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The Future of Work: Three Trends to Watch

Self-management. 5G level mobility. The gig economy. Here’s a helpful guide on 3 Future of Work trends that are going mainstream.

The future of work. It’s a phrase being used more and more, but what does it really mean? If scenes from The Matrix and I, Robot are coming to mind, you might not be that far off. Artificial Intelligence, Virtual and Augmented Reality are on the rise – almost certainly threatening jobs in both developed countries and emerging economies. Just look at the new machines Amazon recently rolled out, which automate a job held by thousands of its workers: boxing up customer orders.

But automation doesn’t completely eliminate the need for humans…or the needs of those humans. In fact, a 2018 report by the World Economic Forum assessed that “the increased demand for new roles will offset the decreasing demand for others.” With many human-centered jobs here to stay, there are technological and organizational advancements that will shape the workforce landscape in 2020 and beyond.

At Daggerwing Group, we are always helping clients get ready for the trends that impact their people and ways of working. Here are three trends to watch:


On the surface, the elimination of managers seems like a radical idea, but there’s been a slow trajectory in this direction with companies like Whole Foods and W.L. Gore & Associates (the makers of Gore-Tex) leading the way. Also known as holacracy, this practices is “a new way of structuring and running your organization that replaces the conventional management hierarchy. Instead of operating top-down, power is distributed throughout the organization, giving individual teams more freedom to self-manage, while staying aligned to the organizations purpose.”1

Research has shown employees are more productive and motivated when they feel they have the freedom to make decisions at work. At Valve – a Bellevue-based gaming company – new employees are given a handbook about embarking on a “fearless adventure in knowing what to do when no one’s there telling you what to do.” Employees choose their own projects, manage their own performance (with the help of an effective peer review feedback approach, where individuals get a consolidated and anonymized report from their colleagues) and forge their own paths forward.


The Internet of Things. 5G. Workplace by Facebook. These are just a few of the many technological advances that are allowing employees around the world to be more productive, connected and collaborative – three drivers of business growth and success. At Daggerwing Group, we have a boundary-less orientation. Meaning, no matter the location – whether you’re in a rooftop garden in Singapore or sitting at your tiny New York City kitchen table – you can get your job done.

This type of flexibility has been made possible because of mobile devices. In the same way that people crave flexibility in their personal lives, they crave it in their professional lives as well – particularly Millennials and Gen Z employees who will make up 75% of the workforce by 2030. And it’s about to get better. 5G – the fifth generation – is the next evolution in mobile networks. It will allow for businesses to work more efficiently and quickly, and will eliminate any technology issues when working remotely. Goodbye to awkward video conference calls and hello to remote meetings that feel like everyone is in the same room! With 5G, organizations will have unbroken access to a fast, reliable internet connection.


The gig economy isn’t a new trend per se – people have always worked in temporary engagements – but it’s becoming more and more common. Today, more than one in every three U.S. workers is a freelancer – and this is expected to grow to 40% by 2020.2 According to Molly Turner – a Lecturer at the Haas School of Business, University of California Berkeley – this past decade’s growth of the gig economy workforce has been largely driven by the development of new technologies that enable transactions directly between providers and consumers.3

This trend is two-fold. Consumers now expect on-demand services that fulfill their needs, which is where platform-based companies like Uber, Airbnb and TaskRabbit come in. And employees now expect flexibility and the ability to create working hours that are most conducive to their lives.

From increased productivity to getting your job done in your pajamas, the future of work is exciting. Employers must embrace these new talent models in order to remain competitive and prepare for future growth.


1 Holacracy:

2 Intuit

3 National Association of Counties, The Future of Work: The Rise of the Gig Economy

Imogen Yates is an Associate Principal at Daggerwing Group. With a background in Human & Organizational Development and Corporate Strategy, Imogen is passionate about marrying the people side of change with business strategy. She works to bring both leaders and employees on board to make change happen and make it last. ​Imogen’s experience includes using practical and human-centered strategies to drive tangible results for clients. She specializes in transforming company cultures and the employee experience, as well as driving both leadership alignment and team effectiveness.