The Definition of Employee

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The Definition of Employee

Trend 1: The definition of "employee" is in flux, along with workers' expectations about how and when and where they work. Flexibility will be the key to it all, and the employees' ability to work where they want will be a greater negotiating point than salary. (Intel also commissioned an info graphic to illustrate the white paper's findings.)

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A Social Phenomenon

As part of this more flexible workforce, older employees or those who are semi-retired will want to continue to work in some capacity. At the same time, organizations will want insights from high-school and college-aged students. The result will be "a social phenomenon not yet witnessed," wrote Hansen, "five generations working side-by-side."

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Dynamic Teams

Trend 2: Organizations will call on "guns for hire" or dynamic teams to complete projects or solve problems. Crowd-sourcing—saying they're willing to pay X number of dollars for someone to solve a particular problem—will also be more common for companies.

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These new styles of work will make a difference in the ways people think about tenure and loyalty, which already differs by generation, Brown said during the webinar. Millennials' idea of loyalty, he said, is "when I'm at your company I will work my tail off for you," but there's no need to stay forever—which is how Baby Boomers, and even some Gen Xers, have defined it.

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Office Space

Trend 3: Ideas about what an office is and provides will change. With workers wanting to be more mobile, offices will be less daily destinations than places to check in or use for a day or for the span of a project. This means companies will also be able to use less traditional spaces for offices, which should create considerable savings.

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Office as a Service

With companies potentially sharing work spaces, office as a service (Oaas) will become a "strategic tool," said Hansen. A challenge to this more dispersed workforce will be how to create the rapport and relationships that come from sharing an office. The shift, he added, will be toward "solutions that enable fidelity to be better and that create a real, informal exchange."

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Electronic Teammates

Trend 4: "Smart systems" will become our new coworkers. "In the next decade, smart machines will enter offices, factories and homes in numbers we have never seen before," Hansen wrote in the report. "They will become integral to production, teaching, combat, medicine, security and virtually every domain of our lives. ... Their presence among us will force us to confront important questions: What are humans uniquely good at? What is our comparative advantage? And what is our place alongside these machines?"

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A fascinating example is IBM's robot Watson, which has been working with oncologists at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. As "Watson can read all of the world's medical journals in less time than it takes a physician to drink a cup of coffee," the system is being used to assist physicians by offering a range of treatment ideas.

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The Second Wave of Consumerization

Trend 5: With help from the cloud, "personal data agents" will assist us, from calendaring to travel, finance, shopping and wellness. Unlike a Siri-type solution that we ask questions of, these agents will be able to proactively act on our behalf and pleasantly surprise us.

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Data Agents

"Our relationship with technology will shift from obsession with mobile gadgets to desired experiences that our personal data make possible," wrote Hansen, "and this will enable unparalleled life flexibility, introspection, productivity, social interactions and convenience."

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