Working profiles of the future

work of the future
Foto: Bernd Müller, © Fraunhofer IAO


Fraunhofer IAO sketches out five prototype career models

To coincide with Zukunftsforum 2013, Fraunhofer IAO is presenting a booklet and accompanying film exploring the “work of the future”. Five fictional stories dramatize various career and life models, set against the backdrop of our changing work environment. The booklet features 15 information and innovation boxes offering specific approaches to work and to designing ways of working.

Our working world is constantly evolving: the ways we work and organize business are changing, as are our attitudes toward employment and consumption. New technologies are taking over our working environments, shifting our communication increasingly to virtual spaces. Supply-driven markets are going global at the same time as demand-driven markets are becoming ever more individual. Workforces are diversifying and excellent staff are expecting more of their employer.

How will these developments play out? Will employees have to make themselves available around the clock? Or will they have the opportunity to create a flexible schedule that dovetails with their individual needs? In the future, how are we going to tailor the way we work to fit our personal life plans?

In the booklet entitled “Work of the Future: how we can change it, how it can change us”, Fraunhofer IAO provides answers to these questions with the help of five fictional characters. Take Tim, for instance, who is young and flexible and who is free to structure his own working life in the context of a network of international partners. Working sometimes in India, at other times in Germany, he spends the rest of his time backpacking around the world using local co-working centers to keep in touch with his partners from wherever he happens to be. Tim’s girlfriend Dora wants for herself and her son to be able to keep their local roots, which is why she puts a premium on cooperative working and living environments. As a single mother, she benefits from having a multigenerational social network of neighbors and from an employer who accommodates her need for flexibility.

The booklet uses the five stories to discuss important questions central to work-life balance, digitization, human-machine interaction, and promoting healthy ways of working. The publication also profiles current technology trends relating to how we will work in the future as well as highlighting groundbreaking social developments.

The “Work of the Future” brochure is available from the IAO shop. In order to better illustrate the future scenarios, Fraunhofer IAO is also broadcasting a special film on its YouTube channel which can be viewed below.