The Future Of Work - Virtual Co-Workers And An Absent Boss

Having bosses you will never meet in person and communicating with virtual co-workers are some of the possible scenarios on how workplaces will evolve by 2025, the BBC reports.

In less than a generation the workplace will change dramatically, with technology allowing us to create workspaces out of thin air through use of interactive surfaces, according to an expert panel representing MIT, the University of Washington, Imperial College London and other academics.

Holographic teleconferencing will drive current offices to extinction. Multiple surfaces at shared work hubs and in the home will project 3D avatars of colleagues with a single touch.

In the future, we'll interact with documents or create things that can be 3D printed afterwards. As a result, workforces will be scattered across multiple locations and workers will have various careers in many locations, working on projects for shorter spans. And many working on the same projects will not know their colleagues' identities.

Soon people will be virtually "transported" into their offices, says Mark Heraghty, managing director of Virgin Media Business. Networked chips implanted into everything around us means that handsets, goggles and active contact lenses could send us within seconds into virtual workspaces and collaborative schemes.

And we will not need to worry about bringing our own devices to work, as there will be no physical office to bring them to and the fusion of devices for work and for personal use will be as complete as possible.

If it sounds a bit cyborg we shouldn't be afraid, says Danish Innovation Lab's founder Mads Thimmer. The future online society will have an "off button" which is its key attraction, according to Thimmer.

Data-driven innovation supported by communications infrastructure will drive tremendous change into the workplace and the way we do our jobs. Technology will free us from the limitations of traditional work patterns and may mean less hard work too.