15 Trends That Will Transform The Way We Live And Work

Great change is underfoot in the places that we live, and also in the spaces where we work. While demographic trends and a mounting thirst for self-actualization plays a big part in these shifts, technological advances are the one factor that is accelerating this change.

In their book Spaces for Innovation: The Design and Science of Inspiring Environments, Kursty Groves and Oliver Marlow shares their discoveries on the impact that a physical space can have on workplace behavior. Their journey takes them through the offices of tech behemoths Airbnb, Microsoft, and others -- and gives an illuminating look at the trends that are rapidly shaping the way that we live and work.

1. The mistrust of institutions. Thanks to the public debt crisis and a heightening mistrust in big banks and corporations, the book points out that only 22% of Americans say that they trust their country’s financial system.

2. Big changes in the corporate world. Between 1983 and 2011, the 50 companies that made up 90% of American media have fallen to 6. This has to do with the consolidation of companies and also the illusion of choice.

3. Crisis in the natural world. Today, 50% of the world’s original forests have all bit disappeared. As tropical forests are home to a minimum of 50% of species, clearing out 17 million hectares of these forests every year are sure to do irreparable damage to our living environments.

4. The proliferation of online identity. Otherwise known as a “second life for all,” social media has created a new layer of identity. Facebook alone has 1.6 billion active monthly users in 2016, which is up 15% from 2015.

5. The generation conundrum. By 2025, 75% of workers around the world will be Millennials. An interesting thing to point out is that Gen-Z, the generation born after 1998 will be the very first post-Internet generation.

6. The real-estate problem. The issue that everyone is facing in regards to real estate these days is there is “nowhere to live, nowhere to work.” The book notes that 50% of Londoners will be renting by 2025, up from 40% in 2000.

7. Disruption in manufacturing and supply chain. The global 3D printing industry is set to skyrocket to US$12.8 billion by 2018, up from US$3.07 billion in 2013. This figure is set to surpass US$21 billion in revenue by 2020, and is supporting the trend of rapid making and customization.

8. The doing away of “single-use architecture.” As many are beginning to adapt to the “in my own place, on my own time” regimen, what will become of traditional brick-and-mortar environments? The book suggests that there will be a hybridization of environments as more take up the possibility of remote work.

9. It’s the end of the office as we know it. Thanks to advancements in robotics, AI, and genetics, over five million jobs will be lost by 2020. Two-thirds of these job losses will be in the administrative and office-related roles.

10. Self-actualization a priority. As people move towards purpose and self-worth, they’ll also want to find work that is both fulfilling and meaningful. Today, only 13% of employees globally report being engaged and emotionally invested in their work.

11. Deeper understanding of why we need creativity and flow. Workers are starting to be more in tune with the conditions needed for psychological happiness. According to Prof. M. Csikszentmihalyi, “Enjoyment appears at the boundary between boredom and anxiety, when the challenges are just balanced with the person’s capacity to act.”

12. Increased need for collaboration to stay engaged. The book points out that collaboration and teamwork are growing in importance. When working in a team, 71% of people reported feeling creative, 62% citing an increase in productivity, and 90% feeling more confident when coworking.

13. Urban explosion. Today, 54% of the world’s population are living in cities, which is expected to reach 66% by 2050. There is also a clustering of cities to create megacities (cities with more than 10 million). By 2030, there will be 41 megacities around the world, pitted against just 10 back in 1990.

14. Rise of the gig economy. Who can say who is the boss these days? By 2020, 40% of the American workforce will be working as a freelancer or independent contractor. This helps companies save money on things like benefits, but also helps people chart their own path to work-life autonomy.

15. Collaborative consumption. Sharing economy players, like Airbnb, continue to impact the way we live as more people tune into the digital nomad lifestyle. According to the book, the consumer peer-to-peer rental market is worth US$26 billion today.