How We Will Work in 2028: Highlights from a Fascinating Gartner Report

Bill Gates famously said, “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next 10. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.” Wise words, but how can you take action without understanding exactly what change will occur?

Gartner attempts to answer that question in its recent report, How We Will Work in 2028*. We believe this is an excellent read for anyone in the modern workplace, from CIOs to freelancers, the report covers the evolution of both people and technology, and explores how the two will work together in the near future.

Highlights include:

The rise of “We Working. “Gartner defines “We Working” as “a work philosophy that depends on ensembles of autonomous and high-performing teams fulfilling crucial outcomes.” This is a theme near and dear to us at Jive and something we work hard to enable. In practice, it looks like more non-routine work, where people are constantly adapting and improvising, forming ad hoc teams to solve specific problems and then regrouping to tackle new challenges. Gartner’s report illuminates these ideas, exploring how we will get there and what it will mean for traditional management structures.

The importance of ongoing learning. It has always been important to stay up-to-date with changes to your industry, but the demand for continuous and agile upskilling will skyrocket. Gartner emphasizes the growing rise in non-routine cognitive work, which will put new pressure on employees and organizations as we shift from traditional education models to constant, organic knowledge-sharing and learning. The report also offers three concrete recommendations for CIOs to improve and foster this required digital dexterity.

The blurring of boundaries. No surprise here: we’ve all witnessed the shift to the remote workplace. The allure of freelancing and the gig economy will intensify, according to Gartner.  We believe this is due to boundaries breaking down and teams and technology become more fluid. As the system matures, new challenges (notably security) and solutions will kick in, requiring more of the recommendations provided in the report. Gartner specifically calls out the importance of “continuity and organizational knowledge” for critical roles and how “Strategically minded CIOs will play a key role in using technology and information to build a hybrid workplace – physical and virtual – that embraces work styles of all people.”

The revolution of smart machines. AI, machine learning and the like will move from hype to reality. We feel this report does a particularly good job of articulating what that will look like and how it will impact people across industries and roles, even speculating that “By 2028, departments of ‘robot resources’ will begin to rival ‘human resources’”. Thankfully no hysteria about robots taking our jobs here, though – just a thoughtful analysis of how humans, robots, and AI will work together, with machine intelligence complementing human power versus replacing it.

The final point in How We Will Work in 2028 is perhaps the most compelling: that in spite of (or maybe because of) advanced technology and greater flexibility, we will work for purpose and passion, not just money, but that that passion and drive will introduce a dark side to work-life balance. Their analysis here is very interesting and worth the read for leaders who must navigate these new waters and employees who are learning to navigate them.

Download the full report to read Gartner’s complete analysis on how we will work in ten years, including their six assumptions and CIO recommendations for each. Get your copy.


*Gartner How We Will Work in 2028, De’Onn Griffin, Mark Coleman, 27 February 2018.

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