Meike Escherich
Meike Escherich (Associate Research Director, European Future of Work)

After much back-and-forth on work models, bold ultimatums from employers and staunch resistance from workers, European businesses are in the process of codifying different ways of where, how, when, and why we work. One of the many reasons for this change is the speed with which technology, especially artificial intelligence and GenAI, have made it possible to work equally well in varying, flexible work models.

The downside of this rapid technology development has been that European organizations simply cannot hire enough workers with current or deep skills – both technical and human. Do you manage highly distributed teams performing complex and interdependent tasks? Certainly not easy. Finding employees trained sufficiently well to safely transition to the use of Gen AI solutions? Not easy either.

Enter the promise of automation and in particular the ability of AI and Gen AI tools to both facilitate repetitive tasks like coding, data entry, research, and content creation but also to amplify the effectiveness of learning in the flow of work and secure company assets.

The following 3 predictions are examples of what work in Europe might look like in the next five years, considering the areas of work personalization, skills development and the impact of climate change on office design.

Future of Work Predictions for 2024 and Beyond

  • Prediction 1: 60% of Large Businesses will upgrade hardware and software technologies to increase worker retention with personalized work experiences and enhanced collaboration by 2025.

Rapidly evolving technologies and work methods are forcing companies to upgrade hardware and implement new software technologies that support better employee experiences, personalization and improved collaboration.

Collaboration apps are becoming more visual and continue to develop features unlike multiplayer games that enable a more personalized view of work and teams, better targeting of projects, and hands-on collaboration apps. Meetings and other work resources, including collaboration resources (workflow, meetings, new document formats, etc.) are translated and transcribed in real time, captured, analyzed and exploited by other integrated business data sources. The results enable faster and more personalized decisions and collaboration, including summaries using generative AI. AI solutions are gradually increasing the ways people consume content and data, and AI itself will become a digital collaborator.

  • Prediction 2: Enterprises will leverage personalized technology skills development to drive $1T in productivity gains by 2026, enabled by GenAI and automation everywhere.

As the development and use of technology in everyday work environments becomes more complex, organizations struggle to find experts for programming, security, architecture, operations, management and many other roles. IDC data from 2023 shows that 43 % percent of organizations lack the capability support needed to successfully implement automation.

One of the reasons Gen AI adoption and experimentation has grown so rapidly is that everyday workers can see its immediate value. As new jobs come online due to new automation requirements and workers learn new skills, Gen AI is being incorporated into tools that create employee training. Workers with entry-level skills can better target individual learning needs based on the speed with which Gen AI can generate code, summarize data, and create first-draft multimedia products. This customized approach ensures that people (including IT staff) receive the most appropriate training, optimizing efforts to increase their skills and competencies as jobs evolve, plus the need to program GenAI applications themselves.

  • Prediction 3: By 2028, organizations will invest in office climate havens, using asset-based/renewable energy to defray 30% of their ongoing operating costs.

It is not just work patterns that are rapidly changing. The environment we live and work in is rapidly changing too. As uncontrolled wildfires, climate change and extreme weather events become more common in Europe, the consequences are affecting human health and the ability to work effectively. Sustainability measures are no longer considered optional as organizations worldwide recognize them as necessary components of strategic planning and sustainable operational excellence.

In future, progressive companies will adopt a combination of innovative building design, digital twins, robotics and integrated climate systems to create climate havens where workers and their families can both find relief and focus on work. Unfortunately, simply rebuilding existing buildings with AI or robotics adds energy demand to an already struggling European energy infrastructure.

Companies that invest heavily in asset-based energy (hydro/tidal, geothermal, solar and wind) on-site in their climate havens, support both their operating costs and potentially create a secondary revenue stream when they feed electricity back into the grid. This is reversing the long-term trend of digital organizations threatening their local communities through excessive power usage, while improving community relations, employee retention and talent recruitment.


All the above predictions have much in common – they seek to better understand the intersection of technology and human behavior. Science fiction predicts dystopian visions of mechanized and artificially controlled societies where human efficacy is threatened. IDC far from that point of view, but we also see how the concerns raised by new technologies such as Gen AI can play a big role in hindering adoption—for better or for worse.

Organizational leaders must invest time and money in the strategic planning for the adoption of AI and GenAI technologies, as well as the new roles and ways of working they create. This is not just a technology issue that affects computing, security, hardware, infrastructure, and integration requirements. It is also a human issue that must be addressed employee empowerment through skill development and the development of appropriate, re-imagined career paths.

For more information on the impact of Automation on the European Future of Work, please access the following resources:

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