When it comes to creativity, effective work rarely involves sitting at a desk. Offices should have different types of space for different purposes.

“I have seen many organisations that are stuck in the old-fashioned clock card approach in expert work, which I personally find shocking. The way we measure work is bound to change,” says futurist Elina Hiltunen.

She has created a vision of the office of the future by engaging in foresight. Foresight refers to monitoring weak signals and phenomena that can potentially become strong trends in the future.

“Good foresight activity should take place 365 days per year. You must continuously think about things, look at the operating environment and try to detect weak signals”.

Hiltunen’s company, What’s Next Consulting Oy, provides consulting services to organisations to help them figure out the future of the industry they are in. According to Hiltunen, foresight is an activity that every business should regularly engage in.

A generation of downshifters

Hiltunen finds weak signals in research, workplace phenomena and the surrounding world at large. For example, by watching her own children, she has gained an insight into how Generation Z, born in the late 1990s and early 2000s, will change working life.

“My children will enter working life from an entirely different starting point than I did. They are tremendously enlightened, but also somewhat spoiled. They are no strangers to making demands”.

Generation Z has grown up with technology and takes it for granted. Unnecessary formality will be eliminated from workplaces, replaced by playfulness.

“Young people think it is cool to go to work wearing a hoodie and sit on an exercise ball instead of an office chair. They are not afraid to downshift if they find their job unfulfilling”.

Text: Jenni Uusilehto