However, Gallup proves the opposite is true. Managers need to have the skills to work with people who perhaps work in another country or frequently have to skype in because they are working remotely. Gallup has denoted this shift to be one from the boss to the coach. In the coaching role, managers need to make an effort to have frequent and open communication with their employees. The focus should be pointed towards where opportunities for improvement are available rather than where past mistakes have been made. Gallup emphasized that the key to effective management is more frequent quality interactions. If these are interactions that employees dread, where their weaknesses are the focus rather than their strengths, they are not useful or helpful.

Ultimately, as automation continually leads organizations to reorient their workforces around enduring human skill sets like creativity and relationship-building, those traits will become more important among managers as well.

BRIDGE: 7 Trends for Workforce 2020

Bridge, a learning and engagement platform, created this report as a how-to guide for professionals to keep up with today’s workplace and be prepared for changes to come. The world in 2020 should be ready for a workforce that is multitasking on several devices. Standard 9-5 jobs are becoming less the norm, and socially conscious individuals, working on multiple projects, and expecting promotions in shorter amounts of time.

The barriers between work life and home life are coming down. While there are benefits to being able to work remotely and not being tied to a 9-5 job, this also means that managers often expect to be able to reach their workers at any hour of the day. Workers may struggle with the feeling of always being in work mode.

Social media is still on the rise, and it is going to be important in the professional world. Employers will want their employees to share what their company is doing not just on the company’s social media sites, but also within personal social media sites and networks. Bridge recommends that managers and employers get rid of newsletters within their organization and rather have a personal company Facebook page or use a platform such as Slack, that is easily downloadable on employees’ phones and allows for instant communication within the company. Gen Z and millennials who are entering the workforce more and more every day, are coming to expect to have the option to work remotely rather than at a desk from 9-5. One benefit of this is reduced costs for offices and physical work spaces.

However, stress affects both employees and the company, and healthy work environments need to be cultivated. Reducing constant emails and allowing workers flexibility in their workplace and schedule are methods Bridge points out can assist in reducing employee stress. Training employees should be a continuous process rather than a one-time course upon entering the company. Employees should have the mindset of continually developing critical thinking skills, such as what to do in certain hypothetical situations and creative solutions to difficult problems. Upward mobility is something employees in 2020 will continue to find attractive. This mobility should be encouraged by continuously developing new skills and new training. These skills should be not just to meet company needs but also to help employees reach personal goals.

Collaboration and working in teams are important now and will continue to be critical through 2020. Innovation is a constant in today’s world, and organizations need to have innovation at the forefront of their goals. This is possible through technology, even if a team is countries apart. Bridge points out the idea of having focus teams within an organization, which can meet periodically and discuss their focus, whether it be customer service, the mission, responses to the market, etc.

Data is everywhere; however, it needs to be harnessed in a way that is productive and beneficial to both organizations and employees. Engaging employees is important now more than ever, as the trend seems to be more and more marked by Gen Z and Millennials constantly changing jobs. Effective feedback mechanisms within companies can greatly assist in improving employee retention and engagement.

Lastly, an important trend is the rise in freelancers and temporary workers, or “temps.” While this can be helpful in reducing costs for companies, effectively training and engaging “temps” is more difficult than doing so with full-time, more engaged employees. However, trends show the rise in “temps” could mean more good than bad. Organizations should have a learning management system, or LMS, to provide 24/7 access for employees.

Indeed, in some ways, businesses are becoming more like Hollywood movie production teams and less like traditional corporations, with people coming together to tackle projects, then disbanding and moving on to new assignments once the project is complete.

EPSC: 10 Trends Transforming Education as We Know It

Classroom or computer? Liberal arts or coding? Degrees or skills? These are questions in students’, employees’, and employers’ minds. The European Political Strategy Center (EPSC) identified 10 major trends dominating education and the future of the classroom.

The first trend is that early childhood education is extremely crucial. EPSC noted that investing in early childhood education has incredible results, including higher test scores and improving productivity and skills among students.

The second trend is that now, more than ever, it is a skill to know how to learn. While this sounds like a mouthful, it simply means that students should be prepared to be constantly learning, not just throughout school but also throughout their professional lives. As stated in the report, “The average European worker has gone from having a job for life to having more than 10 in a career.” This demonstrates learning and developing new skills happens continuously, and as technology advances, students need to be prepared to continuous skill development throughout their lives.

Digital literacy is the new literacy. Today, there is hardly a job that exists that does not require some sort of digital skills. This is especially advantageous for Gen Z and Millennials, the majority of whom have some sort of digital and technological knowledge and skills. EPSC points out that in Poland, the government is paying for over 170 million people of all different ages to receive digital literacy training. In addition, students will be required to take coding classes during their primary education.

The fourth trend is that “humans are not the only ones learning.” Rather, that machines and drones are being developed to do what humans do, and often faster. However, EPSC emphasized that there are still many areas where humans perform better than machines. One example of this would be the medical field. EPSC discovered that doctors were better than AI at diagnosing cancer, however, the best results occurred when doctors worked with the software. With the rise in AI, education needs to have a specific focus on human skills, such as creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and emotional intelligence.

Another trend is personalized education. Using technology and data, personalized learning is possible and will lead to better skill development, as individuals deal with problems and solving them in their own way.

The sixth trend is collaborative, interdisciplinary learning that is powered by technology. The social issues that our society and world face today, require solutions from multiple different experts from different fields. Curricula in the classroom should foster collaboration between students, classrooms, and teachers. This would best prepare students to face problems in the real world and in their professional lives.

Entrepreneurship should be encouraged throughout education and included in the learning process. Additionally, learning via technology and being able to take a class from any location and at any time, is becoming a standard option for universities to offer their students.

Technology and the workplace are rapidly changing, making it crucial for classrooms to adapt and best prepare students for the ever-evolving world and workplace. These trends show the changes in both schools and offices and how the two can work together as technology evolves and changes what we know.

Meg Evett
The views presented in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of any other organization.