As 2017 draws to a close and your working year becomes a blurred memory of “busyness” in the true sense of the word - well breathe in and prepare for the year ahead because the sociological forecasters have predicted new shifts that are sure to impact the 2018 business traveller.
1. Airline fares to stay the same but watch for fees.
Fortunately airfares are going to remain at similar rates but business travellers are likely to face an increase in some existing charges and fees. For your 2018 travel, be sure to get your travel booker to keep vigilant for unexpected fee increases for things like baggage to particualr destinations. Not much you can do but good to know.
2. Enforced digital detox at work
We are all aware of our digital obsession in our downtime but watch out as this year it has been predicted that bosses will start banning devices from meetings, as will restaurants during meals. In a time when Smartphones and other digital devices can generate social isolation and depression, removing their presence for some of the time at work and whilst dining, can only be a good thing – people may remember to engage face-to-face.
3. The self-driving car will go on sale.
In the US in the last quarter of this year, Audi is set to release the first commercial vehicle to achieve Level 3 autonomy, meaning it can drive itself while monitoring its surroundings. Although be warned, you can buy the redesigned 2019 A8 sedan, but don’t expect to drive will all of the features enabled. The fully enabled system will likely not be fully compliant with local laws in every jurisdiction, so the full range of options available will depend on where you bought the car in the US.
Other exciting features of the new A8 include the ability for the car to park itself into a parking spot on the street or a garage, without the need for the driver to actually sit in the car — you can tap a button on your smartphone and the car does the rest. The 2018 launch of the A8 will see this still very much in the luxury car market with a price tag of approximately $103,000 USD and to date there is no offical Australian launch date or cost. So while it is still a little way off for this "future is now" bit of technology to reach our Aussie shores, it will be soon – and we will be travelling like they do in “The Jetsons” - that time is nearly here.
4. Artifical Intelligence will ramp up your writing creativity.
Artificial intelligence’s next frontier is creativity. A US academic Wharton professor and author Adam Grant is looking to AI to analyse all of his writing so patterns can be gleaned — clever sentence structures, funny storylines and good examples of grammar — and recommendations as to how to replicate the success can be made. While 2018 may be just a start, Grant expects to set up a database with all his work, and then allow those artifical minds to set upon all of his writings. This could be just what you need for your next amazing presentation or for that novel that you are sure lies deep within you – watch this space, we have the technology, fantastic writing skills are within your grasp.
5. Open office design is all about enabling deep thinking.
Open plan offices are often maligned as noisy and unproductive spaces but there is a new trend emerging in the office space of leading companies. Office design now has a real focus on balancing out the lively and noisy open-plan office space to include more “respite zones” and quiet, noise-reducing areas. So if you look out onto a sea of desks and dividers, and struggle to always block out the noise of your colleagues - fear not, employers are recognising the essential thinking spaces that need to be included in the modern workplace and more and more of these zones will be introduced.
The new Flight Centre Travel Group HQ in Brisbane’s South Bank is a good example of embracing this new trend – with 1800 employees in one building and each of its 15 floors fully open-plan, the office has been designed (as a way to counteract the ongoing noise) to include plenty of quiet "nooks" and retreats to encourage better concentration and thinking, and hopefully some innovative ideas.
6. Your job will start to or continue to shift its focus.
Rest assured most jobs won’t disappear, but they will shift, according to the McKinsey Global Institute. For 2018 they have predicted three distinct areas that will start to change in the job market: jobs lost (cashiers – think about your local supermarket and self serve options); jobs gained (electronic/digital repair and maintenance); and jobs (the rest of us) changing a lot from the fact that we are living in the Digital Age.
7. The new corporate bonus - job retraining.
So seguing from the job shift, the McKinsey Global Institute has also predicted that recruiters and employers need to ensure that advertised roles feature opportunities for job retraining and professional development – this will be essential for the modern worker to keep abreast with the evolution of their roles.
So as 2018 looms, where the only certainty in your professional life is that things will change…all you can do is breathe and get ready to bring it on...whatever it is.