This article originally appeared on the WorkForce blog. 


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Every day, in meeting rooms and boardrooms and living rooms across the world, people discuss it.

It is what careers are built on. It is what gets you up in the morning before your alarm goes off (or what keeps you in bed after it has rung and rung).

Omnipresent and omnipotent, like air, it’s wonderful and terrifying all at once.

It, dear Reader, is the Future.

And on June 28th, 2016, at theWIT hotel in Chicago, the Future is what more than a hundred and fifty WorkForce customers, prospects, and industry analysts came together to discuss and plan for at WorkForce’s annual conference, VISION. More specifically, however, they came for a glimpse into the future of Human Resources: the technology that’ll define it and the software that will enable its growth and refinement.

Author and speaker, Adam Smiley, was also present, rousing the crowd with an insightful keynote titled, How Millennials are Shaping the Future of Work. In it, Adam guided the audience through his personal story, wrapping his past experience—as one of the 70% of disengaged American employees—around the ubiquitous human need to find meaningful, purposeful work.

Smiley’s address was as provocative as it was inspiring. It made people think and it sparked conversation. Most importantly, it left the crowd forecasting what was to come, anticipating the possibilities, which were plainly spelled out on…

The “Future of Work” Wall

You couldn’t miss it.

It stood prominently at the entrance of the conference, asking a simple and altogether enormous question: “What is your vision for the future of work?”

Over the course of the event, the wall gradually filled up with dozens of responses, all of which were honest. Here are five that caught our attention, made us smile, made us think and, ultimately, challenged us to do the impossible: predict the future.

1. Balance

“Keeping things on an even keel is good for you,” they say. And they’re right. But doing so is easier said than done.

After all, work keeps us off the yoga mat; it makes us late to dinner; it makes us miss the championship game…

And for a long time that was the cruel reality. But that was then, before powerful tools gave HR pros countless hours back. Tools that are getting easier to implement and use every day.

2. Virtual Offices

Not too long ago, WorkForce CMO, Denise Broady, authored an illuminating article about working from home.

“A typical 9-5 at the desk will soon become extinct,” writes Denise, “and a primarily remote workforce is the future.”

Read her piece here, and learn the four most important principles associated with virtual success.

3. Everyone is a Freelancer

In 2013, 17 million Americans were “independent” workers (e.g., freelancers, temps, self-employed consultants). The next year that number jumped to fif-ty-three mill-i-onIt’s a staggering spike that begs the question: why?

Is it because employers don’t need as many full-timers to achieve the same targets? Is it because freelancing makes for a more meaningful career?

Whatever the reason, it’s clear that there’s a new option on the table for skilled professionals—and it’s defining the future of work.

4. Automation

Automation is efficiency. It’s getting more done with less. To some, it’s an instant coffee machine.

To an HR pro, automation is a rule, or two or twenty. It’s an “if-then” statement. It’s tracking your worker hours and managing complex schedules—and doing it all perfectly.

In the end, of course, automation is something beautiful: time, back in your pocket.

5. “No B.S.”

In other words: less gray space, fewer excuses, and fewer delays.

Workforce software has evolved; it’s matured. The benefits are there, ready to be realized—but only if you take the first step.

What’s your vision for the future of work?