- A CEO gave his take on what working life will look like in the future.
- Karl Treacher predicted more of a focus on mental wellbeing, and flexibility for employees.
- This could be welcome news for Gen Z and millennials in particular.
In recent months, Gen Z has been especially vocal about their issues with traditional workplace norms. They’ve used social media to call out corporate culture, highlight the difficulties of the standard 9-to-5, and push for changes like a four-day workweek and more flexibility.
In many cases, millennials flood the comments sections, expressing sympathy and agreeing that changes to workplace culture are overdue.
There’s good news for the two youngest generations in the workforce.
In March, Karl Treacher, CEO of the Culture Institute of Australia, an education and consulting firm that works with organizations to reshape in a post-COVID world, shared his thoughts on what the workplace will look like in 2030 in an article for The CEO Magazine.
As 2023 comes to an end, he told Business Insider in an email exchange he stands by his forecast, which applies to the US workplace too.
The flexibility younger workers want may be coming
In his original article, Treacher pointed to the COVID-19 pandemic which had accelerated a shift in power from management to the workers, as employees took up remote work and found a better work-life balance. There’ll be no going back from that for the time being, he believes, as the culture will move “towards more flexible and decentralized work arrangements.”
“Employees will have more control in 2030 in terms of their work arrangements and decision-making processes. Self management and self-managed teams will be the norm, not the exception as they are today,” he wrote.
He told BI he thinks employees will have more of an ability “to work from any location and at any given time” and they will ultimately have more autonomy over their working hours.
This would be a huge benefit for Gen Z and millennial workers. According to a Deloitte survey of 22,000 people of both generations, the freedom to choose where to work from is their number one consideration.
Workers’ wellbeing could become more important to employers
By 2030, there will be much more of a focus on the wellbeing of employees, Treacher believes.
Gen Z employees are vocal about their mental health needs at work, but they know it’s a risk, and are not always faced with a positive response, BI previously reported. According to a Gallup poll from 2020, both Gen Z and millennials want to work for bosses who care about their wellbeing. They may be in luck.
“I have no doubt that employee mental health will be a critical priority for all organizations by 2030,” Treacher told BI.
Specifically, he believes there will be an increased awareness of mental health issues in the workplace, and a shift from a reactive approach, which includes things like therapy, to more of a focus on preventative measures, like mindfulness training.
#greenscreenvideo @Internship Advice for Students I personally cannot stand sitting in a toxic office that’s fluorescently lit cold and cold with little to nothing to do all day. I’m glad that gen z is starting to fight back against corporate 9 to 5 jobs, especially when we have already proven that work from home jobs are just as productive and for me personally I was more productive at home than I ever was in office because in the office I didn’t feel like I need to prove that I was doing work. #genz #collegestudent #corporatelife #worklife #workfromhome
♬ original sound – Andra B
Younger workers’ skills may be especially valued
Treacher believes that the leaders of the future will be skilled at empathy and have strong tech skills, especially as AI continues to revolutionize the workplace.
“The better performing leaders will be confident, contemplative, tech-savvy individuals who have a firm and comprehensive understanding of the shifting needs of employees and what a healthy, high-performing culture looks like,” he wrote.
Younger workers will likely be well positioned to naturally rise up to leadership positions if Treacher’s prediction is accurate. Gen Zers already value empathy from bosses very highly, according to a Deloitte survey, and as the first digitally native generation, millennials seem likely to continue to rise through the ranks thanks in part to their tech skills.
If they can just wait it out for the next half-a-decade, it seems both Gen Z and millennials have the potential to get the workplace they’re looking for.