CHALLENGE THE FUTURE OF WORK Report – download now

Future of Work

The future of work offers both businesses and employees opportunities to shape their environment.

What opportunities do therefore digitalisation and artificial intelligence offer to companies and their employees? How should managers reinterpret their role? What is it that actually motivates people to work today? And what is it that makes our work not just successful, but also fulfilling?

To explore these issues, together with the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI), Bene surveyed 1,200 people from 34 countries about the current situation and the future of work.

The findings have been compiled in the new “Challenge the Future of Work” report, which provides fresh insight and food for thought.

“Challenge the Future of Work” is a quantitative survey that supplements the 2018 qualitative report, “Future of Work”, scrutinising and challenging its expert findings. Some of the responses confirmed the assertions of the initial report, while others were more than surprising. The report summarises the findings relating to four relevant aspects of the future of work:

Digital transformation

In the first chapter relating to perceptions of digital transformation, in particular in impact of artificial intelligence, we present one of the most surprising results of our survey: that a majority of the participants are actually looking forward to the many possibilities posed by artificial intelligence. We also show the range of future scenarios they regard as likely for the professional world: Ranging from gloomy forecasts of high unemployment, to more hopeful expectations that see intelligent machines relieving us of annoying and tedious jobs, freeing up our time to pursue more interesting and meaningful activities. The most plausible studies for us predict that there will be changes in almost all professions, but that only a few jobs will be completely obsolete.


The second chapter explores leadership in the digital age, and we highlight the strong preference that many of our survey participants have for a new leadership culture. Because the digital economy no longer works according to traditional hierarchical patterns, employees want their bosses to delegate responsibility, to rely on cooperation and participation. We argue that executives are now expected to exemplify and tell a new credible story of the future of work.

The purpose of work

In the third chapter we discuss the meaning and purpose of work, and reveal that employees today are looking for work content that they can deeply connect with, and that reflects their own values and goals. The traditional “higher, faster, further” is no longer a sufficient motivator for them. Companies that want to assert themselves in the digital transformation must therefore become purpose suppliers. Managers face the challenging task of bringing together their company’s goals with those of their employees to form a new narrative.

Open collaboration

This chapter looks at the different forms of cooperation: In the digital economy how can we achieve the best work results? What spatial settings will be required for the best results, if work is performed with increasing mobility? What will be the ideal conditions for successful project work? And, are agile methods useful alternatives? With an overwhelming majority, the participants in our study advocate being able to work as independently as possible, and without too much control by their superiors. To do this, they want spaces for meeting colleagues, but also opportunities to retreat for concentrated work. Interchangeable cross-departmental project teams are the preferred method in most companies to solve tasks successfully. Agile methods are the exception.


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