In Five Years, Where Will You Be?
Whether a business is a far-off dream, a brand new addition to the world or has been loyally serving customers for decades, business owners can expect
that the way they operate will be continuously adapting in order to succeed.
Flexibility is extremely important for a company, especially in today’s digital age.
Life changes in a matter of months, and sometimes, even as fast as a few weeks.
Consumers are far more knowledgeable about business practices and remain incredibly scrupulous when it comes to their decisions about spending.
Many spenders rely on an increasing number of metrics to guide their brand and product choices.
Additionally, employees and investors are also becoming far pickier about the businesses they associate with.
By 2025, there will be an estimated 8.2 billion people on the planet.
As the population skyrockets, the demand for many products such as clothing, food, and home goods will quickly rise.
In an attempt to keep up with this exponential change in consumer demand, businesses will increasingly turn towards automation in an effort to boost production and profit.
The previous 40 years has seen a speedy digitization of life, flooding the world with time-saving devices and increasingly advanced technology that
solve virtually every small problem that exists.
It has gotten to the point that, thanks to artificial intelligence, computerized machinery will become the ideal employee.
Companies that remain unresponsive to our rapidly evolving society and ignore the will of the populace will be quickly left behind.
Business owners must always be aware of their stakeholders changing expectations and adapt accordingly.
To remain successful during such times, it is incredibly important for business owners to understand what is coming within these next five years:
Numerous Jobs will be Replaced with Technology
The world as a whole is transitioning to a largely cashless society, as people rely more heavily on debit transactions, credit cards, and online banking.
Jobs such as cashiers and bank tellers will become a relic of the past as self-checkout systems, ATMs, and money apps (like Venmo or Squarespace) replace their fallible human counterparts.
Not only is it far more cost effective since robots don’t need paychecks or healthcare coverage, but if your company’s dream employee breaks down,
there’s a repairman or a comparable (or better) replacement waiting in the wings.
The stressful process of reviewing applicants and interviewing potential employees will give way to quick orders from an online manufacturer.
There will be no need for training, a simple software update or parts replacement is all that is needed to get the machine to fulfill its intended purpose.
In comparison to a human, a machine is consistent and reliable as they lack many of those pesky human needs, like hunger, sleep or chat time at the water cooler.
Machines are also unemotional and therefore, agreeable and productive 24/7. Even traditional “human” jobs will likely be replaced by self-service devices, call-bots, drones, and self-operating machinery in the future.
Within the next half decade, it is almost certain that automation will become a dominant part of the labor force and perhaps will even become a permanent
replacement for a number of basic jobs once completed by the human employee.
Some Careers Can Never be Replaced by Technology
There are, of course, careers that can never be replaced by automatic technology because some capabilities are uniquely human.
As great as “he” was during jeopardy, WATSON could never be an artisan, educator, writer or therapist – just to name a few.
Certain jobs will always require the emotional connection and abstract thinking that comes natural to people but is sorely lacking in devices.
With many businesses, despite the limitless automation options, human employees are still going to be an absolute necessity.
There is a speedy transition underway that will influence workers and employers over these next 5 years and into the future.
COVID-19 Initiated the Shift to Remote Work
In February of 2020, the United States economy was thrown in turmoil as businesses and communities were shut down for weeks on end to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Workers from factories, farms, and crowded office spaces were sent home as social distancing measures went into effect, leaving thousands of companies scrambling as their profits plummeted.
However, while the coronavirus quarantine heavily impacted a number of industries that require manual labor, online work seemingly exploded overnight.
The demand for work-from-home teachers, content developers, editors, transcriptionists, cold-callers and many other digital jobs increased exponentially.
Published data has clearly signaled that these remote working opportunities will only become more prevalent and preferred as time goes on.
Employees and employers alike have been embracing remote work more in the last few years, but in the next 5 years, we will truly see a historic shift.
Vast majorities of the population are likely to become remote workers within the next 5 years.
Even without the external push from coronavirus, the switch to remote working was always inevitable.
Employers love remote workers because they remain with the company longer and cost less (since they are not consuming company office supplies or electricity).
Employees also benefit from greater satisfaction, lower stress and increased productivity (therefore better pay and likelihood for advancement).
Remote Work Evens the Playing Field and Allows Typically Disadvantaged Workers to Have Just as Much of a Shot as Everyone Else
People with conditions which may impact their ability to work in (or get to) a physical workspace will have more of an opportunity to be successful and will have improved access to jobs they love.
No matter if you’re a digital nomad, a stay-at-home mom or an ambitious young student, online work allows for incredible flexibility that is not possible with in-person work and is definitely the way of the future.
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There will be an emergence of the “Triple Bottom Line”
One of the biggest changes that is surely going to impact any company in existence of the “Triple Bottom Line” as a business imperative.
The triple bottom line is an economic term coined in 1994 that refers to a company’s commitment to three important concerns: profit, people, and planet.
Profit, of course, is the company’s dedication to its financial performance; a successful company ensures that their stakeholders are happy!
Employees and investors alike want to see the business do well because it means their investment of time and money has been worth their while.
Profitable businesses will likely be able to pay their employees much better and will tend to make more money for their investors.
This improves the business owner’s chances of keeping valuable assets, like direct funding and effective workers, long term.
Additionally, they are more resilient within the greater economic markets and can be more ruthless against their competitors.
However, the triple bottom line does not stop there. In the future, companies will also be expected to demonstrate their commitment to human well-being beyond the dollar.
The “people” category of the triple bottom line (TBL) demands that companies show social responsibility within their framework as well.
Any person affected by the business must be considered if the company owners truly hope to uphold their TBL.
Businesses must ensure that their products are ethically sourced from locations that respect and fairly pay their workers – companies using cheap labor in poor countries will no longer be a socially acceptable practice.
Businesses will be expected to show an ingrained respect for those directly or indirectly involved in their company;
payment equality, involvement in social justice, and concern for direct and indirect worker’s well-being will influence stakeholder decisions much more heavily in the coming years.
Lastly, but certainly not least, the environment is an essential part of the TBL.
As climate change has grown to become one of the most pressing problems facing humanity, businesses will be pushed exceptionally hard to adopt environmentally friendly and sustainable practices.
Overwhelmingly, shoppers are seeking out ways to reduce their own ecological impact by turning to companies that source locally, actively seek to
reduce waste, and are transparent with the community about their environmental impacts – specifically their emission and pollution contributions.
Consumers, in particular millennials and Gen Z, have made it absolutely clear that they will refuse to associate with companies that do not show respect for the Earth.
As the decade wears on, businesses must begin to shift (if they have not already) to show their commitment to the planet if they hope to maintain or grow their existing consumer base.
If a business owner wants to succeed in these next 5 years (or survive the next 5 decades), the planet must become a number one priority.
In conclusion, companies and businesses across the globe are currently competing in a briskly evolving world that seemingly changes by the day.
As the world becomes more digitized, the connectedness of society allows and encourages customers and stakeholders alike to become increasingly aware (and concerned) about the practices of the influential companies around them.
Regardless of whether a company is made up of a handful of local employees or is a massive, multinational corporation, the owners of any successful
company must make sure they stay focused on the current needs of their constituents.
As time goes on, business leaders must find ways to adjust to the increasing digitization of society, adapt to the growing desire for remote work, and
ensure they meet the Triple Bottom Line for their stakeholders and the world as a whole.
If companies become adaptable to the shifting society that mutually assists the company’s many benefactors, the business will undoubtedly be successful within these next 5 years and beyond.