FIRA Barcelona
1-4 February 2022

RISE Spotlight: Workspace EvolutionKeynote

What does the future of work look like?

John Egan, CEO of L’Atelier, joined us to discuss what the future may hold for the workspace, and the significance of the virtual economy. L’Atelier is a foresight business within BNP Paribas that identifies opportunities where technological and social change intersect.

John acknowledged that the future of work is a “complicated and ambiguous concept, depending on who you ask,” marking a difference in perspective between employer and employee. However, he believes the future of work is really about the “battle between labour and capital fought on a field of technology.” Major consequences, particularly expedited by the pandemic, could include the emergence of new digital economies, a degradation of individual privacy rights as employees spend more time in the home, and a significant increase in employers favouring freelance markets.

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Focusing on the effects of the widening economic inequality and declining social mobility, John recognised the “quest to find new ways of either maintaining or improving existing social and wealth status outside of traditional income structures like full time employment,” noting that “digital economies have been created to facilitate new desires, objectives and goals.” We are seeing the emergence of new career types, many of which pay a significant amount of money, such as Twitch and YouTube streamers, and e-sports competitors.

Another key trend seen by John is the shift of global brands moving into the virtual economy, which could further impact the future of work: “These brands need to generate new skills in their own organisation to interact with the virtual economies. For example, a fashion brand may need to find a designer who can not only design for a catwalk, but maybe someone who can also design for a video game such as Fortnite.”